A notable necrology of 1967
White, Steenbock among those lost
Jan. 19, 1967: Thomas R. Hefty, 81, the son of Swiss immigrants who rose from part-time bookkeeper to become president and chairman of the First National Bank, dies after breaking his hip in a fall at his home in Maple Bluff.
Feb. 20, 1967: District Attorney Floyd McBurney, 29, West High National Honors Society ’55, Phi Beta Kappa UW ’60, UW Law 63, a quadriplegic paralyzed since a diving accident at age 16, dies from a perforated ulcer less than four months after becoming the first Republican since 1948 elected to a partisan Dane County office. The McBurney Disability Resource Center on the UW campus was founded in 1977 with funds from his memorial account, largely through the efforts of McBurney’s faculty mentor, the noted real estate Prof. James Graaskamp (himself a quadriplegic).
June 7, 1967: Beloved scholar Prof. Helen C. White, 71, dies a month before her retirement after 48 years on the UW faculty. Known around campus for her purple attire, White was a two-time chair of the English Department, the recipient of 23 honorary degrees, and author of 13 books. A devout Roman Catholic, White was a staunch foe of Sen. Joseph McCarthy and in 1957 gave the main address at the rededication of the famed “sifting and winnowing” plaque on Bascom Hall. In 1970, the Regents named the massive lakefront building housing the English department, undergraduate library and parking ramps in her honor.
Sept. 14, 1967: Herman Loftsgordon, 84, east side civic leader and banker, dies at his home, 1407 Morrison St. One of the founders in 1918 of Anchor Savings and Loan, and its longtime chairman, Loftsgordon was president of the East Side Businessmen’s Association when it built the Eastwood (Barrymore) Theater in 1929. The first president of the East Side High School when it opened in 1922, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1925.
Sept. 19, 1967: Milton B. Findorff, 73, president and chairman of the board of Madison’s largest construction company, dies after a half-century with the firm his father John H. Findorff founded in 1890.
Oct. 18, 1967: Leo T. Kehl, 67, internationally renowned dance instructor dies after a brief illness. Director of the school his father Frederick William Kehl founded in 1880, Kehl not only taught thousands of Madison children to dance–he taught thousands of dance instructors as well, including future film stars Gene Kelly and Vera Ellen. A cofounder of the Madison West Lions Club, Kehl’s books on dance are used by thousands of schools and dozens of major universities.
Oct. 23, 1967: Thomas H. Moran, 60, an East High Purgolder who went from payroll clerk to chairman of the board of General Telephone co. of Wisconsin, dies six hours after falling from a ladder while cleaning leaves from the eaves of his home, 846 Farwell Dr.
Dec. 25, 1967: Prof. Harry Steenbock, 81 who saved millions of youngsters from the dreaded bone disease rickets–and then made millions of dollars for the UW–by discovering vitamin D in 1924, dies of complications after a heart attack. The Quaker Oats company offered Steenbock a million dollars for his patent for radiating food with ultraviolet light, but he wanted to endow the UW’s research function; so he worked with Dean Charles S. Slichter to create the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and gave it his patent. By the time the patent expired in 1945, rickets had been eliminated from the United States, and WARF was established as the critical funder of UW research in the natural sciences.
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