Figures From Across Political Spectrum Gather To Remember Former Wisconsin Governor

Pat Lucey Died On May 10 At Age 96


A visitation was held on Sunday in the village of Shorewood for former Wisconsin Gov. Patrick Lucey, who died on May 10 at the age of 96.

Outside a funeral home, figures from various parts of the political spectrum shared stories of the state’s 38th chief executive. Former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl said he was grateful that in the 1970s, Lucey made him the state chairman of the Democratic Party. Kohl said Lucey was a Democrat who got things done.

“He cared about what mattered: results,” said Kohl. “It was probably because of his business background. In business, it matters what you get done, not what you say.”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Bill Kraus served as the communications director for Republican Gov. Lee Dreyfus, who became governor a few years after Lucey stepped down from the office to become ambassador to Mexico. Kraus says Lucey was a friendly adversary.

“I consider myself his third-favorite Republican,” said Kraus. “He told me Jack Olson was his favorite one, because he was the only Republican he could beat.”

Kraus says Lucey and Dreyfus were also friends. Dreyfus, as chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, got Lucey a key vote for the UW System merger bill that was one of the governor’s top accomplishments.

Lucey’s former Lt. Gov. Martin Schreiber, who became governor when Lucey stepped down, explained why Lucey stepped away from the Democratic Party in 1980 to be John Anderson’s running mate in their Independent bid for the White House: “When Pat had a feeling of something needing to be changed, he went ahead and did it.”

Schreiber also praised Lucey’s courage in opposing the Vietnam War.

Funeral services were held on Monday morning at a church in Milwaukee.