Corry, Joseph J. "Joe"

Joseph “Joe” Corry passed away April 10, 2023. He was born October 5th, 1932, in Madison, and grew up in South Milwaukee.

He received his undergraduate degree at Holy Cross College in Worcester MA. He served in the Navy as a 2nd Lieutenant at the end of the Korean War, stationed on an LST in Japan. He returned to Madison in 1957 to pursue his master’s degree in East Asian Studies. He completed his masters while teaching at Williston Academy in East Hampton, MA and returned to Madison in 1963 to begin work in the Foreign Student and Faculty office. After a 3-month stint training one of the first groups of Peace Corps volunteers headed to Kenya, he became interested in the country himself and accepted a position with the Ford Foundation in Nairobi. For two years he assisted in the transition from British to Kenyan administration of the University of Nairobi, while also doing research for his PhD in East African History. Upon returning to Madison, he took up his longtime role in the UW administration serving in many capacities, chairing and coordinating several committees governing academic admissions, financial aid and continuing education. Ultimately, he was appointed Associate Vice Chancellor by Chancellor Irving Shain. In 1997 Joe received the Academic Staff Excellence Award for outstanding work in leadership and public service. Outreach was his forte. A fixture of Bascom Hall, he knew everyone, and everyone knew him.

Although he officially retired in 1998, he was not yet done. From 1999 to 2006 he served as acting Executive Director of the University Retirement Association.

Joe was an active member of the Wisconsin Coalition of Annuitants. He was instrumental in changing the fixed retirement account to the core version.

In his free time, he was an avid gardener, tennis and softball player, as well as a rail trail and railroad enthusiast. A firm believer in giving back, he also volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul food pantry.

He is predeceased by his parents, William and Cecilia Corry; his sister, Mary Jane Corry; as well as his wife, Barbara Weston Corry.

He is survived by six children, three from each of his Barbaras: Ellen Corry, Laura (Todd Miller) Burbaugh, Jennifer Corry, Andrew (Jenny Stampe) Caddock, Emily (Tim) Schwenker and Christopher (Kimberly Galarza) Caddock. They are bereft of their North Star. He was patience and kindness personified and his death leaves an unfillable void.

A private family service will be held at a later date.

Mitchell, Gary D.

Gary D. Mitchell passed away at Agrace Hospice in Madison, WI, on February 8, 2023, after a long illness. He was born February 29, 1952, in Beloit, Wisconsin to Kenneth and Delores (Behm) Mitchell. He is survived by his children; Lars Ecklund-Mitchell and Havah Cohn-Mitchell, his siblings Karen Hinickle, Kathy Mitchell, David Mitchell (Elizabeth), Judy Smith, and Sue Connor (Frank), his ex-wives Karen Ecklund and Shari Cohn, cousins and nephews. Gary was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Dianne Mitchell and brother Robert Mitchell.

Gary worked for many years at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and served as President of Local Union 2412 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), was a dedicated Union Steward, served as AFSCME International Vice President, and served as President of Subchapter 52 and President of the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans (WIARA). He was a maker of good trouble. Gary also volunteered with many campaigns for Democratic and Progressive candidates.

Gary was also a long time member of the Wisconsin Coalition of Annuitants.

A big-hearted and passionate man, Gary was always willing to get in the trenches in our efforts for social and economic justice. Gary is remembered fondly by family members, relatives far and wide, former classmates and co-workers, union colleagues, and many Madison friends and neighbors.

Blair Testin Award

Until his retirement, Blair Testin was a legislative staff person who staffed the Joint Survey Committee on Retirement Systems (JSCRS) and the Director of the Retirement Research Committee (RRC). The JSCRS is composed of an equal number of legislators from each house of the Legislature and represents both political parties.

Blair Testin was probably the most knowledgeable authority on public retirement systems in the nation. He gathered information on over 80 public pension systems across the country and compiled the data for comparative purposes. His report was considered the "gold standard" by pension officials and policymakers. As a result, other public pension systems sought out his expertise.

During the late 1980s and into 1991, when the Coalition was struggling to find common ground and put together an organization to represent retirees within the Wisconsin Retirement System, Blair Testin was always available and extraordinarily helpful with his expertise and inside knowledge. Having ready access to a real insider gave the Coalition a view not only of what really existed but what was on track and what was likely be going on in the legislature with respect to the WRS. Even after his retirement Blair Testin was our confidence and advisor.

Because Blair was so very helpful, it was decided to present an annual award to an individual or to persons deemed exceptionally significant in the maintenance, operation or enhancement of the Wisconsin Retirement System

Blair Testin Award Recipients
1998 Jane Elmer 1999
2000 2001 Eugene Lehrman
2002 2003
2004 Tom Rausch 2005 Matt Pommer
2006 Eric Stanchfield 2007 Dave Mills
2008 William Ford 2009 Carol and Ed Kehl
2010 James Gruentzel 2011 James Senty
2012 Keith Bozarth
Dave Stella
2013 Dwayne Rohweder
James Skiles
2014 Mel Sensenbrenner
Steve Werner
2015 Omer R. Jones
2016 Patricia Lipton 2017
2018 Michael Williamson 2019 James Palmer
2021 Gary Gates
2022 John Maydak
Dick Kratz

WCOA letter to Joint Committee on Finance regarding Self Insurance proposal.

Segal Report Summary, 50 pages

Coalition of Annuitants Informational brochure.