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.

Primary Convener
Student/Early Career Convener
Index Terms
View Related

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.