Rolf Arnold Deininger, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences in the School of Public Health, died at his home in Ann Arbor on Nov. 1. He was 79.

Deininger’s research interests were in the field of water quality, including the safety and security of public water supplies, drinking water supply systems, the design and location of monitoring stations, and the instrumentation and analysis of tools for detecting contaminants in raw water intakes and distribution systems. His research directly contributed to water quality in the United States, the European Union and the Middle East. 

“Rolf was a passionate advocate for universal access to clean drinking water and for the use of the very best technology in achievement of that goal,” said Martin Philbert, dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Born in Ulm, Germany, Deininger earned his undergraduate degree in civil engineering in 1958 from the University of Stuttgart, his Master of Science degree in environmental engineering from Northwestern University in 1961, and his Ph.D. degree in environmental engineering from Northwestern University in 1965. He was appointed assistant professor of environmental health in the U-M School of Public Health in 1964, was promoted to associate professor of environmental health in 1969, and to professor of environmental health in 1973.  In 1999, his title was changed to professor of environmental health sciences, and in 2006, he was named professor emeritus of environmental health sciences.

Deininger was a member of numerous professional societies and organizations, including the National Academy of Science and Engineering, American Water Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, The German Water Pollution Control Federation, the German Society of Engineers and the International Association of Water Quality. He served as a consultant to such international agencies as the Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, UNESCO, NATO and the World Bank.

Known for his commitment to academic scholarship, Deininger trained dozens of master’s level and doctoral students. A gracious and humble man with a marked sense of humor, he was a skilled builder, craftsman, beer maker and model train collector, as well as a devoted husband and father and a doting grandfather.  He was especially appreciative and supportive of his wife’s career during their 52 years of marriage.

Deininger is survived by his wife, Ingrid; two children, Peter (Christina) Deininger and Heidi Deininger; five grandchildren; a brother, Werner (Elisabeth) of Ulm, Germany; two nieces; and a beloved dog, Sparky.

— Submitted by Terri Weinstein Mellow, School of Public Health