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Robert Wayne Ditzler ’54

Bob was born in Grinnell, Iowa, and was a 60-year resident of Washington state. Immediately after graduating from high school, he went into the navy, where he was an electronics technician/radar operator. After his discharge, he began working at Boeing but soon became bored. He went for career counseling with George Mantor, who became a lifelong friend. Mantor suggested that if Bob wanted something new, he should try going to college—a first for his family. This led him first to Reed College, on to UC Berkeley, to Edinburgh, Scotland, and finally to a master’s degree in history from the University of Washington. At UW, Bob was invited to go to Alaska with scientists doing research at a station on the floating ice; his electronic skills were needed. Throughout his time at UW, Bob supported himself doing remodeling jobs and discovered he loved the work. He began a more than 50-year career as a self-employed builder designing beautiful, useful spaces for clients. Much in demand, Bob was thankful to have found a career he loved.

In 1987, he moved into Sharingwood, a cohousing community in Snohomish County that he helped found. He built many of the houses in the community and designed plans for the common house. He married Stephana Ames and they shared many interests, including the Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church, where Bob was one of the founding members. He dedicated two years of his life to the construction of the congregation’s new church. Bob’s zest for life included reading, gardening, sailing, baroque music, and the construction and flying of model hot-air balloons. He is survived by Stephana; his stepchildren Karen LeCompte and David Ames; his first wife, Jane Ditzler, mother of his three adopted children, Peach Jack, Mark Ditzler, and J.C. Ditzler; and his sisters, Mary Duryee, Marjorie Hillmann, and Charlotte Smith.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2018

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