Cover photo for William (Bill) Seward Stroud's Obituary
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William (Bill) Seward Stroud

January 27, 1945 — March 25, 2024


William (Bill) Seward Stroud, age 79, died peacefully on March 25th, 2024, in Madison, WI, after giving his family a week to say goodbye. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Margaret Jane Coleman Stroud and Seward Ritchey Stroud. He is survived by his wife of 45 years Elaine Stroud; four siblings, Robert (Mary) Stroud, Gib (Liz) Stroud, Ritchey (Maria) Stroud, and Nancy (Charles) Carpenter; three children, Nick (Kate) Stroud, Alex (Hilary) Stroud, and Brett (Jill Miller) Stroud; and five grandchildren, Knowl, Mae, Silas, Sloane, and Amelia. 


Bill naturally connected with people without even trying. The twinkle in his eye and the mischief in his smile endeared him to family, friends, coworkers at WPS, and strangers alike. Along with his sharp wit and insight, he was humble and authentic—the kind of person who tuned in to the needs of others and made them smile. His personality was infectious; when you met him you remembered him. Above all, Bill cherished his family, and his love for his siblings, siblings-in-law, and their partners was unwavering. He doted on his grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and most recently, their children. Through his actions, he communicated his love and support, always willing to lend an ear or make goofy animal noises. 


During his childhood he spent countless hours on and around Lake Mendota, lifeguarding and water skiing in the summer, and playing hockey in the winter. Bill graduated from Madison East High School in 1963 before attending Carleton College and UW-Madison. He was drafted into the Army in the Fall of 1968 and served a year-long tour in Vietnam, being honorably discharged in March of 1970. 


A couple years after marrying Elaine in 1978, Bill began one of his longest endeavors—that of a parent. During that time, you were likely to find Bill doing something active outdoors: teaching kids to ice skate, canoeing on Razorback Lake or in the Paddle and Portage, or coaching and playing soccer. Bill loved sharing adventures and outdoor pursuits with others. This joy extended to his non-human friends too, as the local chipmunks, birds, and plants can surely attest. 


Being part of a large family meant that when the family gathered at his parents’ house every summer Sunday, there was always a steady stream of people needing to learn to water ski or help put in the pier. Bill generously volunteered his time and spirit not just for family, but for many others. Over the years, he assisted with prescribed burns to restore prairies, led a local youth soccer club, and volunteered at an elementary school. He had a lasting impact on many individuals and institutions in the Madison area by giving of himself and living in the same manner, unlimited.


Our lives will be quieter without Bill, but the memories and energy of his life and loves will bring great joy to many for years to come. Things you can do to honor Bill’s spirit include spending time with family, making a stranger a friend, appreciating the beauty of nature, hand feeding chipmunks, traveling to make memories, and smiling out of pure joy in the world.


Contributions in Bill’s honor can be made to Olbrich Botanical Gardens, the International Crane Foundation, or The Prairie Enthusiasts . A celebration of life will be held later this summer.


Please share your memories at

Cress Center

6021 University Ave. Madison

(608) 238-8406


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