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MADISON—Dolph “Jeffery” Stanley known to many as the “Hamburger King,” died at the age of 77, on Jan. 5, 2019 surrounded by family. He appeared on the planet Feb. 11,1941, born to legendary Wisconsin basketball coach Dolph Stanley and Laura Jane Dial of Taylorville Ill. Jeff was a larger than life character and had the ability to befriend most anyone he met in life. He grew up in Beloit, and moved to Des Moines, Iowa for his final high school years, where his father was the athletic director at Drake University. He earned a degree at Parsons College, which he insisted must have been the inspiration for the movie “Animal House.”

He eventually landed in Madison, where he started a small restaurant named Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry on Monroe St. in 1974. The “World Hamburger Headquarters” was born, and many have enjoyed the burgers and fare for decades. He has been featured on the cover of “Madison Magazine,” and written about in “USA Today” and “The New York Times.”

Jeff was a layman’s philosopher, always commenting on the humorous yet sometimes sad absurdities of life. His comedic wit was in a class by itself, and he could always lighten the pulse of the universe and those around him through his spirited banter. Ultimately, he seemed to carry a deep sense and depth of the mystery and meaning of life.

He cared about his community and gave generously to foster care. He often lamented about the challenges that small businesses face. He was passionate about art and surrounded himself with an eclectic collection of work. He was also an avid sports fan and film buff. He had a posse of beloved friends, there being too many to list. He adored his kids, and his final wish was to travel cross country on a train with them. The goal was attained. In the end all he knew was...Love.

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He is survived by his sister, Jody (Michael) Haley; his children, Laura “Lisa” (Jeff) Royal, Jane (Kelly) Faber, Jefferson Stanley, Eli (Lupe) Stanley, Rachael (Ryan) Stanley Zerwer; as well as eight grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life service will be held among family and friends. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: Partners in Foster Care, 2706 Badger Lane, Madison WI 53713, or an animal shelter of your choice. Please share your memories at

Cress Center

Funeral and Cremation Service

6021 University Ave., Madison

(608) 238-8406

the life of: Stanley, Dolph "Jeffery"
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