Tonawanda News

November 20, 2012

Former NT mayor Wittkowsky dies

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Former North Tonawanda mayor and owner of Wittkowsky Studio, William “Bill” Wittkowsky died Nov. 15.

A native of North Tonawanda, Wittkowsky, 87, was an active member of the Professional Photographer’s Association of America. He received awards for many of his photographs, among them “Adornment from the Sea,” published in National Photographer magazine and “Photomicrograph” one of 26 merit award photographs featured on the Today Show in 1964. In addition, his photo of a Schlicker Organ appeared in Encyclopedia Britannica with an article about organs.

Later, Wittkowsky had shows of his work at the Carnegie Art Center and other locations.

As mayor from 1976 to 1979, Wittkowsky was instrumental in petitioning to save the old Carnegie library building for the city, collaborating on the initiative with former U.S. Senator Henry P. Smith. Bicentennial celebrations took place during his terms as mayor, including the dedication of a 50-year time capsule laid in the foundation of the new library on Meadow Drive in 1976.

A native of North Tonawanda, Wittkowsky had a tremendous collection of photos of the Twin Cities, many of which he shared with readers of his Flashback weekly column on local history in the Tonawanda News.

“My dad was a great movie buff,” his son David Wittkowsky, said. “He grew up one block from the Avondale Theater, where he watched movies every Saturday for a dime, and collected a dish each week for his mother.”

He attended the Cleveland International Film Festival annually when his son David was executive director. A lover of live theater, he and his wife, Wilma, attended the Shaw Festival, Irish Classical, Studio Arena and Stratford theaters. The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in July. They have two children, David Wittkowsky of Cleveland, Ohio, and Ann Wittkowsky of Seattle, Wash.

Wittkowsky served in the Army infantry in WWII, earning a Bronze Star. He was wounded in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded the Purple Heart.

An active member of Friedens United Church of Christ and later Salem UCC in Tonawanda, he was a long-time choir member.

Wittkowsky spent the last three and a half years in the care of Clare Bridge of Niagara, and the last few days with the support of Niagara Hospice.