In Memoriam: Bill Havens
William "Bill" Havens, former head of the landscape architecture program in the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, died Nov. 12 at the age of 82 due to complications from prostate cancer.
Havens was born in Stigler, Oklahoma, in 1934, and lived in Oklahoma, Kansas and California. After attending two years of college, he was accepted into the Air Force's pilot training school and graduated at the top of his class. He then was assigned to an air-sea Rescue squadron in Manston, England, and later served in Prestwick, Scotland.
After being honorably discharged, Havens returned to the U.S. in 1959 and married Joyce Anderson, a stewardess he met on New Year's Day 1958 while flying from Los Angeles to New York as part of a trip he made for the Air Force.
Havens returned to the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a degree in Landscape Architecture. He graduated in 1962.
In 1964, Havens accepted a scholarship to the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Following his graduation from that program, the Havens returned to California, where he worked for the East Bay Regional Park System and the National Park Service.
In 1974, Havens was asked to create a landscape architecture program at the UA. As a professor and the director of the program, he developed accredited undergraduate and graduate programs.
One of his former colleagues remembered him as a selfless mentor.
"I vividly recall the interview dinner I had with him and Joyce," said Margaret Livingston, UA professor of landscape architecture. "I learned so much about their lives prior to their time in Tucson. I remember thinking what a rich and varied background he had. However, he was so incredibly humble. He was always like that – so engaged with what students, faculty and staff were saying or doing and not really focusing on himself in those conversations."
Havens, she said, was "incredibly witty." When conversations didn't go as expected, he could be counted on for a disarming comment.
"My favorite, by far, was when he said, "There is just no there, there,' after one of those times."
Havens left the UA to teach in Australia but returned to the UA. In 1991, he was elected as a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. In 1999, he retired from the UA as a professor emeritus.
Outside of his career in academia, Havens was active in the community, serving on the board of directors for both the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Tohono Chul Park.
He enjoyed spending time with his family and traveling to national parks in the U.S. and Canada. After retirement, he traveled with his wife to Europe, Africa, Russia, South America and Central America.
Havens is survived by his wife, Joyce; daughters Jennifer, Deborah and Catherine; and grandchildren Bryce, Zoe, Piper, Kirstin and Tyler.
The family plans to hold a memorial service in the future.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Havens' honor to The William and Joyce Havens Scholarship Endowment in Landscape Architecture at the UA (520-621-5590 or uafoundation.org), Tohono Chul Park or the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
Messages to Havens' family can be emailed to email@example.com.