Cover photo for Donovan Lee Quam's Obituary
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1938 Donovan 2023

Donovan Lee Quam

October 27, 1938 — December 17, 2023

Madison, WI

Donovan Lee Quam, a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and proud Madison West and University of Wisconsin alumnus, passed away peacefully on December 17, 2023, in Madison, Wisconsin. He was 85 years old.

Donovan was born to Obert and Lorraine Quam in Edgerton, Wisconsin, on October 27, 1938. He grew up in Madison, where he attended Madison West High School and excelled in sports. He lettered in football, basketball, and golf, co-captaining West to the state basketball finals in 1957 and leading the golf team to the state championship two months later as the low individual scorer.

He attended the University of Wisconsin, majoring in accounting and finance in the School of Business. He was a member of the University’s golf team, Chi Psi Fraternity, and ROTC. He graduated in 1961 and joined Price Waterhouse in Chicago before entering the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant and moving to Denver, Colorado. In Denver, Don earned his law degree from the University of Denver, married, and raised three sons, David, Mark, and Michael. 

Donovan instilled his love of sports, coaching all three boys in everything from baseball to basketball to tennis and soccer and, of course, golf. He also excelled in his career, becoming a financial and accounting executive until his retirement in 2008.

In 2005, he reconnected with his high school classmate Elizabeth (Betsy) Graham at their high school reunion in Madison (for the first time since graduation in 1957). They fell in love and married in 2009 in Norway, where they had numerous relatives and friends. Don and Betsy made the most of their time together, traveling the world, exploring national parks, taking in U.S. history, and visiting family and friends. His beloved Betsy preceded Donovan a few months earlier in May. His final resting place will be next to her at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison.

Donovan is survived by his three sons; eleven grandchildren, Justin, William, Ericson, Ava, Andrew, Eddie, Sydney, Cooper, Palmer, Alexandra, and Nicholas; and sisters, Christine and Cathy. Betsy’s children include Karen, Pier (deceased 1995), and Eric; grandchildren Alica, Jason, Jeffery, Daby, and Oscar; and great-granddaughter Sage.

Donovan is remembered for his quiet nature, dry wit, and steady mentorship. Forever proud of his Norwegian heritage, he led by example, without complaint, and with endless kindness and generosity. He touched many lives, and his love and wisdom will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Donovan’s family will celebrate his life at a private service in Madison. Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society in his memory.


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