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John E. Janty (72) of Madison and Elkhart Lake passed away unexpectedly on June 17, 2023, at SSM St Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac with his wife and son at his side. John, born on February 21, 1951, in Sheboygan and raised in Elkhart Lake, was the middle child and only son of Norbert and Helen (Theobald) Janty. John spent idyllic childhood summers fishing off piers, swimming in Elkhart Lake, delivering newspapers, and playing with friends in the neighborhood. As a toddler, he attended the last road race held through the streets of Elkhart Lake pushed along in his stroller by his grandmother. As a teenager, he ran press releases by motorcycle from the Road America Track into the village where track updates were transmitted. John attended Elkhart Lake Public Schools where he excelled at mathematics and golf and proudly played tuba in the band.
John graduated in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Oshkosh State University (now UW Oshkosh). He taught middle school mathematics in Arlington Heights, IL for three years, until moving to Madison for a mathematics position with the Waunakee Community School District in 1976. In 1983 he became District Mathematics Coordinator. He was also the Waunakee High School boys golf coach for 18 years.
John firmly believed that every student could learn mathematics, including those who struggled to master understanding. Thus, he taught a five-credit University of Wisconsin calculus course to Waunakee seniors, while also assigning himself the most basic mathematics courses, challenging himself to teach for understanding regardless of specific course level.
John retired from Waunakee High School in 2008, and subsequently joined a group of educators who donated countless volunteer hours to birth the Wisconsin Mathematics Education Foundation (WMEF). The mission of WMEF is to support excellence in mathematics education for students and teachers in Wisconsin. Scholarships, grants, and professional development opportunities are funded annually. John served as the WMEF Chairperson from 2008 – 2021 and nurtured it from a struggling foundation initiated during an economic recession into the viable organization it is today. It was truly his labor of love.
John served as President of the Wisconsin Mathematics Council (WMC) from 1998 – 1999, represented Wisconsin on the US Governors’ Commission of the States (invited by Bill Clinton), and as educator representative on the Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship Council (Tommy Thompson appointee). This role included a trip to Germany with Wisconsin legislators to learn from youth apprenticeship programs in that country. In 1994 John received the WMC Distinguished Mathematics Educator Award.
John is survived by his wife of 49 years, Susan (Stutz), his son Brian (Kimberly Green) and their son Sebastian of Chicago. Brother-in-law, Ken Casper, also survives him. Additionally, his Stutz family siblings survive John: Michael, Richard (Anne), Gerald “Jay” Jr. (Peggy), and Kathryn Murray (Mark), as well as nieces, nephews, and friends. John was preceded in death by his parents and sisters Pauline Janty and Mary Casper.
In addition to being a regular at Road America, John enjoyed all things sports car racing, early morning paddles on Elkhart Lake in his wooden strip canoe with his wife and favorite canoeing partner, woodworking, bicycling, watching or attending Badger sporting events and of course driving his Porsche. He became a hummingbird fan during the pandemic, spending hours watching them at the feeder while sitting on the porch with his pandemic partner. He enjoyed golfing including caddying for his son, German anything, and thoughtful conversation. Most recently he especially loved spending time with his new grandson, Sebastian.
A celebration of John’s life is planned for Saturday, August 12, 2023 from 11:30 to 3:30 with a service at noon at Holy Wisdom Monastery, 4200 County Hwy M in Middleton.