MADISON—Kathleen Hammond Day died in the late evening of Feb. 2, 2018, at age 92. Born in Ashton, Idaho, the fifth of seven children, she attended public schools, graduated from the University of Idaho and earned an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana, Missoula. Her early career was as a teacher in high schools. While with the Idaho Department of Education, Boise, she met Sam Day, a reporter with the Associated Press. They married and moved to Lewiston, Idaho before returning to Boise.
While raising three children in Boise in the early 1970s, Kathleen ran twice for elected office, using the slogan: “A freshness of spirit and a willingness to work.” She ultimately lost campaigns for both State Representative and State Senate, each time by a remarkably narrow margin. Her campaigns paved the way for future Democratic candidates to win seats in a historically Republican district and state.
The family left Idaho when Sam’s career took him to the University of Chicago (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) and then to the Progressive Magazine in Wisconsin. Kathleen later retired from her position with the Legislative Hotline, a service of the Wisconsin Legislature that she developed and managed for 15 years. Much of her retirement was spent caring for her granddaughters and traveling abroad with her sister, Constance, with whom she remained very close. She and her family have long been residents of Madison, having moved here in 1978.
Kathleen will be remembered as a giver and a woman fiercely devoted to her family, to whom she passed on a love of music, literature, politics, and football. She was interested in people, often inviting door-to-door canvassers and missionaries into her home, if only to bring them in from the cold for a few minutes of coffee and conversation, but she always retained a strong sense of her own values. Kathleen was deeply compassionate yet practical. She had the unique ability to take people wholeheartedly as they were.
Kathleen is survived by three sons, Philip and Josh (Patti Coffey), Madison, and Sam III, Chicago. Her sister, Constance Hammond, lives in Annapolis, Md. She also leaves six granddaughters, Kathleen (Karl Otto) in Chicago, Emmanuelle and Anne-Sophie in Paris, France, Pauline in Hong Kong, Taylor in Minneapolis, and Frankie in Asheville, N.C. Kathleen also has a great-granddaughter, Natalie Otto, and seven nieces and eight nephews.
The family thanks Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care for their excellent support of Kathleen, who died peacefully in her home surrounded by her children. A memorial service will be held in Kathleen’s West Side home on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, at 3 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Madison Public Library Foundation, www.mplfoundation.org.