Charles W. DeWitt, Jr., 95, passed away peacefully on Feb. 14  after a long struggle with a chronic illness. He was born on Oct. 16, 1921 in Akron, Ohio to Charles Sr. and Forest DeWitt. Dad married Una Robertson (deceased) August 9, 1948 in Ashland, KY and they spent 69 happy years together. They traveled in Europe and the U.S.
Dad earned his Ph.D. in immunology/microbiology at Ohio State University in 1952. After working for Upjohn Co. in Kalamazoo, MI, he returned to academia to continue research and to teach medical students as a professor at Tulane University Medical School in New Orleans, LA. He participated in the first international transplantation team working to make organ transplantation possible. His work included developing methods for tissue typing and understanding organ immunological responses to transplantation. In 1968, he moved our family to Salt Lake City, UT to continue his research at the University of Utah Medical Center, Dept. of Surgery where he included cancer cell identification and tumor development to his other research. As a professor of pathology, Dad taught and mentored many graduate students working on earning their PhD in these areas. He published many articles in scientific journals throughout his career and was 2nd author for each of his students’ dissertations. He relished his roles of research scientist and faculty to those who would continue this important work. In 1973, Dad was heavily involved in the inception and early development of the ARUP Laboratories associated with the U of U. Upon retirement, he was named professor emeritus at the U of U. He was a lifetime member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dad was exceptionally proud of his service in the Marine Corps during World War II from 1942 through 1944. He served in the South Pacific and participated in action on Bougainville and Emirau Islands. He was honorably discharged in Sept. 1944 with his service being noted as “honest and faithful”. He always carried a card that read in part: “The title of ‘United States Marine’ cannot be inherited nor can it ever be purchased…You alone and our own have earned it with your sweat, blood, and lives. You own the title forever.”
Charlie was an avid outdoorsman who golfed, fished, sailed and hiked – no hike was too long for him even up the Animas River in CO and in the Wind Rivers region in WY, usually with Buddy his dog in tow. He was a marvelous craftsman who filled his retirement years building in metal and wood almost everything he could think of – we all remember the steam engine traveling on the track around the orchard with grandchildren in each of the 6 cars. He built a canoe and his beloved sailboat that saw many days on the Great Salt Lake. Family members have furniture pieces in their homes – clocks, bed frames, hutches, dressers, and other large items that will stand in his memory for years to come.
Charlie was preceded in death by his beloved wife Una and son, Robert C. DeWitt – both great losses. He is survived by children, Stephen G. and Virginia A. DeWitt, 8 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren whom he absolutely adored and extended family members nearby and in FL.
We all loved you and miss you intensely – it is hard to say “so long”. You were an inspiration to many folks who admired and loved you.
A memorial service for Una and Charlie will be held on a future date.