John Jones Frautschi
MADISON, Wis. — John Jones Frautschi was born on November 18, 1929 as a 4th generation Madisonian and enjoyed an extraordinary 87 years as a great civic and business leader, wonderful husband and father, and cherished friend to so many. Unfortunately, on March 9, 2017, he “plumb wore out,” and went to meet his maker and reunite with his wife and soul mate, Mary Weston Frautschi, and all of his friends and relatives who will surely welcome him home.
Among those who will miss him terribly are his kids, Peter (Lorrie), Kip (Ann), and Liz (he liked to call her Lolly), and his grandkids Tony and Heidi, Blake, Amy, Paloma, Lily, and Shirley, as well his brother, Jerry (Pleasant), and his in-laws sometimes referred to as the Weston Gang, and many other cherished friends. He loved his Knitwits, his workmates, his Thursday Night Floaters, and so many more. We will all remember him as a man of incredible integrity, fierce loyalty, amazing generosity, abundant wisdom, and especially good humor. LEON!
John grew up on the shores of Lake Mendota during the 1930’s and 40’s, and enjoyed most of the usual boyhood pursuits, including skiing and ski jumping, bird hunting, and most other outdoor activities. He once jumped 131 feet on a ski jump that was set up for a maximum of 129′! He had a passion for sailing, and loved to tell about the time he was blown off the lake in a surprise gale. He travelled to Montana and the west as a boy, and eventually to much of Europe, Africa, Asia, Shilly Chalet, and even the north pole, and always came back.
John graduated from Fountain Valley High School in Colorado Springs in 1947, and Amherst College in Massachusetts in 1951. He then attended Carnegie Mellon and earned a B.S. in Graphic Arts and served in the Army. He married Mary on Feb 2nd, 1957, and joined his father (and soon after Jerry joined them) in business at the Democrat Printing Company. Together, they transformed the Democrat into what became Webcrafters Inc. which became one of the region’s most successful and respected printing manufacturers. One of their heart felt measures of success was as corporate benefactors to local charities and civic causes. At its peak Webcrafters supported more than 750 Madison families- John was especially proud of this and truly loved them all.
Equally impressive were John’s personal and professional awards, and multitude of civic causes. Among these were his (and brother Jerry’s) donation of 1,700 feet of Lake Mendota shoreline and land, adjacent to Picnic Point, to the University of Wisconsin. This area is now named Frautschi Point in honor of their father Walter, and will remain undeveloped and open to the public. John also founded a private foundation that has supported dozens of local charities since the early 1980’s.
John was the Ben Franklin Club, 1979 Graphic Arts Man of the Year, and was awarded the Web Offset Society’s Vision Award in 2001. He was inducted into the Printing Impressions Hall of Fame in 2000. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, PIA affiliate Printing Industries of Wisconsin, 1st Wisconsin Bank, Firstar Bank, Edgewood College, American Players Theater, Meriter Hospital, Placon, and Emma Willard School, and many more.
The list of his accomplishments is long and reflective of his devotion to his family, firm, and community, yet he was also humble and gentle enough to take Ivan (his realistic bear puppet) to cheer up sick kids in the hospital. He loved it when one sick child quietly told him, “at first I thought he was fake.” He also loved to recall his grandfather’s sentiments that “everyone should devote one day per week to their community.” He took that to heart and lead by example, and an example he set, and hopefully his legacy will inspire us all to be our best.
There will be a farewell service for him on Friday, March 24, 2017 at Christ Presbyterian Church, 944 East Gorham Street at 11:00 am followed by a reception for close friends and family. A visitation will be held at church on Friday from 9:30am until the time of service.
In lieu of flowers please send donations in John’s name to the Ronald McDonald House of Madison, 2716 Marshall Ct. Madison, WI 53705.
Cress Funeral Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
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