Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories - Raymond A. Witt's memorial

Raymond A. Witt
Dec. 16, 1917-Oct. 30, 2018
Palo Alto, California

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Raymond Witt passed away just six weeks shy of his 101st birthday after a short illness. He was a graduate of SF Polytechnic High and San Francisco State College. Ray was a contractor who became a mortgage banker, matching developers and lenders. One of his first such deals involved a fellow looking to buy out his partners and develop a parcel on Lake Tahoe: Incline Village. He enjoyed his work and retired at age 85.

He married Dorothy in 1946. They had over 60 years together. She passed away in 2007 and he missed her til the end.

Around 1964, he took up golf. In the late '70s, he was instrumental in the redevelopment of the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course, which lead to 20 years service on the USGA Regional Affairs Committee. He attended 10 US Opens. He played many famous courses including The Old Course at St. Andrews. He walked the course until he was 88, played with the assistance of a cart until he was 92 and his vision prevented him from seeing the ball land.

Many of his school pals kept in touch until they were in their 90s. Friends he made throughout his golf and business life called and visited through his last days. He was known for his sincerity, integrity, hard work and well-considered judgement. He was also a wonderful storyteller, recounting anecdotes about growing up in San Francisco, and folks including Lincoln, and Ty Cobb, and an especially good one about Golden Gate Bridge Engineer Joseph Strauss, A.P. Giannini and the funding of the bridge project. Ray was a member of the Kiwanis and Elks Clubs.

Ray walked across both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges the day before they opened. He loved a good political debate and followed the news of the day until a few days before his passing.

Ray is survived by his daughters, Alison and Karen; his son-in-law Glenn; grandchildren Troy, Terrence and Tanisha; good friends and lunch-mates Ken, Bob and Rich; Saturday breakfast buddies Bill and Barry.

Among the many who gave excellent care in his later years were Sherry Huang MD, Dr. David Sitzer and Troy Witt. In his final three weeks, Mission Hospice and Home Care provided invaluable support, allowing him to stay at home.

His favorite quote:

Dame Fortune is a cockeyed wench, as someone's said before, And yet the old Dame plays her part in any winning score, Take all the credit you deserve, heads up in winning pride, But don't forget that Lady Luck was riding at your side.

Grantland Rice, "The Tumult and the Shouting" 1954

Tags: business, public service

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