Tuesday, November 09, 1993

Obituary: Bob R. "Boomer" Harris - Class of 1933

MADISON - Bob R. "Boomer" Harris died late Sunday morning following a brief illness. Harris is best remembered for serving as head basketball coach at three Madison high schools, West (1947-53), Central (1957-69), and Memorial (1970-75). He also helped coach prep football and,11/09/ football team in California that played USC and UCLA junior varsity squads in the Los Angeles Coliseum. Following his discharge from the Army, Harris decided against several other opportunities and opted for high school coaching. Two of his West teams won Big Eight championships and the 1951 Regents finished second to Wisconsin Rapids in the WIAA State Tournament. A conflict of philosophies at West resulted in the transfer of Harris to Central in 1953, and he served as assistant there until being named head coach in 1957. He didn’t enjoy the same success at Central, but as usual, got the most ability out of his players as well as respect from all those who’s lives he touched. He led Central out of the Big Eight Cellar in 1958 for the first time in four years and was named Coach of the Year. His 1963-64 team compiled a 10-4 conference record, finished second and earned Harris another Coach of the Year citation in the city. Harris said one of his most enjoyable years was at Central in 1953 when he also assisted coach Harold "Gus" Pollack with the football team. "Then having coached my son, "Tuffy" (Robert Harris) at Central was one of my most enjoyable experiences," he once told an interviewer. When Central closed, he moved to Memorial, retiring in 1975. He was inducted into the Madison Pen and Mike Sports Hall of Fame in June 1978. He was awarded the Madison Pen and Mike Good Guy Award. He also was named Mr. Olympic in 1977 by the Madison Service Club Council. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaching Association Hall of Fame in 1979. Harris was a product of the "old school," who taught absolutes to his pupils, emphasizing there wasn’t a right and wrong way, but a "Harris way" to live their lives. Discipline was a key word in his vocabulary. Bus drivers used to say their buses were cleaner when Harris teams got off after road trips, than when they boarded. Harris credited his experiences as a kid on the old Marquette playground, where the late Scott Hake was the instructor, for inspiring his interest in teaching and coaching. He was born May 9, 1915 in Chippewa Falls to Reverend and Mrs. Fred W. Harris. His father was a Methodist minister who brought his family to Madison when Bob was in fourth grade. Harris graduated from Central High School and earned a varsity letter in basketball at the University of Wisconsin. playing for Harold "Bud" Foster. He worked his way through the University at Toby and Moon’s Restaurant, gaining other experience during his high school years at Egan and Kelly’s Restaurant. He also credits former East High teachers Morgan "Doc" Gottschalk and Archie Morrow for aiding his coaching career as well as former UW baseball coach Dynie Mansfield and UW recreation director Pat Holmes. A 1937 University of Wisconsin graduate, Harris was one of only three physical education majors in the class of 62 to land a job during that Depression year. He went to work in Madison’s public elementary schools. During summers, he worked at Madison playgrounds and beaches, supervising swimming programs on all Madison beaches for many years until ill health forced his retirement in 1975. The old coach never put much stock in records, championships or awards. He treasured as his greatest "trophies" those former students and players who became outstanding citizens in their respective communities. Scores of those pupils never lost touch with him, and many appreciated his positive influence on their lives to this date. Bob and his wife, the former Ruth Meyers, were married September 29, 1942. They became parents of two daughters, Ruth A. Garner (Mark Gillingham) of Portland, Oregon, and Betty J. Custer (J. Corkey) of Madison; as well as a son, Robert B. Harris (Nancy) of San Mateo, California. Bob was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ruth; his father, Frederick, and mother, Estelle; his sister, Dorothy Steinweg and his brother, Lawrence. He is survived by his three children, his two sons-in-law, and his daughter-in-law; two grandchildren in Madison, Genevieve Harris Custer and James Corkey Custer III; and his brother, Wilfred, of Madison. He also leaves behind countless former students and athletes, and teaching and sports colleagues who will never forget that they knew "Boomer". Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, November 10, 1993 at the COMMUNITY OF HOPE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, 7118 Old Sauk Road, where friends may call from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 9, 1993. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Meritor Park Hospital, whose dedicated staff cared for Bob in his final days and supported his family; Hospice Care, Inc., who did the same for Bob’s wife; the Wisconsin Dance Ensemble with whom Bob’s granddaughter dances; and the Madison Midnight Basketball Program.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on November 9, 1993

Note: Robert Harris's class year is based on information in the 1933 issue of The Orange and Black yearbook, which includes his senior photograph.

Saturday, June 26, 1993

Obituary: Francesca Paratore - Class of 1927

A Part Of Old Madison Has Died
By Julianne White, The Capital Times

In the heat of the day, they slowly climbed the steps of St. James Catholic Church. Many of them were childhood friends, bound by their heritage, their faith and the neighborhood of their youth, the Bush.

Today the Bush lives only in their memories. Never have blocks of a city been remembered so fondly. These once carefree youngsters are silver-haired now. Years of life experience are recorded in their faces, lines worn with pride. Their eyes light up as they greet each other. The abiding affection, peppered with nicknames and teasing, is evident.

Silently they filed into the wooden pews, framed by exquisite stained glass windows. And as the ceiling fan whirred above them, Mass began.

"We are here today to celebrate the life of Francesca Paratore,'' said the priest.

Francesca Paratore died last month. For the first time in her life, she left behind her younger sisters and brothers: Angela, Josephine, Anne, Tony and Vito. It took the gentle hand of death to separate her from them.

Bits and pieces of recollections from family members and friends tell her story.

