G. Robert Witmer was born on December 26, 1904, in Webster, New York. He graduated from Webster High School in 1922 and the University of Rochester in 1926. After receiving his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1929, he practiced in Rochester and later formed the partnership of Easton and Witmer.
After serving as town attorney in Webster from 1933 to 1934, Witmer was elected town supervisor in 1935, where he remained for ten years. In 1945 he was elected Monroe County Surrogate, serving until 1953, at which time he was elected to the Supreme Court, 7th Judicial District. He served as the first Administrative Judge for the 7th Judicial District from 1962 to 1968.
From 1963 to 1971, Justice Witmer was designated on a part-time basis to the Appellate Division First Department. He was named an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division Fourth Department in 1967, and remained there until his retirement in 1980. Even after retirement, he served as a Judicial Hearing Officer for the Fourth Department and administered the Preargument Program there until 1994, when he was 90. During his term with the Court, he was a charter member of the Pattern Jury Instructions Committee from 1962 to 1987 and was co-chairman of the New York State Bar Association Committee that prepared the Practitioner's Handbook for Appeals to the Appellate Divisions.
Justice Witmer married Marian Costello Witmer in 1936; they had four children. He died on September 6, 2007 at age 102.
Obituary, Daily Record, Rochester, NY, September 14, 2007.
Who's Who in New York City and State, Winfield Scott Downs [ed.], Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1952, p. 1260.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Fourth Judicial Department, 1896-1996, p. 7