Thomas Meixner In Memoriam

Thomas Meixner

Thomas Meixner

Former Professor and Department Head, Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences

Deceased October 5, 2022  |  Obituary  |  Candlelight Vigil Honoring Thomas Meixner

Expertise  Watershed hydrology and biogeochemistry hydrologic controls on water quality, GIS, remote sensing, hydrochemical modeling, atmospheric chemistry, aqueous geochemistry, water quality modeling, sensitivity analysis, automatic parameter estimation, semi-arid hydrology, riparian sustainability, climate change impacts on water resources, and multi-criteria analysis.


PHD hydrology, 1999, The University of Arizona

Tom Meixner Receives Arizona Hydrological Society Lifetime Achievement Award at the AHS-BSMAR 18 Conference

(April 2024) At last week's Arizona Hydrological Society-Biennial Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge, Dr. Martha Whitaker presented the Arizona Hydrological Society Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously to Dr. Thomas Meixner. The award was accepted by Kathleen Meixner, his widow, and Sean Meixner, one of his sons. See news article here.

Tom was a brilliant scientist who made a lasting impact on The University of Arizona, Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, as well as nationally and internationally. He is well-deserving of this award!

WRRC 2024 Conference Dedicated to the Memory and Legacy of Tom Meixner

WRRC 2024 Conference Dedicated to Tom Meixner

Image courtesy of Meixner/Cotter Family

(March 2024) On October 5, 2022, our community suffered a huge loss with the tragic and senseless death of Dr. Thomas Meixner, UArizona professor and department head of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences. He was a world-renowned leader in biogeochemistry, admired and respected in the water community and by those to whom he was a colleague, professor, mentor, and friend. 

In honor of Meixner’s life and work, the WRRC’s 2024 conference, Implementing Water Solutions Through Partnerships, will be dedicated to his memory and legacy. 

He was a great friend to the WRRC, leading efforts to make UArizona water science locally and regionally relevant and encouraging his students and colleagues to do the same. We hope this will be an opportunity for those who knew Tom to honor him and reflect on his invaluable contributions to the community. His wife, Kathleen, expressed her hope that the dedication of this event will “help us all to find our way forward, with courage and love.”

Meixner’s interest in dirt, water, and plants began in childhood with playing in the backyard, gardening or picking strawberries with his parents, and enjoying the great outdoors. These quotes and reminiscences from his loved ones, friends, and colleagues paint a picture of his life and legacy:

  • He had a zest for life that was practically contagious.
  • He was a sweet and thoughtful husband and father.
  • He was a brilliant and inquisitive scientist.
  • He was invested in his community.
  • He was a four-time cancer survivor.
  • He always had some really interesting tidbits about the weather.
  • He knew exactly who he was and what he wanted to do with his life.
  • He was very practical and pragmatic.
  • He made sure to have meaningful interactions even though he was busy.
  • He was a big presence.
  • He commuted to work by bike.
  • He led a Boy Scout troop at weekly meetings.
  • He had a way of not sweating the small stuff.
  • He left a legacy of incredible scholarship.
  • He was an idea machine.
  • He treated people with fairness, enthusiasm, and belief in what they could accomplish.
  • He was an excellent professor and mentor.
  • He was a deeply kind individual.
  • He led by example with knowledge and caring.
  • He made delicious pancakes.
  • He had an unquenchable, boundless energy.
  • He was a profoundly kind and caring person.
  • He was an amazing family man.
  • He worked to educate the next generation of water researchers and to make the world better.
  • He was a man of routine and ritual.
  • He had an amazing memory.
  • He encouraged others to use their own strengths and talents.
  • He was a really good model of how to live.
WRRC 2024 Conference | Remembering Tom

Trail to Sonoita: Tribute to Honor Professor Tom Meixner

Tom Meixner talkd about Rosemont Mine during tour stop along Arizona State Route 82

HAS Professor and Cienega Water Partnership board chairman Tom Meixner talked about Rosemont Mine during tour stop along Arizona State Route 82 in the Las Cienegas National Conservation area.

Image: Cienega Water Partnership

(February 2024) From an original article by Contact reporter Henry Brean at

A campaign is underway to build a new recreational trail between Patagonia and Sonoita dedicated to connecting people with the landscape around them, just like the man for whom it would be named.

The Tom Meixner trail would cross about 8 miles of hills and grassland along Arizona state Route 82 and tie into a larger trail network through an area that meant a lot to the University of Arizona hydrologist and professor.

“This would be perfect for Tom. It has great resources, it has water, and it connects the Cienega and the Sonoita watersheds,” said Shela McFarlin, a volunteer and former board member with the nonprofit Cienega Watershed Partnership. “His vision was to connect these watersheds and connect the people on the ground doing this work.”

Meixner was serving as chairman of the partnership and head of the U of A’s Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences Department when he was killed by a gunman at the department’s offices on campus on Oct. 5, 2022. A group of his friends and colleagues first floated the idea of building a trail in his honor a few months after his death.

The project is being developed by the Cienega Watershed Partnership, Friends of Sonoita Creek and the Mountain Empire Trail Association, a small Patagonia group founded in 2006 to turn an old railroad right-of-way into a path for hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders. The proposed Meixner trail is an extension of that so-called Train Track Trail, or TTT for short, which follows the route of the New Mexico and Arizona Railroad that ran between Benson and Nogales from 1882 until the tracks were pulled up in 1963.

