MADISON - Marcus George Singer, age 90, died Feb. 21, 2016, in Madison, Wis., where he lived, wrote and taught for ~65 years. Though his power of mind and force of will made him seem invincible, his body gave out. His brilliance, wit, irascibility, generosity and wisdom are missed.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years, Blanche Ladenson Singer; his two daughters, Karen Singer of Philadelphia, Pa., Debra Singer of Oakland, Calif; and grandson, Isaac Adlowitz of Philadelphia. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Marjorie Blau and Grace Cane Mason.
A memorial service will be held at THE GRAND HALL, CAPITOL LAKES, 333 W. Main St., Madison, WI 53703, on Sunday, April 17, 2016, - 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Official program to begin at 5:30 p.m. - reception to follow.
Mark was an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he taught 1952-92. He served as Chair during the Vietnam War years, 1963-68. A great teacher and a prolific writer, his work is known in philosophical circles around the world. His most well known book is Generalization in Ethics, first published in 1962. (For more about his voluminous professional work, see Wikipedia.) He taught that moral philosophy must deal with the "whole life, how one ought to live his own life", that the task of moral philosophers is to help solve the problems of society, not using political methods, but through reason, for the greater good. He taught people how to think for themselves.
MGS was born in New York City on Jan. 4, 1926, to Esther Kobre Singer and David Singer. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserves in 1943 at age 17 to fight fascism and served as an Aerial Engineer in the U.S. Army Air Force 1944-45. Living through that time of evil profoundly influenced his thinking and actions.
He is memorable in many ways. Perpetually curious, he had a sardonic sense of humor and a very strong sense of right and wrong. He was a lifelong supporter of many progressive causes encompassing wildlife and environmental preservation, civil and indigenous rights, free thought and speech, women's rights. Yet he was close friends with others of differing political views. Mark loved a good argument as much as he loved a good joke, and he could switch from one to the other with mercurial speed.
He loved classical music and jazz, the Marx Brothers, logic games, being with children, and collecting and reading books on an unusual breadth of topics and in unbelievable quantities. In earlier days, he was a very good tennis player, frequently surprising and outwitting younger opponents. He was a great story teller, and we are collecting stories and memories about him as a way to celebrate his life.
Contributions in his memory may be sent to: The Capitol Lakes Foundation, 333 W. Main St., Madison, WI 53703 ATTN: Elaine Glowacki; The American Civil Liberties Union at www.aclu.org; or the Natural Resources Defense Council at www.nrdc.org/issues.
Thank you to Andrea White, Janie R. of CL Terraces, Fatou Ceesay and others of Cairasu Homecare, Sheryl Castillo (Madison Parent Care), Agrace Hospice and others in caring for him.