Fred M. Reames

Fred M. Reames

MADISON- Fred M. Reames, age 71, died peacefully at UW Hospital on Thursday, July 19, 2012.

He was born on August 12, 1940, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the son of Mark and Gretchen (Mielenz) Reames. He grew up in Denver, where he graduated from South High School in 1958, and went on to earn a B.A. and Ph.D. in physics at Yale. In August 1962 he married Sherry Granzow, and they lived happily together for nearly fifty years.

Fred’s career began at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he taught for eight years, earned tenure, and became chair of the physics department. After he and Sherry moved to Madison in 1977, he held a few one-year jobs with different state agencies, worked for a number of years as a consulting engineer with Donahue and Associates, and then joined the academic staff at UW-Madison, where he did research in Statistics and Space Sciences (Meteorology) and taught undergraduate courses in Mechanical Engineering. He was such a dedicated and popular teacher that his engineering students honored him with eight teaching awards. After he retired in May 2006, he audited courses at the university, tutored high school students in math, mentored a younger child, and did lots of science experiments with his grandson.

Fred was enthusiastic about traveling, visiting ancient monuments and medieval churches, theater-going (especially in London), and hiking in the Colorado mountains. He enjoyed being a referee in Madison youth soccer leagues, and loved to watch professional soccer when he could no longer keep up with the kids. He was an avid squash player well into 2012 and took special pleasure in challenging players many decades his junior.

Fred was an early advocate of energy conservation, always tried to drive as little as possible, and invested in the most efficient car and home-heating system he could find. He volunteered generously for his church, the Democratic Party, and Madison-area Urban Ministry, where he served on the board from 2006 until the month before his death.

When he learned in December 2010 that he had an incurable form of leukemia, Fred accepted the diagnosis with equanimity, explaining to anyone who asked that he had had a good life already.

Fred was preceded in death by his parents and his only brother, Mark Jr. He is survived by his wife, Sherry; his beloved sons and daughters-in-law, Kent (Heather) of Madison and Martin (Nicole Grabow) of Minneapolis; his former daughter-in-law, Mary Lang Reames; his dear grandchildren, Justin and Elizabeth; his sister-in-law, Ruth; his brother’s sons Matthew and Seth; Seth’s children Kotaro and Momoko; and his cousins Michael Leonard, Adel Eliason, Linda Casburn, and Claudia Reames. He will also be greatly missed by Sherry’s siblings, Sue Wilson, Kent Granzow, and Kathryn Scheffler, and their families, and by many long-time friends.

A funeral service for Fred will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1833 Regent Street, on Saturday, August 4, at 1 pm. In lieu of flowers, Fred requested that memorial contributions be made to the Endowment Fund of Madison-area Urban Ministry, 2300 South Park Street, #2022, Madison, WI 53713.