Jean Potter Stewart, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, passed away peacefully at her residence Attic Angel Place in Middleton, Wisconsin on July 19, 2023. She was 99 years old. She grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio and later moved to Wisconsin where she graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a degree in Home Economics in 1946. It was there she met her husband Warren during the freshman dance at the Memorial Union. They were married on May 24, 1947. They had 6 children, 19 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. Jean lived in Madison’s Nakoma neighborhood for 61 years (1956-2017), where she and Warren raised their family.
Jean was known for her natural leadership ability. She served as Alder of the Madison City Council for 16 years (1977-1993), the longest of any woman at the time. Her constituency included the areas of Nakoma, Dunn's Marsh, Allied Drive, and Midvale. Jean was elected by her peers on the Council to serve as President Pro Tem from 1984-1985. She was a conservative force on the Council, but actively pursued environmental issues, promoting the strictest version of the Erosion and Runoff Control Ordinance to protect Madison Lakes. She worked successfully to keep admission free at Henry Vilas Zoo and to route the Beltline expansion away from the Yahara River marsh. She was responsible for creating a wildlife conservancy area at the edge of Dunn's Marsh. She served on the Commission on the Environment, the Board of Public Works, the Energy Services Commission, and the Parks Commission.
Other notable positions Jean held were President of Nakoma League (1972-1973) and President of University League. She was a charter member of Heritage Congregational Church where she served a term as Moderator and was on the Board of Trustees.
She greatly supported her husband Warren, McFarland-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Chemical Engineering at UW-Madison. Together they traveled all over the world where Warren taught and lectured at universities and conferences.
Jean is survived by five children: Marilyn (Jim) Weaver, David, Carol (David) Ray, Margaret (Kurt) Straus, Mary Jean (Bruce) Glasgow; 19 grandchildren: Katherine (Matt) Calabro, Thomas (Gen), and Rebecca Weaver, Jenny Stewart, Joanna (Jonathan) Potter, Andrea (Robert) Etter, Rachel (Van) King, Daniel Ray, Susanna (Nolan) Glanzer, and Abigail (Levi) Smith, Gretchen (Devon) Montgomery, Eric (Colby), Madeline, and Zachary (Jasmine) Straus, Jonathan, Caroline, Andrew, Jeffrey, and Julianne Glasgow; 9 great grandchildren: Connor and Spencer Calabro, Quentin, Elena, and Colin Potter, Viktor Smith, Clara Straus, Sloan and Margot Montgomery.
She was preceded in death by her husband Warren and her son Douglas.
Visitation will be on Wednesday, July 26, 2023 from 3 to 5 pm at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Rd, Madison, WI. The funeral service will be at 11 am, Thursday, July 27, 2023 at Cress Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Professor Warren E. Stewart Memorial Scholarship Fund (132214536) online at supportuw.org or mail to University of Wisconsin Foundation, US Bank Lockbox, Box 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807.
We wish to thank the staff at UW Hospital, Agrace Hospice, and especially at Attic Angel Place, for their skillful and compassionate care in the final weeks of Jean’s life.