Sunday, October 14, 2007

Obituary: Hermine Sauthoff Davidson - Class of 1928

MADISON - Hermine Sauthoff Davidson, 97, died Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007, peacefully in her home in Madison. She was born July 12, 1910, to Berthold and Mary (Mame) Sauthoff, also Madison natives. She was one of the first graduates of the University of Wisconsin Modern Dance program in 1932, guided by Margaret H'Doubler. She taught at Ohio State University and then at New York University, earning a master's degree there. While in New York, she also studied with the Martha Graham Dance Studio. During World War II, she served with the American Red Cross in England, France, and Germany for three years. After the war, she was employed by the Madison School District as supervisor of elementary and high school physical education, and organizer of women's sports and adult recreation programs. One of the adult recreational programs she became very involved with was square and folk dancing, where she met and married Charlie Davidson. They "called" for the "Folk Fiesta" sessions in the Great Hall of the Wisconsin Union, and on the King Street Plaza of the State Capitol. These were enjoyed by hundreds of dancers and spectators, many of whom also married as a result. Hermine enjoyed sailing, canoeing, and camping with her husband, Charlie and their children, Liese and Rob. She gardened, knitted, and taught all the neighborhood kids to swim. She was very active politically and in the community, in such things as Waunona Garden Club, Waunona Association, the Beltline relocation campaign, the Kanopy Dance Company, the Broadway Simpson Neighborhood Center, and advocating for the Madison lakes. She was a lifelong member of the First Unitarian Society, was on the Madison School Board for six years, played bridge, and attended nearly every American Players Theater performance since its opening. She was named a YWCA Woman of Distinction in 2003. She had a great interest in people and enjoyed talking with everyone she met. She and Charlie took joy in many far-flung Elderhostel programs, and in visiting grandchildren in Anchorage, Alaska. She remained an active and enthusiastic individual all her life. Among her survivors are her husband, Charlie; son, Rob of Madison; daughter, Liese and husband Jim Munter of Anchorage; and grandchildren, Lynn, Katie and Scott Munter. A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007, at the FIRST UNITARIAN SOCIETY, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison. The family requests contributions to the charity of your choice in lieu of flowers.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on October 14, 2007

Note: Hermine Sauthoff's class year is based on information in the 1928 Tychoberahn, where she is pictured among the February graduates.

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