In Memoriam: Lloyd Frank Bitzer


Lloyd Frank Bitzer died October 13, 2016, at the family home at age 85. From 1961 to 1994, he was a professor at the University of Wisconsin, specializing in the history and theory of rhetoric.

Dr. Bitzer was born January 2, 1931, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He was an undergraduate at Southern Illinois University from 1950 to 1952, then served two years in the U.S. Navy, after which he completed his B.S. and M.A. degrees. He earned his Ph.D. in rhetorical studies from the University of Iowa, and joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an assistant professor in 1961.

In 1976, Dr. Bitzer served as President of the National Communication Association. He also won the NCA Distinguished Scholar Award in 1997, the James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award in 1968, and the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award in 1979. As a professor in the humanities, in which scientific method, evidence and precision are never decisive, he wrote essays and books that came as close to truth as he could manage. As a teacher, he supplied students with original writings by the best authors.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jo Ann (Eblen) Bitzer; daughter Jo Claire and her husband Herman Tucker; son Evan; two grandchildren, Danny (Kimberly) and Jolene Bitzer, and their mother Kim; great-grandson Lincoln Eric Bitzer (son of Danny and Kimberly); and brother James Mark Bitzer. Two sons predeceased him: Eric T. Bitzer (father of Danny and Jolene), and Jeffrey C. Bitzer. Of his siblings, those deceased are Clarence William Bitzer and Helen (Bitzer) Sheets.