MADISON—Nadine Gratz, age 74, of Madison, passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, at Agrace HospiceCare. She was born on Jan. 31, 1944, in Waukesha, the daughter of T. Gordon and Agnes Amphlett. Nadine graduated from Madison West High in 1962 and UW-River Falls in 1966. She married Samuel Gratz on June 26, 1966, at Bethany United Methodist Church, Madison.
Nadine turned a life with some early and ongoing health challenges into a fulfilling and meaningful 74 years. With her father, a Methodist minister, her family moved frequently during her youth following her father’s church assignments in North Prairie, Burlington and Lake Geneva. The family finally moved to Madison in the mid-50s to be near Nadine during her lengthy stay at UW Hospital for rheumatic fever. For many years thereafter, she was to avoid strenuous activity. Yet, she eventually had a full 40+ year professional career, barely interrupted for the birth of her two children. She also partnered with husband, Sam, in more than two decades in the restaurant business. Nadine graduated from UW-River Falls in 1966, the year she and Sam married.
In the early years, she worked as a job placement counselor, in public and alumnae relations for the University of North Dakota Medical School, and later in communications and public relations for the Grand Forks, North Dakota school system. In 1977, Nadine and Sam returned to Madison, where she began her career as a legislative aide. Notably she had the good fortune to work earlier in the careers of legislators Walter Kunicki, Tom Barrett, and Jerry Klezcka. She also spent a dozen or so years as a lobbyist, most of the time with the Wisconsin Hospital Association.
Nadine was a woman of many talents and interests. She worked a time for noted Madison firm, Wood Communications, and then later as executive director for the Festival Choir of Madison. Nadine finished her career as an aide to State Senator Judy Robson of Beloit. Especially with Judy, she took a great interest in health care issues.
After her retirement in 2011, Nadine kept busy pursuing a number of rewarding volunteer interest. She volunteered at the First United Methodist Food Pantry and served as a volunteer usher at the Madison Overture Center. Nadine’s interest in the Arts also took her to serve for several years on the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, appointed by County Executive Joe Parisi. A couple of examples of Nadine’s varied interests and talents come to mind. In 1972, working with a loose knit group of Democratic, progressive women, they succeeded in getting a delegate for a first ballot vote at the Democratic National Convention for Shirley Chisholm for President. Nadine always had a good mind for organization, and a passion for her ideals.
Nadine was also a lifetime avid reader. For the last nearly 30 years, she belonged to a book group of ‘Women Reading Women’. She always found the monthly discussion of good literature most challenging and rewarding. In her 50’s and into her 60’s, Nadine developed an interest for rowing, spending several years rowing and competing with the Mendota Rowing Club. Her smaller frame didn’t prevent her from vigorous activity. This was quite a contrast from the young girl that could not participate in any physical activities for concern about her weak heart.
Nadine is survived by her husband, Samuel; son, Joel (Michelle Stocker) Gratz; daughter, Laura (Brian) Stichter; brother, Don (Jan Johnson) Amphlett; two nephews, Sean and Eric; and two nieces, Allison and Katy. She was preceded in death by her parents; and sister, Marian (Robert) Breyer.
A Remembrance Gathering will be held at OVERTURE CENTER-CAPITOL THEATER LOBBY, 201 State St., Madison, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. There will be a period of memory sharing at 5:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the organization of your choice. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.