Patricia (Pat) Gadow passed away on April 10, 2019 at Agrace Hospice Center after a brief but fierce battle with pancreatic cancer.
Pat was born on May 9, 1939 in Adams, WI to James and Evalyn (Washburn) Jesse. Soon after, the family moved to Nekoosa, WI, where Pat spent her adolescent years. She was an excellent student and received statewide recognition for her outstanding instrumental performance on the bassoon. She was also a member of the local Eastern Star organization. Following graduation from Nekoosa High School in 1957, Pat attended Mount Sinai School of Nursing in Milwaukee, graduating as an RN in 1960. In 1961, she married Jerry Natzke. Their son Peter was born in 1962, but Pat and Jerry soon went their separate ways. As a single mom, Pat worked at several nursing jobs while pursuing further education. Eventually, she received her BSN degree from UW-Madison and a Master's Degree in Public Health from U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Pat served in public health positions at the municipal, county and state level before becoming Director of Public Health for the City of Madison, a position she held for 16 years, until she retired in 2001. Her tenure there included remarkable initiatives which won national awards. Team building was her strong suit, and it showed in the enthusiasm of her staff.
Pat was also commissioned in the Army Reserve Nurse Corps, rising to the rank of full Colonel before retirement. She even learned some rudimentary Japanese during her repeated trips to Japan for joint maneuvers.
In 1992, Pat married John Gadow and joyfully accepted her role in their extended family. They enjoyed many happy times on their trawler "At Ease", including a one-year circumnavigation around the Eastern U.S. in 2003/4. With their mutual military experience, Pat and John agreed on many things, except during the annual Army/Navy football game! She was an avid (or perhaps rabid?) UW sports fan, especially basketball. And, she proudly displayed her 1957 Milwaukee Braves World Series pennant! For 24 years, Pat lent her vocal talent to the Yahara River Chorus, a Sweet Adelines barbershop choral group.
One of Pat's greatest joys was interacting with grandchildren and, recently, great-grandchildren. She was an avid (or perhaps addicted?) quilter who faithfully created beautiful quilts for graduations and births. She was an active member of her church congregation and served in several leadership roles there, as well as in their "Crazy Quilters" group. Pat was a longtime member of Madison Downtown Rotary Club. She also shared her talents as a volunteer at Agrace Hospice, Attic Angels, and several municipal commissions.
Family was central to Pat's existence, and she cherished her role as Grandma. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Jim Jesse, and her infant sister Jo Anne. She is directly survived by her husband John Gadow, her son Peter Natzke, and grandsons Joshua (Ellen) Natzke and Matthew (Katie) Natzke, great-grandchildren Lilian and Jackson, sister-in-law Sharon Jesse and her children Laura, Nicholas and Michael. She is also survived by John's four children, Steven (Susan), Daniel (Karen), David, and Margaret (David), grandchildren Andrew, Leanne, Grace, Jacquie, Eleanor and Anna.
Pat's family extends thanks to the staff at Carbone Cancer Center, Meriter and UW Hospitals, Agrace Hospice, and special friends Diane and Karri for their compassionate and professional care during Pat's final days.
A celebration of Pat's life will be held at Lake Edge United Church of Christ, 4200 Buckeye Road, Madison, on May 4, with Rev. Lex Liberatore presiding. Visitation will be from 9:30 to 11:15 am, with service to follow. Interment with military honors will follow at Roselawn Cemetery, weather permitting. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Agrace Hospice Care or UW Carbone Cancer Center. Please share a memory.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road
Madison, WI 53705
Nancy just told me today about the passing of your dear mother. I offer my humble condolences. She was a great mom to you--which I witnessed many times, as well as grandmother to your boys (and now grandkids). It seems like just last year, I saw her in the City County Building--still moving public health and public policy forward. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and hopes that her influences exude throughout the family. Love, Colleen Clark-Bernhardt"
"We remember dear Pat and John at our wedding on 12-31-81. Our thoughts, prayers, and love the extended Gadow family. Paul & Tracee Guetter in Tampa, Florida."
"Pat was an amazing mentor in my life, acting with fierce leadership while owning her femininity! I will always be grateful for her influence and hope that Pat's family will be comforted by her wide-ranging influence on friends and colleagues like me as well as our country."
"It is with great sadness that we contemplate the loss of our friend Pat, you could not wish for a finer example of a wonderful human being, She touched so many in all that She gave of herself, setting an example to all. We lose so much in her passing but She as always had the grace to leave Us all with wonderful memories which we will treasure forever She will be loved always.
Mark & Lin Percival Worcester England "
"What an amazing lady! I only knew her for a fraction of her incredibly full life, but I treasure all the songs and friendship we shared as "singing sisters" in YRC. I will remember her kind and caring nature - On my desk at work is an angel ornament - she gave each chorus member one of these as outgoing chorus president some years ago - mine says, "Live well, laugh often, love much". Those words have uplifted me on many days when I've been feeling down, and I have a feeling this is the effect she had on the many lives she touched. I'll miss you, Pat."
"What a beautiful, talented and caring woman! The obituary is packed with the many contribtuions she made to family and others. I will miss her in our writing group at Capitol Lakes. Marge Engelman"