A retired Sonoma State University professor who was hit by a truck while riding his bicycle in Penngrove on June 8 died Tuesday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
Steve Norwick, 68, of Penngrove, died at 4:16 p.m., according to the Sonoma County coroner's office.
Norwick had been in a coma since he was hit from behind by a truck while riding south on Petaluma Hill Road near East Railroad Avenue.
The alleged driver, Robert Ernest Cowart, 68, of Rohnert Park, was arrested on June 8 after he admitted to two off-duty law enforcement officers that he was involved in the collision, according to the California Highway Patrol. Investigators said Cowart had told them he believed the cyclist was not injured.
CHP investigators said debris found at the scene, including a right-side mirror, matched Cowart's Dodge truck.
Norwick had taught in SSU's Department of Environmental Studies and Planning for almost four decades before retiring in May.
Norwick's daughter, Sara Rozet Norwick, said a small private event to honor her father is being planned. For the next seven days, the family will be sitting shiva, or mourning, as per the Jewish custom.
Former students had been planning a large retirement party for the geology aficionado this summer, and are now shaping up efforts to throw the party as a memorial for the beloved professor.
Sara Rozet Norwick said her father died surrounded by family and close friends. She
"The family hopes that Steve's legacy will live on in small acts -- picking up a piece of garbage, reading a book, singing, refilling a reusable water bottle, enjoying nature, teaching, etc.
"If people want to make a donation, the family suggests the California State Parks Foundation and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation," the statement read.
Norwick, who was born in San Francisco, lived with his wife just down the block from the campus where he taught for nearly 40 years.
In his Sonoma State University online profile, he called her his "college sweetheart" and said he met her at Pomona College, where he received his bachelor of arts degree before studying at Dartmouth College and the University of Montana, where he received his master's degree and a doctorate in geology, respectively.
His hobbies included hiking, gardening and playing music, and he was an avid bicyclist.
SSU spokeswoman Sue Kashack said Norwick was always riding around campus on his bicycle, and pedaled to work. He was environmentally conscious, she said.
Kashack remembered him as a "very nice man, very friendly" and a popular professor who focused on water issues related to the environment.
Cowart pleaded not guilty to felony hit-and-run Monday afternoon in Sonoma County Superior Court. He is out of custody on $50,000 bail.
The Sonoma County District Attorney's Office is expected to amend the complaint against Cowart in light of Norwick's death, but is awaiting results of toxicology tests, according to Terry Menshek, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.
"We have been in communication with the family ... our hearts go out to them for their tragic loss," the district attorney's office said in a statement released Wednesday.
Cowart has appeared in court in a wheelchair. His attorney, George Boisseau, said Cowart recently suffered a stroke, has an aneurysm in his neck and is hard of hearing.
Cowart and his family have declined to comment on the case.
He is expected back in court on July 13, according to Menshek.
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