This Oct. 3, 2001 photo shows the Milwaukee Art Museum gleaming in the morning light behind Betty Quadracci. Quad/Graphics Inc. co-founder Betty Quadracci has died at her home, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, in Wisconsin. She was 75. (AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Gary Porter)
SUSSEX, Wis. (AP) — Quad/Graphics Inc. co-founder Betty Quadracci, who also was president of Milwaukee Magazine and a champion of the arts, died Monday at age 75, the printing company said.
Quadracci died at her Wisconsin home, surrounded by family. The company didn’t provide details on the cause of death, but her sister said Quadracci recently had pneumonia.
“She was a fighter. She had polio and almost died in the 1940s,” Quadracci’s sister, Sue Ewens of Shorewood, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “She had to learn to walk all over again. She always tried harder than everybody else — just to make up.”
Quadracci co-founded Quad/Graphics in 1971 with her late husband, Harry. After starting in a vacant factory in Pewaukee with a single printing press and just 11 employees, the Sussex-based company now has 25,000 employees worldwide at more than 65 printing plants and dozens of support facilities.
In 1983, Quadracci became publisher of Milwaukee Magazine and was later named president. In 2012, she was inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club’s Media Hall of Fame.
After holding many roles during Quad/Graphics’ early years, Betty Quadracci in 1985 founded Quad/Creative, a graphic design firm now known as Quad/Graphics Creative Solutions. In 2002 she became a member of Quad/Graphics’ board of directors. She also served as president of the Windhover Foundation, a philanthropic organization funded by the Quadraccci family.
Quadracci and her late husband also were supporters of a variety of arts groups. In 1997, the couple spearheaded a $10 million matching donation from Quad/Graphics to kick off fundraising for a major addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Quadracci Pavilion. Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava and completed in 2001, the pavilion has become a widely recognized symbol of Milwaukee.
Quadracci received her bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., in 1961 and attended the University of Fribourg in Fribourg, Switzerland. A trained Montessori teacher, she helped established the Waukesha Montessori School in 1964. She also helped launch the Waukesha Head Start program in 1968.
She is survived by her four children, 10 grandchildren and her five siblings.
Funeral services are pending.