"The hardship,'' said her sister, Anne, "began in Sicily. Our mother would often say, 'If we had been among the wealthy of Italy, why would we have left such a beautiful place?' But peasants were paid for their labor with produce. If the crops failed, you ate nothing.''

Francesca was 3 years old when she and her mother, Antonia, left their homeland. Her father, Theodore, an indentured railroad worker, had preceded them to Madison. It took two years for him to save enough money to pay their passage. In 1909, mother and daughter arrived at Ellis Island.

"They were put on a train, supposedly going to Madison, Wis.,'' said Anne. `"When they arrived at Madison, Ind., there was no one there to meet them. Speaking not a word of English, they sat there and cried. At last, an interpreter at the station re-routed them here.They walked from the Milwaukee Road depot to Regent Street, where our father was living.''

Francesca learned English at Longfellow school, which was filled with the children of immigrants. Her mother, who didn't attend school beyond the second grade, was determined her children would be educated.

After graduating from Central High School, Francesca sought work and was highly recommended to a local dairy.

"Your name, is that Italian?'' asked the prospective employer.

The young woman nodded.

"Then you need not apply,'' he said.

"She was bitterly disappointed,'' said Anne. "Our mother said, `All right. We live near the university. You'll go there.' ''

Francesca Paratore earned a bachelor's degree in Italian, French and American history, the first female Italian immigrant from the Bush to graduate from the University of Wisconsin. She worked in federal service for 31 years, editing educational materials for the U.S. Armed Forces Institute.

And always she remained in Madison, caring for her mother in their home at 818 Regent St., the homestead Francesca would maintain for over 60 years.

She never married but she collected friends, plentiful as morning dew. And many of them were present at the memorial service.

And when they talk about Fran Paratore, certain phrases echo: "wonderful woman,'' "devoted to her family,'' "like an older sister to me.''

Her obituary allowed all of us to know her better. It said she was known as` `the best breadmaker in town,'' that she missed only 12 UW football games in 57 years, that she was a shrewd bridge partner and that, in addition to her loving family, she is survived by a 1957 Buick Skylark.

Her last years were spent at Attic Angel Nursing Home. Rose Krueger, admissions director and social worker, says, "Fran always wanted to be doing something or helping someone. She took long, long walks, often pushing another resident in her wheelchair. And she spent many hours in front of the TV watching sports. Fran added spice to our facility. We'll miss her colorful wit. We loved her dearly.''

As Francesca Paratore's life drew to a close, one of her nephews, Phillip Shallat, flew in from Seattle. He said his Aunt Fran knew she was dying, and when he asked if she was afraid to die, she said she was not. He fed his aunt her last meals and told her what a gift her kindness had been. And he assured her she needn't worry about those she was leaving behind.

Antonia Paratore died on Mother's Day in 1970 at the age of 86. Francesca Paratore died on Mother's Day in 1993 at the age of 86 when, said her obituary, "she peacefully joined her best friend and mother.''

Originally published as a new story in The Capital Times on June 26, 1993

Note: Frances Paratore's class year is based on information in the 1927 Tychoberahn, where she is pictured among the graduating seniors.

Tuesday, April 27, 1993

Obituary: Robert G. Herreid - Class of 1936

MADISON - Robert G. Herreid, age 75, of Madison, died on Sunday, April 25, 1993 at Elmwood, Wisconsin. He was born on November 18, 1917 at the Top of State Street in Madison. He graduated and completed a Master's Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He served in World War II as a Navy Corpsman in the Pacific Theater. He taught school in Beloit, Central High School in Madison, and at Laugh-A-Lot High School where he retired in 1979. He was remembered for "The Pussycat" Newspaper. Bob was an avid golfer and member of MARGA. He often scored 1 over pat at Glenway Golf Course. Survivors include his seven children, Joan, Tom, Barbara, Robert, Anne, Colin, James; and 19 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his aunt, Cecelia; and his cousin, June Fiscus. He was a lover of Shakespeare and humor and truly believed that a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants, was the key to the good life. We miss you S.O.B. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 1, 1993, at 11:00 a.m. at the CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road. Entombment will be at FOREST HILL MAUSOLEUM. Visitation will be Friday, April 30, 1993, from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. at the Funeral Home.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on April 27, 1993

Note: Robert G. Herreid's class year is based on information about the Central High School Class of 1936 June graduates published in the Wisconsin State Journal on June 7, 1936. Mr. Herried's obituary is also listed in teacher obituaries.

Wednesday, February 24, 1993

Obituary: Sandra L. Hoffman - Class of 1966

MADISON - Sandra L. Hoffman, age 44, died at her home on Tuesday, February 23, 1993. Sandra was born on September 19, 1948 in Madison, She was a receptionist and secretary at Bowman Dairy for over 20 years. She was a member of Holy redeemer Catholic Church in Madison. Survivors include her parents, Rupert and Lillian Hoffman of Madison; two brothers Thomas Hoffman, Jeffrey (Diane) Hoffman of Madison; one sister Diane Imhoff of Madison; four nieces, one nephew; and many other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her grandparents; seven uncles; and three aunts. Funeral services will be held at the ST. BERNARD CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2450 Atwood Avenue, at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, Febuary 25, 1993, where Father Lawrence Kiefer will officiate. Friends may call on Wednesday, February 24, 1993 from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m. at the RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 2418 North Sherman Avenue where a rosary will be recited at 5:00 p.m. Internment will be held at the HIGHLAND MEMORY GARDENS CEMETERY. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on February 24, 1993; submitted by Gerhard Ellerkamp (Class of 1966).