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Hanspeter R Witschi

Died: Sat., Jan. 18, 2020

Celebration of Life

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Music by The Piano Brothers

Hanspeter R. Witschi, known to many as Peter, passed away peacefully on January 18, 2020, in Bandon, Oregon. He was 86 years old.


The youngest of three children, Hanspeter was born in Bern, Switzerland, to the late Rudolf and Lia Witschi. His siblings, who predeceased him, were Suzanne and Eva. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 57 years, Christine, his sons Nicolas (Meg) and Laurence (Emily), and his two granddaughters Ava and Naomi.


Hanspeter obtained his M.D. degree in 1960 from the Universities of Bern and Geneva, and after a brief stint as a forensic pathologist he turned his attention to research, soon establishing himself as a prominent toxicologist. His career includes a post-doc in London, England, and increasingly prestigious and productive appointments at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Montreal, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and the University of California, Davis. From 1979 to 2001 he served as an editor for the journal Toxicology; in 1991 the Society of Toxicology presented him with its Education Award, and in 2008 with its Merit Award for a career of excellence in service, research and teaching. Central among his research endeavors were his investigations into the carcinogenic effects of second-hand smoke; widespread limitations on smoking in enclosed public spaces are in part the result of his findings and conclusions.


An avid hiker and traveler, Hanspeter enjoyed seeing the world and being in it. He felt equally at home in bustling urban centers and remote rural areas of unmatched beauty, and he shared that love with his friends and family. He was also deeply enthusiastic about history, about opera, and about his dogs (requiescat in pace, especially Sparky), while the pleasure he took in cooking and grilling made for many wonderful meals. In fact, the secret to his culinary success may now finally be divulged -- it was the mesquite.


The family intends to hold an informal celebration of Hanspeter’s life toward the end of February. Donations in his memory may be made to the Oregon Humane Society (oregonhumane.tfaforms.net/33 or 503-802-6766).  Friends may offer condolences online  at westrumfuneralservice.com.

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