Wittliff was also an esteemed photographer and writer whose photographs have been exhibited in the United States and abroad and are the subject of three books.
Wittliff and his wife, Dr. Sally Wittliff, founded The Wittliff Collections in 1986, an internationally acclaimed research archive, library, and exhibition gallery at Texas State University.
“The Wittliff includes more than 500 special collections in literature, photography, music, and film, and attracts visitors, researchers, and lifelong learners from around the globe,” wrote Texas State University president Denise Trauth in a statement issued June 10. “It stands as a tribute to Bill’s legacy.”
“Billy Wittliff was one of my best friends for over 58 years and godfather to all three of my kids,” said Joe K. Longley ’61. “His greatness is reflected through his kindness. Even though he unashamedly took my money in our many poker games, I loved this man. He cheerfully used every club in the bag and demonstrated by the way he loved and lived that ‘men of destiny do not wait to be sent for.’”
In 1964, soon after graduating from UT Austin, Bill and Sally founded The Encino Press, a book publishing company that specialized in regional material about Texas and the Southwest. Encino has won more than 100 awards for quality of design and content. The press operated out of a 19th Century Victorian house in Austin. This historic property, where O. Henry once lived and wrote, was Bill’s current writing studio and office.
Wittliff was a past president and Fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters and a recipient of the Texas Book Festival Bookend Award and the Texas Medal of Arts. He was also a member of the historic Texas Philosophical Society and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
He is survived by his wife, Sally, their two children, Reed Wittliff and Allison Andrews, and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.