Cover photo for Grace Witter White's Obituary
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Grace Witter White

December 16, 1925 — June 6, 2024

Madison

Madison – Grace Witter White, age 98, passed away on Thursday, June 6, 2024, at Oakwood Village University Woods in Madison, Wisconsin, where she died peacefully.

 

Grace was born in Wausau, Wisconsin, on December 16, 1925, the oldest daughter of Earl and Gertrude (Kolbe) Witter. She grew up on the Witter Dairy Farm in Wausau with her three siblings. After graduating from Wausau Senior High School in 1943, Grace made a deal with her parents that if she won a national writing contest, she could go to college. Surprising them, she did win, and moved to Madison to study at the University of Wisconsin. Grace served as the president of the Agricultural Student Council and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics Journalism in 1947. 

 

After meeting in the photography dark room on the university campus, Grace married fellow journalist and graduate student Maurice White on June 14, 1947, in Wausau.

 

Following graduation, Grace served as the editor of Wisconsin Country Magazine, a job she lovedAfter raising her four children, Grace returned to her writing and editing profession where she served as the editor of a psychiatric magazine at UW-Madison, authored Cooperative Extension in Wisconsin: 1962-1982 and served as the editor of Woodland Management magazine.

 

Maury and Grace raised their four children on the westside of Madison. The family moved to Ithaca, New York, in the 1950s twice while Maury worked to complete his Ph.D. at Cornell University. In 1986, she and Maury spent one year living overseas when Maury worked at the Institut Pertanian Bogor in Bogor, Indonesia, while Grace supported local families.

 

Their love of nature lured them to hike, canoe, ski and camp. Beginning with a tarp attached to the car, then a pop-up camper and ending in a Road Trek van, Grace travelled extensively with her family throughout the United States. She enjoyed time at the family cabins in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and managed their various Wisconsin woodlands. Grace became a cross-country skiing legend by competing in the American Birkebeiner’s Kortelopet ski race into her 70s, often winning the Matriarch Award as the oldest female racer. 

 

Grace served as the first female president of Midvale Community Lutheran Church where she and Maury were founding members. In addition, Grace volunteered much of her time serving the homeless, supporting wildlife preservation and educating landowners on forest management in her work with the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association. She supported higher education with her family and through their scholarship fund, often saying, “A degree is a gift no one can take away.”

 

Grace fought for female rights, taught the importance of leaving a place cleaner than you found it, and shared how to present a meal with color, height and texture – while serving as a gracious hostess to the end.

 

Grace is survived by her four children; Maureen (Robert) Fox, Ronald White, Barbara White and Julia (Ulf) Jaegersberg; and her brother Clark Witter. She’s also survived by her six grandchildren; Matthew (Zachary Zube) White, Ross (Elizabeth) White, Jonathan White, and Isabella, Sofia and Nicholas Jaegersberg; and her three great grandchildren Amelia, Annika and Audrey White. Grace was preceded in death by her husband Maurice, her parents, siblings Eugene Witter and Delores Janke, and her daughter-in-law Nancy Andersen.

 

The family suggests that memorials be made to the Maurice and Grace White UW Life Sciences Communication Scholarship, UW Foundation, 1848 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53726 or to Midvale Community Lutheran Church, 4329 Tokay Boulevard, Madison, WI 53711.

 

A Celebration of Life for Grace White will be held on Friday, July 12, at the Hoyt Park Main Shelter located at 3902 Regent Street in Madison at 3pm, sharing stories at 4pm. Guests will enjoy appetizers, desserts and beverages.

 

 

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service

3610 Speedway Road, Madison

(608) 238-3434

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Grace Witter White, please visit our flower store.

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