Obituary: Gary Clifford Kreft

March 19, 1944 ~ July 13, 2023

Madison – Gary Clifford Kreft, age 79, died peacefully on July 13, 2023, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, WI. Gary was born on March 19, 1944, in Ashland, WI to parents August and Agnes (Peterson) Kreft. Gary married Judy Ann LaTocha on September 11, 1984. Together, they raised a son, John.

Gary graduated from J.E. Murphy High School in Hurley, WI May 25, 1962. He also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wisconsin State University in Superior, WI in 1966.

He was hired right away teaching middle school art at Fort Washington. During those years he married Linda Isaacson, his wife of 18 years. He left Fort Washington to work in graphic arts in Milwaukee, then returned to the Hurley area to teach junior high and high school art. Linda received her teaching degree and went to teach art at the Arena Elementary School in the Spring Green area River Valley School District. Gary went to work at the film library at the UW Madison which led into employment at the Mendota Mental Health Institute with 11- to 17-year-old youth where he worked 28 years and retired in 2004.

Gary liked photography and skiing in high school and college. Linda met Judy and with Gary the three worked on an art education federal grant project for the school district for two years.

Gary and Judy joined Madison’s northside Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA raising John at the Sherman Church to Eagle Scout rank. Gary shared his leadership training in Wood Badge to teach adults and youth community service and “leave no trace” making life long friends.

Gary is survived by his wife of 38 years, Judy A. Kreft; son, John A. Kreft; and brother, Dale A. (Caroline) Kreft.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A Memorial Service was held at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church, 3705 N. Sherman Ave., Madison, WI.

To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services

2418 N. Sherman Avenue