I have been lucky enough to be able to lead a rewarding life, doing pretty much what I wanted to do. After graduating from the Hun School of Princeton and taking a degree in film from Northwestern University in 1968, I underachieved for a while as an astrologer and landscaper. In 1974 I finally grew up, starting graduate work in anthropology, settling down, and working as an employment researcher and archaeologist/environmental planner for the state of California for the following decade. After that, I tried a couple of start-up for-profit ventures, without much success.
In 1984 I founded a nonprofit environmental group and began working to protect rivers, watersheds, and aquatic species. Over the next 20 years, I concentrated on protecting Pacific salmon habitat from the activities of corporate farmers, loggers and miners. I left Redding, California after helping to write and pass federal legislation that forced water to be released (or not released) from Shasta Dam to benefit Sacramento River salmon. At Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund in Seattle, and then at the helm of Pacific Rivers Council in Eugene, I broadened my focus to the Skagit, Columbia, Rogue, Klamath and other important West Coast salmon rivers.
I retired in 2004. My wife Sonia Madeira de Ley and I now split our time between Laguna Beach, California and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I like to spend part of each day swimming, body surfing, or doing yoga. I have two sons and three grandchildren in Eugene, Oregon and a daughter in Chicago. My first retirement project was an art book on my stepfather’s painting (see PitneyArtLegacy.org). My current project is a memoir, to be followed by a book on the lunar cult of the East Coast Yucatan Maya, the topic of my 1985 Masters thesis.