MADISON - Morton Rothstein, Ph.D., passed away at Oakwood West - Hebron after an extended illness. A loving husband, dedicated father and grandfather, and a distinguished scholar, he lived a full and rich life that spanned an incredible array of circumstances and experiences.
He was born on Jan. 8, 1926, in Omaha, Neb. As the oldest child in his family, he largely raised his brother Samuel and sister Elaine through the Great Depression. He graduated from Camden High School in Camden, N.J., in 1942 and worked in the Brooklyn Ship Yards during World War II. He cultivated a lifelong love of the arts and, in particular, a passion for Jazz. Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lena Horne were among his favorites. In 1948, he met Frances Irene Lustig in Brooklyn, N.Y. They married in 1950 and remained happily so for the rest of his life.
In 1952 he enrolled in Brooklyn College and earned his B.A. from that institution in 1954. From 1954 to 1958 he was a graduate student in the Department of History at Cornell University. He earned his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1960. He was an instructor in history at the University of Delaware from 1958 to 1961. In 1962 he moved to Madison, Wis., where he was a professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin until 1984. He served as chairman of the department from 1969 to 1972, providing steady leadership during those tumultuous years.
In 1984 he left the UW for the University of California-Davis, where he was a professor in the Department of History and served as the editor of the Journal of Agricultural History. He served twice as the head of the National Endowment for the Humanities during his career. In 1996 he retired from UC-Davis and returned to Madison, his true home.
He fathered, raised, and mentored three loving sons, Laurence Rothstein of Madison, Eric Rothstein of Chicago, Ill., and David Rothstein of Boulder, Colo. Morton is survived by his siblings, Samuel and Elaine; wife, Frances; and all three sons.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Steven Barczi of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, Department of Medicine for his continuing care. They also wish to thank the dedicated staff at Oakwood West - Hebron for their excellent care and compassion.
Cress Funeral and Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
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