Wednesday, December 03, 1997

Obituary: Walter A. Frautschi - Class of 1920

MADISON - Walter A. Frautschi died on Tuesday, December 2, 1997, two days before his 96th Birthday. Walter died in Wynfield Home in Madison. His wife Dorothy was at his side. He was born in Madison on december 4, 1901, the son of Emil J. and Ida P. Frautschi and the grandson of Christian and Elizabeth Frautschi who arrived in Madison from Switzerland in 1868. Walter was a graduate of Madison High School that later became Central High School. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and was President of his class of 1924. After graduation he began work as a salesman at the democrat Printing Company on South Carroll Street. The "Democrat" later became Webcrafters. Walter "officially" retired as President in 1972 but continued as Chairman of the Board and Chairman Emeritus. He was regularly in the office and remained very active in the community until incapacitated by a broken hip last year. Walter and Dorothy Jones were married in Paris in 1927. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on August 10th. In addition to his wife, Dorothy, Walter is survived by two sons, John J. and W. Jerome "Jerry"; six grandchildren, Peter, Christopher "Kip"; Elizabeth, Paul, Lance, and Grant; four great-grandchildren; and his brother, Lowell. Walter had a life-long commitment to the University of Wisconsin. He served as President of the Wisconsin Alumni Association of Madison, was the first to be named UW Alumnus of the year n 1957. He served as Trustee and President of the the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and was a Trustee and Chair of the Vilas Trust. His contributions to the community were equally extensive. In 1936 he chaired the Community Union Campaign and in 1942 he led the Madison War Chest Campaign, both predecessors of the United Way. Walter founded and chaired the Webcrafters/Frautschi Foundation which since 1962 has supported many charitable organizations in Madison and elsewhere. He was a member and President (1951-52) of the Madison Literary Club. In 1967 he was selected as Madison's Graphic Arts Man of the Year. Walter was General Chairman of the 1976-77 Campaign that successfully raise $1,500,00 to build the Madison Civic Center. Walter's sons honored him by acquiring Second Point on Lake Mendota and donating it to the University of Wisconsin in his name. It is now Frautschi Point. Walter was the longest tenured member of the Downtown Madison Rotary Club. He served Rotary as President in 1955 and was recognized as the co-recipient with his brother Lowell of hte Club's two most prestigious awards - the Manfred Swarsensky and Joseph G. Werner Meritorious Award. In 1984 the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce honored the Frautschi family with its "Appreciation Award" which Walter accepted as senior member of the family. Walter was a longtime member of the Maple Bluff Country Club and the Madison Club. he served as Trustee of the Village of Maple Bluff and for many years he had been a member of the Board of Directors of the First National Bank (now Firstar). Walter and Dorothy were ardent travelers. he enjoyed photography, boating, hunting, vacations at the family home near Minocqua and he delighted in anything that involved his family. His family will miss him as will the community love loved and served throughout his long lifetime. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, December 8, 1997 at CHRIST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 944 East Gorham Street in Madison. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made in Walter's name to a charity of your choice.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on December 3, 1997

Note: Walter Frautschi's class year is based on information in the 1920 Tyhcoberahn, for which he served as editor.

Walter Frautschi, Longtime Civic Leader, Dies at 95

By Jerry Ambling

Walter A. Frautschi, longtime businessman, civic leader and Madison area benefactor, died today.

He was 95 and had been ill for several weeks following a heart incident, an aide at his Webcrafters firm said today.

Mr. Frautschi, who headed the family's hugely successful Webcrafters Inc. printing firm, was so involved in business, civic and University of Wisconsin activities that he seemed to touch nearly every phase of the Madison community over his lifetime.

He followed the philosophy of his father, Emil Frautschi, who noted that his "hometown was entitled to two or three hours of my services each day."

In those footsteps, Walter Frautschi directed the fund drive that raised $1.5 million for the Civic Center project in 1976. He and his wife, Dorothy Jones Frautschi, a native of Barneveld, gave $50,000 for the beautification of the village after it was nearly destroyed by a tornado on June 8, 1984.

Their generosity also allowed the Madison Metropolitan School District to establish a school forest, for which Mr. Frautschi was given a Natural Heritage Foundation Stewardship Award in 1987.

The Frautschi legacy of protecting natural areas continued when his sons, John and Jerry, who worked with him at Webcrafters, honored their father by giving $1.5 million to the University of Wisconsin to purchase Second Point on Lake Mendota.

The sons managed to keep their plans secret and the elder Frautschi said he was "overwhelmed and totally surprised" by their gift in his name to the UW.

Mr. Frautschi was long active in university affairs and was president of the Wisconsin Alumni Association in 1947. As president-elect, he lashed out against the Board of Regents for slashing the UW budget by $3 million, affecting many research and service projects.

He took leadership reins in development of the Alumni House, later served as president and longtime trustee of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the Memorial Union Council.

He was also a longtime trustee of the Vilas Estate, one of the prime benefactors of the UW and its students and professors.

In 1957 he was honored for his service to the UW by being named the first University Alumnus of the Year.

"He was a great guy, a really wonderful human being," said Sandy Wilcox, president of the UW Foundation. "He was dearly loved by everyone he was associated with. He participated in nearly everything that went on here, from the Memorial Union to the Alumni Association to the foundation, to other UW groups, and never turned us down when we asked something of him. He was a first citizen of this university, of this community and this state, a person who was very generous with time in countless activities."

On the city side of community endeavors, the busy Frautschi served over the years as president of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and the YMCA board of directors. He also held seats on company boards of directors and other groups. During World War II, he served as chairman of several Red Cross projects.

He also continuously served the United Way and its predecessor organizations such as the Community Union Campaign, the War Chest, Community Chest and United Givers.

Walter Frautschi was the middle of three generations to do so. His father was involved in those organizations as far back as the 1920s and Walter and his brother Lowell became active in such groups in the 1930s.

Walter's two sons remain active in the United Way. In recognition of that 70 years of family giving through community fund raising, the United Wayin 1996 honored the Frautschi family by giving it the annual Alexis de Tocqueville Society membership recognition.

The Frautschi clan was similarly honored by the Chamber of Commerce in 1984 which recognized the family's 115 years of distinguished service in the Madison business community.

Mr. Frautschi was elected to the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame in 1992. He also was given a civic leadership award that year by the Alexander Co.

Mr. Frautschi graduated from the old Wisconsin High School in 1920, and from the University of Wisconsin in 1924.

In addition to his wife and sons, he is survived by six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending at the Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Rd., in Madison.

Originally published as a news story of the front page of The Capital Times on December 2, 1997.

Note: There is an error in this story, Walter Frautschi graduated from the old Madison High School (later Madison Central High School) in 1920.

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