WISC-TV executive, Madison business leader dies

Business leader’s memorial service at Monona Terrace Saturday
George Nelson

George Nelson, a Madison business and community leader instrumental in the building of major civic projects, died Wednesday night. He was 76.

Nelson was a Morgan Murphy Media vice president for administration and finance for the Evening Telegram Company, the parent company of WISC-TV.

“George was as proud of WISC as we were of him,” said Morgan Murphy Media President and CEO Elizabeth Murphy Burns. “He was an integral part of the community he loved and Channel 3. He will be missed by his family, his many friends, Madison, the station and me.”

WISC-TV General Manager Tom Bier said Nelson, “was a major force in our community and was a key business adviser to mayors, governors and the business leaders. Using those relationships and friendships, George was a critical force in many major community projects most notably the construction of Monona Terrace and the Overture Center.”

After serving on the Evening Telegram board of directors for years, he joined this company in 1982.

Nelson was especially proud of his 11-year quest to get Monona Terrace built. He worked hand-in-hand with Mayor Paul Soglin.

Soglin issued a statement, including his condolences.

“He loved working on incredible challenges that improved our city. George’s contribution to the creation of the Madison Civic Center cannot be overstated. When it was time to end 60 years of frustration and build Monona Terrace, George was the only person who could lead a civic strategy to unite the city and then Dane County and the State of Wisconsin.”

Bier said Nelson raised the profile of Channel 3, TVW, Madison Magazine and Channel 3000 in the Madison area and loved being associated with the company.

Nelson will be remembered for his smile, his good humor, his ability to get things done.

“He will be missed and our love for him will never end,” Soglin said. “We are humbled by his contribution.”

Nelson is survived by his wife Judy and five children. Funeral arrangements are pending.