James Witt(1929 - 2014)

Dr. James W. Witt


Dr. James W. Witt, Professor Emeritus, 84, of Pensacola passed away Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

Art Doerr was Vice President of the University of West Florida when Jim Witt joined the faculty in the fall of 1977. Thus began a friendship that spanned almost four decades. Dr. Doerr wrote prolifically on many subjects, and this personal essay is an example. With startling clarity, it captures the essence of Jim Witt.

"Jim walks in integrity as rock-ribbed as the mountains of his West Virginia home; he stands as sturdy as its forest-clad slopes; his decency is as clear as its rushing streams. Honor stemmed from the font of decent, caring parents. His gruff exterior was honed by the maleness of the Marine Corps and law enforcement agencies he served. But a core of love and compassion showed through in his more than liberal duty to an aged mother, and I have known his friendship. He knows politics as few do and has the knack of understanding the realities of pragmatism within the context of principle, decency, and honor. His lively intelligence and sense of standards ensures that fakes, charlatans, and political correctness are given short shrift. He has been an academic pioneer bringing real world politics and policy students to aspiring neophytes. Love of kin is reflected in fierce protectiveness. Loyalty to friends is repeatedly manifested by myriad acts of kindness.

My wishes for him are clean mountain air, limitless vistas, sparkling streams, and longed-for solitude. My salute is to a man who understands the meaning of Semper Fidelis, and Duty, Honor, Country. His valedictory stands for all to see. 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant.'"

Jim USMC Ser. #648046 is survived by his loving wife Penny and daughters Courtney, Jamie, and Tierney.

A Memorial Service was held 11:30am on Friday, March 28, 2014 at St. Paul Catholic Church, 3131 Hyde Park Rd. with Fr. Kevin McQuone celebrant.

Rather than sending flowers, please consider contributing to the Pensacola Catholic High School Memorial Fund, 3043 W. Scott St., Pensacola, FL 32505.

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Published in Pensacola News Journal from Mar. 27 to Mar. 29, 2014