Frederick William Madison Jr., 82, passed away June 3, 2019 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. He was born in Milwaukee to the late Frederick W. and Geraldine (Conover) Madison, Sr. After graduating from Milwaukee Country Day School in 1955, Fred attended Harvard University, transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning his MS in soils and PhD. Upon completion of his graduate studies, he was hired as a recruiter for the Peace Corps by its founder and first director, Sargent Shriver. He then served as a legislative assistant for Senator Gaylord Nelson. During his tenure in that office, he authored the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018. Next in his career was his appointment by President Lyndon Johnson to the Upper Great Lakes Regional Commission. Following his reappointment by President Richard Nixon in 1972, He returned to Wisconsin in 1973 to join the faculty at U.W.-Madison with a joint appointment to the Soils Department and the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, retiring in 2011. The University of Wisconsin honored him with the Wisconsin Idea Award, given to a person who embodies the notion that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Fred was a leader in the sustainable agriculture movement, serving on the Federal Regional Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) for several terms. In 2001, Fred co-founded the University of Wisconsin-Extension Discovery Farms, an outreach and research project, led by Wisconsin’s farmers with a focus on the relationship between agriculture and water quality. He was also Chairman of the Town of West Point Planning Commission, retiring from that post in 2017; and served as Chairman of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board until stepping down this year,
Fred and his spouse, Tracy, were active volunteers in local, state and national politics. They were avid supporters of the arts, contributing to the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the American Players Theatre in Spring Green as well as the Art Institute of Chicago. At home, Fred was an ardent gardener and was active in a local horseshoe league. He and his family annually traveled to the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area in northern Minnesota , camping, canoeing and sky gazing. He was a Packer fan, sharing season tickets with friends; and supported Badger men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, holding season tickets for both.
Fred is survived by his wife, Tracy (Anderson); his son, David of Minneapolis, Minnesota; two daughters, Jessica of Seattle, Washington., and Ashley and her son, Owen, of Portland, Oregon; a sister, Nancy Hayes of Santa Fe, New Mexico; and several nephews and nieces. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Sarah Lawless.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, August 17, 2019 beginning at 11:00 a.m., at Park Hall, 307 Polk St., Sauk City.
Fred’s family is grateful to the nurses, doctors and all the other health care professionals at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness (Get involved — Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness).