Robert (“Bob”) Francis Witt, age 82, a longtime New Canaan resident, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, at Stamford Hospital.
The son of Adrian C. and Margaret Atwater Witt, he was born in Crafton, Pa., on Sept. 15, 1933. His father owned a food store in Crafton, and as a child, Bob worked in the store after school and on weekends. At this early age, he became experienced in dealing with the needs of people and this became his driving motivation in his business career and later in his retirement years.
Bob earned a degree from Niagara University in 1955, and an MBA from Michigan State University in 1959. He began a successful 38-year marketing career in Detroit with the advertising agency Maxon Inc. In 1961 he met Ruth Ann Bovier, and the two married in 1965 in Grosse Pointe, Mich. They moved to Darien shortly thereafter as Bob’s career took him to New York, where he worked for several firms including Colgate, American Home Products and Grey Global. He and Ruth moved to New Canaan in 1970, where they raised their three children.
After retiring in 1997, Bob joined the New Canaan Senior Men’s Club and volunteered to revamp the refreshments for the group’s meetings, relying on his skills from the in-store bakery days. His service-oriented approach and dedication impressed the group’s members, and Bob was subsequently elected VP of Programming and later President of this quintessential New Canaan organization. In May 2013, he was named “Distinguished Senior Man” by the Senior Men’s Club.
Through that experience, Bob became attuned to the needs of the area’s older residents and sought other ways to serve seniors, joining the GetAbout board in 2002. Bob introduced management initiatives that helped the GetAbout develop into a successful transportation service for New Canaan’s seniors. He was elected President of the GetAbout in 2005, and with an outstanding Board, helped grow the service several-fold. As a result, hundreds of New Canaan residents enjoy a fuller and more involved life in the community. Bob also served on the Staying Put Board and the New Canaan Elder Care Council. In 2012, he was honored with the New Canaan Community Foundation’s “Spirit of New Canaan” Award.
In addition to volunteer work, Bob was an active tennis and paddle player at Mead Park, Waveny Park and the New Canaan Racquet Club, and enjoyed touring the world with his wife Ruth. They visited six of seven continents together, often traveling with friends. Bob was also an active member of St. Thomas More Church in Darien.
Bob was predeceased by his parents and his brothers Adrian Witt, Thomas Witt and Edward Witt and sister Mary Witt Sprowls. He is survived by his wife Ruth, sons Ronald Witt of Greenwich and Robert Witt of Norwalk, daughter Robin Witt Allen of Wilton, grandchildren Connor, Caitlin and Courtney Allen of Wilton, and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m., at St. Thomas More Church in Darien.
In honor of Bob and his generous contributions to the community, a charitable legacy fund is being established at the New Canaan Community Foundation. This permanent fund will support nonprofit organizations and causes that mattered most to Bob, such as GetAbout, STAR, Inc., Abilis and Camp Horizons. Donations of any amount may be sent in his memory to the Foundation at 111 Cherry Street, New Canaan CT 06840. For more information, please call 203-966-0231 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For directions and online condolences, visit hoytfuneralhome.com.