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John Liddell Sprague (Jack), 84 years old, crossed to his eternal reward in the early morning of April 1st, 2022, unexpectedly from complications from Alzheimer’s disease shortly after acute onset of the stomach flu. Jack was born on March 23rd, 1938, in Massillon, Ohio, to Dr. John T. Sprague and Emily Liddell Sprague. His family moved to Madison, WI when Jack was 2 years old. He attended Lakewood Elementary School in Madison, WI for half of 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 7th and 8th grades and he went to Edgewood Elementary for 3-6th grades. His childhood home was on Paget Drive in Fullers Woods, just two doors down from his best friend’s house: Tom Dean. They spent many hours at the Fuller’s Woods public pier on Lake Mendota. He played baseball at Burrows Park. He fished the Yahara River and ice skated at Tenney Park. He went to Wisconsin High School and graduated in 1956. He was on the football, basketball, and track teams. His family eventually moved to Sherman Ave. on Lake Mendota when he was in college.
He first attended Ohio University and initially was studying pre-med zoology. He was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He later transferred to UW Madison and changed his majors to Economics and Business. In the summer of 1959, after his sophomore year, he met his future wife, Mary Beckwith, at Rennebohm’s drug store on the corner of State and Lake St. Jack was the waterfront director at Camp Wakanda in Madison where they had their second date that sealed their fate! Around the same time, Jack served in the Army National Guard Red Arrow Division- 13th evac hospital as a medic. It was a 6th month program of active duty including 2 weeks of “summer camp” for the following 6 years.
Jack married Mary Beckwith on June 10th, 1961. He always said it was the best day of his life. Mary also attended UW Madison and was completing a degree in Speech Therapy. Their first home was on Prospect Pl. where Randy (1963) was born. Their second home was on Owen Rd. where Cari (1965) was born. In 1961, Jack joined the National Guardian Life and he and Mary moved to Rockford, IL. in late 1965 so Jack could start a new insurance agency. The agency was very successful, and they were blessed with one more child, Cami (1967). Jack and Mary missed living in Madison, so they moved their family back to Madison in 1970. Jack became a Real Estate Broker and went into the real estate business with his brother-in-law Richard Munz. Jack left the Munz Corporation to start his own agency, “The Sprague Company” where he and Mary managed residential income property for their clients. Jack always said: “They managed other people’s headaches.” Jack and Mary sold the business around 2003 and retired at age 65. Or so they thought! With the help from Mary, Jack continued his management skills managing his own properties under the new name Maritime Apartments. The progression of his Alzheimer’s disease forced him to turn the management over to a property management company in 2019. Because of his Alzheimer’s disease, Jack and Mary moved several times in the few years that followed and ended up settling at Attic Angels, a LTC facility in Middleton.
Jack and Mary indulged themselves in their two favorite past times in Madison: boating and UW Badger Football. They had season tickets for the Badger Football home games since 1961. They attended the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA on Jan. 1, 1994. Jack and Mary enjoyed many years of boating with their children and friends. Their first boat was a 15 ft. Crestliner, where Jack, an accomplished water-skier, taught their children to water ski. After several more boats, they eventually traded up to a 30 ft. Sea Ray called “The Crackerjack” which had a small galley, salon, head, and 2 sleeping compartments. Jack was immensely proud of this boat and kept it in mint condition. Jack and Mary spent many happy hours on the beautiful upper Mississippi and visited every light house by boat on Lake Michigan. They also bare boated with friends in the British Virgin Islands. The last big boat trip they took with friends was across Lake Erie to the North Channel. They bought a condo in Naples, FL, and for the next 25 years or so they drove down yearly, always stopping on the way in Chattanooga, TN to visit cousin Bob and Cynthia. Jack was a member of the Madison Board of Realtors, The Wisconsin Board of Realtors, the Madison Sail and Power Squadron, and Gyro International.
Jack is survived by his wife Mary; beloved children, John R. Sprague “Randy”, Caryl A. Sprague “Cari”, and Cami (Pat) Reid; three precious grandchildren, Conner Funnell, Cayla Funnell, and Adam Sprague; his cousin Bob (Cynthia) Thomas, his siter-in-law Natalie Beckwith; niece and nephews, John Munz, Tom (Shawn) Munz, Sherry Boyle, Bill (Kathy) Munz, Steve (DeAnn) Munz, Steve (Susan) Beckwith, John (Peg) Beckwith, David (Carolyn) Beckwith; and many great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. John T. Sprague and Emily L. Sprague, his nephew Robert Munz, great niece Ashley Munz, his niece-in-law Jessie Munz, his sister Patricia Ann Best, his brother-in-law David E. Beckwith, his nephew-in-law Steve Boyle, and his grandson Kyle Forti.
A “Celebration of Life” will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 602 Everglade Dr. Madison, WI 53717 at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 22, 2022, preceded by an informal visitation at 10 a.m. There will be a luncheon after the Mass.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes that any memorials in Jack’s name be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association (https://www.alz.org) or to the Red Cross supporting the refugees in Ukraine. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” ECCLESIASTES 3:1
Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com
6021 University Ave. Madison
6021 University Ave. Madison
Friday, April 22, 2022
10:00 - 11:00am (Central time)
Friday, April 22, 2022
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