Friends of Sonoita Creek president Bob Proctor lives in Patagonia and also serves on the boards of the Mountain Empire Trail Association and the Cienega Watershed Partnership, among other local groups. He said it is an honor for him and his fellow trail developers to be working on this tribute to Meixner. Read more here

American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting 2023, Special Session B048: Making the world better through Biogeochemistry

(December 2023) "This year’s AGU theme of Wide. Open. Science. is a perfect reflection of Thomas Meixner: he was the ultimate collaborative scientist that understood the value of stakeholder engagement and the importance of disseminating research outcomes to a wide audience. Tom's research interests laid at the intersection between hydrology and biogeochemistry and focused on how hydrologic processes control biogeochemical responses at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. This session invites submissions of work aligned with or inspired by Tom Meixner’s research, including arid and semi-arid lands hydrology and biogeochemistry, impacts of climate change on groundwater recharge, coupled human-natural systems science, rainwater harvesting and urban hydrology, stream hydrochemistry, and biogeochemical modeling. Presentations that demonstrate connections between these research themes, opportunities for student education, and application in the real world are especially welcome."  --- Erika Gallo, HAS Alumna

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Memorial Fund Established in Memory of Tom Meixner

Tom Meixner, HAS Professor and Department Head

(October 2023) Family, friends, and colleagues of Dr. Tom Meixner have established the University of Arizona Dr. Thomas Meixner Memorial Fund to honor his legacy and support graduate students in our department. 

In a letter sent this week to students, faculty, and staff, UArizona President Robert C. Robbins stated that “Dr. Meixner was an incredible person, and his death has left an indelible mark on our community.” 

The University held a day of remembrance on Thursday, during which services were offered at St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center.

How Tom Meixner's Midtown Church Plans to Honor Him

Thomas Meixner

(October 2023) As reported by Ryan Fish, KGUN9-News, October 4, 2023

Before his death last October. Tom Meixner went to mass every Sunday at St. Cyril Roman Catholic Parish in Midtown Tucson, at Pima and Swan. 

The church plans to honor him by dedicating two areas on their property in his name: a garden area planted with desert plants and grasses which collect natural rainwater and a stone walkway in the patio outside the church’s main office which he, his son, and his boy scout troop built just months before his passing.

Watch Ryan Fish's excellent news video to hear more about this amazing dedication to a wonderful human being, the late HAS Professor and Department Head, Tom Meixner.

St. Cyril is taking donations to pay for dedicating those spaces. A dedication that, like the plants and Meixner’s memory, will live on.

“He listened to everyone that needed him,” said Pastor Paul Henson. “His students, his family, his parish, St. Cyril Parish. He was always there for us.”

Thank you, Ryan Fish and KGUN9-News, for this wonderful story.

College of Science and UArizona Campus Remembrance of Tom Meixner

Tom Meixner, HAS Professor and Department Head

(September 2023) A message from Carmala Garzione, Dean, College of Science:

"Dear College of Science community,

On October 5, 2022, we lost a dear colleague and friend, Dr. Thomas (Tom) Meixner, in a violent incident on campus. Tom was a renowned leader in his field of hydrology and atmospheric sciences and a beloved son, brother, husband, father, uncle, and scientist. I am calling on our community to continue to be kind and supportive of one another as we approach the one-year mark of this tragedy. We will need to lean on each other as many of us struggle to get through this time of year.

In memory of Tom and to hopefully bring comfort to the community, the College of Science will place a spotlight on top of the Gould-Simpson Building to shine vertically for the 24-hour period beginning at 8:00 a.m. on October 5. This light is a reminder of Tom's generosity and commitment to our campus community, his students and colleagues, his family and friends, his research community, and his advocacy for sustainable living on our planet. Although not easy to see during the daytime hours, I hope that knowledge of the light will bring some peace as we remember Tom and will encourage us to connect with the people and efforts that are most important to each of us.

Public Gathering
For those who are looking for a place to remember Tom while being in the company of others, a public gathering place will be available at the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center, at 1615 E. 2nd Street. The Newman Center is a Catholic organization, but the gathering will be non-denominational, and all are welcome. On Thursday, October 5, the chapel will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with various means for attendees to reflect and honor Tom. A service will be held at noon, and it will be livestreamed (more information coming soon.) At 5:00 p.m., the Newman Center will hold its regular prayer and daily mass, which will be dedicated to Tom, who was a parishioner in this community.

Counseling Services
Counseling and mental health support will be available at the Newman Center on October 5. For employees, counselors will be on-site from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For students, CAPS will have representatives on site to assist you get connected with mental health resources.

In addition to the counseling services that will be available at the Newman Center, two counselors will be available via telephone for employees on October 5. Anyone seeking virtual support can call (484) 222-0246 or (212) 946-1583 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. to speak with a counselor. Please know that if the line is busy and you are asked to leave a confidential message that you will receive a return call. Additionally, Employee Resource Counseling is available daily through ComPsych to everyone in our community.

Students in need of mental health support can contact Campus Health Counseling and Psych Services by calling 520-621-3334, schedule online or drop in at one of CAPS locations during operating hours. Visit the CAPS website to learn about available help. CAPS will have additional capacity to support students on October 5.

Please continue to care for yourself and those around you during this difficult time.


Carmie Garzione
Dean, College of Science"

Memorial ALERT Rain Gauge

Thomas Meixner Memorial ALERT Station at Holy Hope Cemetery

(March 2023) The Pima County Flood District has completed the installation of its newest rain gauge at Holy Hope Cemetery in dedication to the late Tom Meixner. The rain gauge will provide advance flood warning for the Flowing Wells area as well as assist in rainfall data collection for County projects within the City of Tucson. This was done in coordination with the Meixner family as a way of honoring Tom’s legacy of community involvement and hydrology research. The Meixner family wishes to express their gratitude to the District for making this memorial possible.

The rain gauge is operational and viewable on the ALERT site: PCRFCD ALERT Google Data Display Map (

Our thanks go out to our colleagues at Pima County Regional Flood Control District.