CHAMPAIGN — John Jacob Wittich — loving husband, father, grandfather and friend — passed away peacefully on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019.
"Doc" was born on Nov. 13, 1921, to German immigrants, John J. and Eva Karl Wittich, in Huntley, Ill. He had a beloved sister, Elsie. He married Leah Glynn Elliott on April 2, 1944. The two met as students at DePauw University, where he was a member of Sigma Chi. John was proud to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, 4th Division, during World War II.
Preceding Doc in death were his wife, Leah, son, John; and daughter-in-law, Tami.
Left to cherish his memory are his daughters, Nan (Marty) Zvonar and Jane (Steve) Tock; niece, Suzy Smith; grandchildren, Annie (Adam) Tock Morrisette, Johnny (Leanna) Tock, Alexandrea Poeder, Kelsey Wittich and Johnny Wittich; and great-grandchildren, Jack Poeder and Addie Tock.
Doc’s education and career led the family to many locations. After earning his Ph.D. from Stanford University, he was assistant professor of psychology at the University of the Pacific and dean of admissions at DePauw University. He then worked as a college administrator at the College Center of the Finger Lakes in Corning, N.Y., and College of the Pacific at Claremont, Calif., before becoming president of MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill. In “retirement,” he continued his involvement in college administration as a fundraiser and consultant in central Florida.
John and Leah retired in 1980 to DeLand, Fla., where they enjoyed 26 years with family, friends and neighbors. During retirement, Doc enjoyed swimming, hosting visitors, singing with the men’s chorus he founded, writing, cartooning, building pyramids at the beach, poetry, watching "Seinfeld," holding LaLa’s hand, cracking jokes, tennis, travel, semantic arguments, woodcarving and keeping in touch with friends and family near and far.
Doc and LaLa moved to Champaign in 2006 to be close to family in the Midwest. His neighbors on Highland Avenue were a blessing, as Doc and LaLa were embraced by a brand-new "family." During his final years, John was cared for in assisted living by friends at the Villa and the Bickford. His last week was under the loving care of OSF staff.
A “celebration of life" will take place sometime in the future when family and friends can join together in honoring their "Docky."