David Kreitzer, a founder of San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, retired U.S. Air Force officer, student of botany and multifaceted volunteer in Rancho Bernardo, passed away Nov. 12 at the age of 94.
His name is immortalized on the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge. The graceful structure just west of Interstate 15 in Rancho Bernardo was dedicated in his honor in 2009.
“Like his bridge, Dave was a unique architectural wonder that connected communities and will continue to impact future generations,” said Chris Khoury, a Conservancy Advisory Board Member.
In the mid-1980s, Kreitzer was a driving force behind the conservancy’s formation and served on its first Board of Directors.
“David Kreitzer was instrumental in implementing many important projects throughout the San Dieguito River Park,” said Shawna Anderson, the River Park JPA’s executive director. “His financial support and community volunteerism and dedication to the River Park’s mission was inspiring, particularly his involvement in restoring the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmhouse and building the Lake Hodges Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge – now an iconic public amenity named in his honor. Dave was an active member for many years with the JPA’s Citizens Advisory Committee and Project Review Committee. His visionary spirit was an inspiration, and he will always be remembered.”
In addition to his service to the River Park and Conservancy, Kreitzer served on Rancho Bernardo’s Planning Board and Community Council and completed a 20-year tenure on the San Diego County Planning Commission.
While serving as a Land Use Environmental Planner for the County in the 2000s, current Conservancy Executive Director Cheryl Goddard remembers Kreitzer as an environmental champion committed to striking a balance between development projects and environmental considerations in the County.
Notably, as an early advocate of smart growth, Kreitzer led opposition to Proposition A in 1986 and other efforts to defeat urban sprawl.
In 1979, he was inducted into the Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Kreitzer earned a bachelor’s degree in botany and master’s degree in education from the University of Montana. As a student, he worked part time for the forest department and enrolled in ROTC.
He served in the U.S. Air Force in Europe and later in the reserves before retiring as a captain in 1965.
While stationed in France, he met Georgette Paulette Wojnilowicz, who would become his wife of 68 years.
Kreitzer is survived by his wife, four children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Donations in his honor can be made to the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, www.sdrvc.org/donate.
Services and a reception are scheduled for 11 a.m. Dec. 5 at San Rafael Parish, 17252 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego.
Kreitzer will be buried at the Miramar National Cemetery.