MADISON - Kathryn Ann "Kay" Strangman was born Oct. 13, 1938, in Elmhurst, Ill., the oldest daughter of Frank and Anna Besic. She graduated from York High School, Elmhurst, Ill., in 1956 near the top of her class. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in January 1960, with a double major in Mathematics and Math Education.
During her career she taught Math at every level from junior high to the University level. In 1964, while teaching at her high school alma mater, she earned a master's degree in Mathematics from Illinois Institute of Technology and then began teaching at the college level, first at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Ill., and then at Edgewood College, Madison. She ended her teaching career at UW-Madison, retiring as a Senior Lecturer Emerita in 2002. In addition to her classroom teaching she loved working with individual students and tutored many high school students in her home. In the early 1980's she started her own consulting business and taught many members of the Madison community how to use personal computers in their homes and businesses.
Throughout her life she had an abiding love for music. Piano lessons from her mother at age 5, eventually led to organ lessons as a college freshman. While a student at UW she assisted the music director at Calvary Lutheran Chapel with the service playing. She met her husband, Eugene, at Calvary and they were married there Jan. 24, 1960. While her husband was a graduate student at the University of Chicago she continued her organ studies with the Rockefeller Chapel organist. After her move back to Madison in 1967, she assisted the music directors of Bethel Lutheran Church with service playing and playing for weddings and funerals for the next 45 years. She gave organ recitals throughout her career including one broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio. She belonged to the Euterpe Music Club and played regularly for their meetings. Throughout her life she sang in church, school and community choirs and at the time of her death she was a member of the Bethel Lutheran Church Choir.
In addition to her talents as a teacher and musician she was an athlete and lover of the outdoors. She won numerous medals in competitive table tennis as a teenager in the Chicago area. She was an avid downhill skier. At age 35 she took up ice dancing. She loved to hike, bike, waterski, swim and garden. Her family was very important to her and much of her activity involved being with family pursuing one or another of these outdoor activities. She died Feb. 16, 2016, while skiing with her family at Lake Tahoe, Calif.
She is survived by her husband, Eugene; her son, Gary (Nicole); three grandsons, Alec, Leo and Conall; her sister, Hallie (Bill) Wendorff; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Walter and Sharon Strangman; four nieces, two nephews and many relatives and friends. She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend. She will be sorely missed.
A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at BETHEL LUTHERAN CHURCH, 312 Wisconsin Ave., Madison, Wis., on Saturday, April 2, 2016. Visitation is at the church at 9:30 a.m.; at 10:30, a half hour of some of her favorite organ selections, with the service following at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials to the Bethel Organ Fund, Bethel Horizons Campership Fund, Bethel Media Ministry or Second Harvest Food Bank.