Madison - Howard E. Thompson, 84, passed away on Jan. 23, 2019. He was born the second son to Leonard and Hulda Thompson in West Allis on July 30, 1934. Howard graduated from Nathan Hale High School in 1952, attended Carroll College in Waukesha for one year and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he completed his B.S. degree in mathematics in 1956 and then a M.S. in mathematics in 1958. 

Between 1957 and 1961, Howard was a mathematician at A. O. Smith Corporation, where he used the IBM 705 main-frame computer to solve various engineering and business problems. Among his projects was a computer program used to translate mathematical language into machine language of the IBM 705. The translator was the state of the art for the IBM 705 and was used extensively throughout the world.

In 1961 Howard moved his family, including wife Judy and two children, Linda and Karen, to Eagle Heights at the UW and he enrolled in the Ph.D. program in what was then the School of Commerce (now the Wisconsin School of Business). He obtained his Ph.D. in 1964 and went on to become a professor in the School. In 1975 he was named Mary Rennebohm Professor, the School’s first named professorship. He held the Kuechenmeister-Bascom Professorship from 1985 until he retired in 2000. He was a member of Pi Mu Epsilon (Mathematics), Beta Gamma Sigma (Business), Alpha Iota Delta (Decision Science) and Phi Kappa Phi (Scholastic) Honorary fraternities. 

Howard was the author of seven books and research monographs during his academic career. He published 75 research articles in leading scholarly journals, was on the editorial boards of seven finance journals and reviewed articles for 12 journals, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. After retirement, his focused turned to writing biographies of friends and relatives for which he diligently researched historical documents from sources such as Wisconsin Historical Society’s library and archives. 

Howard served as a consultant to various organizations such as The U.S. Energy Information Administration, The World Bank, The American Public Power Association, Wisconsin Public Utilities Commission and the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa Indians. He served as the leading witness for the State of Wisconsin in the United States, et al vs. Reserve Mining et al. In addition, he served as an expert witness for several public utility rate setting commissions. 

During his long career at the UW, 31 students completed Ph.D. dissertations under his supervision. They were hired for faculty positions at top academic institutions and went on to become deans of leading business schools and highly successful financiers. He loved teaching and taught 19 different courses in the School. He also participated extensively in the administration of the School, serving on the Subcommittee of the Executive Committee for 21 years and chairman for six. He also served as the chair of the Department of Finance for many years.

Howard was a longtime member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Madison, and onetime Chairman of the Board of Ruling Elders. Howard was a member of the Madison Sports Hall of Fame Club, the Gyro Club of Madison and the Restless Weasels of Lac du Flambeau. 

Howard loved Minocqua and enjoyed 47 summers relaxing at the lake with family. He and Judy were world travelers, recently taking trips to Iran and India. For 55 years, Howard and Judy held season tickets for Badger basketball and football games. They enjoyed two trips to the Rose Bowl, a trip to the Final Four, and several holiday tournaments with the basketball team. He was extremely pleased to attend Super Bowl XLV in 2011 with Judy and three of his children to see the Packers win. Howard was an avid reader. His office contains floor to ceiling books, mostly about history and economics. Howard had an incredible sense of humor and was greatly loved and respected by all who knew him. 

Howard is survived by his wife of 62 years, Judy; four children, Linda Schultz, Dr. James (Virginia) Thompson, John (Karen) Thompson, and Ann Thompson; 13 grandchildren, one great grandchild and his brother Robert (Nance) Thompson. He was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter, Dr. Karen Thompson Medhi, and grandchildren, Daisy and Summer Braun.

“His heritage to his children wasn’t words or possessions, but an unspoken treasure, the treasure of his example as a man and father.” — Will Rogers Jr.

A Memorial Service was held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, ,2019, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4100 Nakoma Rd., Madison.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Agrace Hospice, Westminster Presbyterian Church, or UW foundation — Howard E. and Judith M. Thompson Fund

Cress Funeral and Cremation Service, 3610 Speedway Rd, Madison, 608-238-3434.