Matthew Walter Witczak

September 17, 1940 ~ January 18, 2022 (age 81)


On January 18, 2022, Professor Emeritus Matthew W. Witczak, 81, passed away peacefully at his home. Born on September 17, 1940 in Cicero, Illinois, Matt was destined for a lifetime of love and accomplishments. He lived life to the fullest and was a deep and constant inspiration to his family, friends, colleagues, and students.

All of his life, Matt was an avid sports fan. Baseball was a favorite, fueled by his ability to throw a menacing curveball. In his youth, he held the batting title for the South Cicero Little League and received an award to commemorate his being an outstanding ballplayer in the Chicago area.

Education had always been important to Matt. He attended Purdue University where he attained Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering. While a university student, Matt also participated in ROTC. He later served as an officer of the United States Army and was honorably discharged as captain.

On January 20, 1962, Matt married his beloved, Dawn (Spotilla), and they were married for 44 years until her death in 2006. Together, they traveled the world extensively. They were blessed with four children: Steven Witczak, Karen Maher (Jim), Kenneth Witczak (Cyndi), and Melinda Hensel (Tony), as well as five grandchildren: Melissa Stupell (Todd), Katelyn Maher (Chris), James Maher (Danielle), Grace Hensel, and Luke Hensel. Matt was also very much looking forward to the upcoming birth of his first great-grandchild Sigrid Stupell.

Matt knew the importance of community, and he remained involved in a great number of communities across his lifetime. Whether it be the Catholic Catechism Director at the family church, the coach of his sons’ little league baseball teams, PTA President, or establishing a scholarship fund for students in financial need at Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church in Scottsdale, Matt believed we all can and should always give back. He readily gave his time and talent with zeal as well as humor; he was an undeniable role model of community stewardship for his children and grandchildren.

On June 2, 2012, Matt married Claudia Zapata. There was often much laughter and music in the household. Matt had a warm and loving relationship with the Zapata family and appreciated the time spent with Claudia’s son and sisters, Juan Jose Munoz (Nahid), Olga Zapata (John), Clemencia Zapata, and Pilana Zapata.

A master in his field, Dr. Matthew Witczak was an internationally renowned expert in highway and airfield pavement engineering, design, and analysis. He started his career at the Asphalt Institute in 1969; from there, he served on the faculty at the University of Maryland for 26 years, being named a Distinguished Professor, then becoming Professor of Civil Engineering at Arizona State until his retirement in 2012. Through it all, Matt valued and cherished his colleagues from home as well as from every corner of the world; he was an inspiration to his students through his scholarship, research contributions, and mentoring. Authorship by Dr. Matthew Witczak included the seminal textbook Principles of Pavement Design, numerous international manuals and theoretical guides as well as over 120 technical papers and reports in the areas of highway and pavement design, rehabilitation, and materials. Throughout his stellar career, he received many prestigious awards and honors including those from the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists, APT, The Transportation Research Board, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Matthew Witczak was a beacon of strength, integrity, and family values. He will be missed beyond measure; yet, his legacy will live on forever.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the

Dr. Matthew W. Witczak Graduate Award in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland at or the Dr. Matthew W. Witczak Endowment from the Ira Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University at

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February 3, 2022

4:00 PM
Messinger Pinnacle Peak Mortuary (Scottsdale, AZ)

Funeral Mass
February 4, 2022

10:00 AM
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church (Scottsdale, Arizona)

February 4, 2022

11:30 AM
Holy Redeemer Cemetery (Phoenix, Arizona)

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