MADISON - Norman J. Wood, age 73, passed away peacefully on April 16, 2013, at UW Hospital surrounded by his loving family.
Norm was born in East Troy, WI, on May 25, 1939, to LaMar and Mary (nee. Maier) Wood. He graduated from Oconomowoc High School, where he was a three-letter athlete and Prom King. While attending UW-Whitewater he met his future wife, Kathy Downing. After Norm graduated with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration he and Kathy were married July 31, 1965, in Watertown, WI.
Norm & Kathy moved to Peoria, IL, then Belleville, WI, before settling in Madison to raise their family.
Growing up, his father managed the Pabst Farms in Oconomowoc. As a result, Norm was already connected to the dairy industry in his youth. His first job was selling Baker's Infant formula in Peoria, IL. He then became a mortgage banker for Mercantile Bank. In 1969 the family returned to Wisconsin and he assumed the role of Plant Manager at Pabst Farms, Paoli.
In 1971 he was hired by Marschall Products Madison (which ultimately became Danisco), where he started in the labs and ascended to the role of National Account Executive in the Italian Cheese area. In this role, he was instrumental in the development of the "Italian Cheese Seminar," and garnered several industry awards. He also became known industry wide as "Mr. Italian Cheese" for his 34 years of service to the cheese industry.
Despite his business travel demands, he still found time to support his family's activities like band, dance, sports, scouting, and sleepovers; and was always on hand to supervise family construction projects.
Ever the businessman, Norm encouraged the family to start their own business ventures including; lawn mowing, paper routes, snow removal, and Kathy's tax preparation business.
Norm's passions included fishing, hunting, and bowling as well as watching Badger and Packer games. He and Kathy also loved to travel, whether by plane, train, ship, motorcycle, or convertible; one thing was sure, it usually included casino tours.
He was a founding and charter member of the Jaycees in Peoria, IL, and Belleville, WI; as well as a member of the Knights of Columbus.
With his endearing smile, soft spoken charm, and genuine interest in others, people were always drawn to Norm, who "never met a stranger." Norm's ability to make you feel loved and good about yourself is evident in the many people who became "adopted" members of the Wood clan.
He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years and siblings, David L. (Mary) of Wausau; Mary Diane (Hugh) Montagriff of Grand Junction, CO, and Kristine (Mike) Fitch of Phillips and their families. Additionally by in-laws, Barbara Fraser, Las Vegas, NV, and Pat Downing of Blanchardville.
He is further survived by his children and grandchildren, Amy (Michael) McCormick, Megan, Devin, Shannon & Declan, of Waunakee; Kevin (Lori) Wood, Lauren & Addison, of Middleton; David J. (Tonya) Wood & Ashley, of Madison; Derek (Dawn) Wood, Kyle, Lindsey & Brandon of Waunakee.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Sandra.
A visitation will be held on Monday April 22, 2013, from 4-7 p.m. at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, WI.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at 11 a.m. at St Maria Goretti, 5313 Flad Ave, Madison, WI, with visitation service one hour prior.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Norman & Kathleen Wood Scholarship Fund at UW-Whitewater or to a charity of your choice.