MILWAUKEE

Edward G. Jackamonis

Oct. 19, 1939 - Jan. 22, 2006

Edward G. Jackamonis found peace Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006, at age 66 after a brief, courageous battle with cancer. He died surrounded by family and friends.

Ed leaves behind his loving wife of 43 years, Barbara; his beloved children, April (Jackamonis) Sutrick and Jason Jackamonis; and the apple of his eye, his sweet grandson, Jack Sutrick, who will dearly miss his beloved "pop." He is the dear brother of Constance (Jackamonis) Vogell and grateful father-in-law of Neal Sutrick. He is further survived by two nieces, Heather (Vogell) Stobbe and Alison Vogell, and friends too numerous to count.

Ed was born Oct. 19, 1939, in New Britain, Conn., to Edward G. Jackamonis Sr., whose parents immigrated to the United States from Lithuania, and Sophie (Horosik) Jackamonis, whose parents were Polish immigrants. His humble beginnings, heís said, were his catalyst for success: Ed was brought up in the heart of New Britainís Polish community in a three-family house (without central heat!) and graduated from New Britain High School in 1957. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Northeastern University in Boston with a bachelor of arts degree in political science in 1962. During his freshman year at Northeastern he met Barbara, a classmate, and they married Aug. 26, 1962. Their honeymoon was spent driving to Madison, where Ed could continue his education.

After receiving his masterís degree in political science, he accepted a teaching position at the brand new University of Wisconsin-Waukesha campus, which he filled for four years. While at UW-Waukesha, he was increasingly drawn into local politics by the turmoil of the times, particularly the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. In 1970, he ran for a seat in the Wisconsin state Assembly. After squeaking out a victory, an underdog Democrat in a Republican district, he was easily re-elected to five subsequent terms. His crowning achievement in the Legislature occurred in 1976 when his colleagues elected him speaker of the state Assembly, a position he held for three consecutive terms.

After the addition of his two children, Ed left the Assembly in 1982 and was appointed by Gov. Tony Earl to be the executive director of the Wisconsin Housing Finance Authority. Under his leadership, WHFA was transformed into the current organization, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. He ran WHEDA until 1988, when he took a position in Albany, N.Y., as the director of the New York State Assembly Program Development Group.

In 1991, Ed and his family returned to Wisconsin, this time to Milwaukee, where Ed filled several positions with the city of Milwaukee until his retirement in 1999. During his retirement, he often marveled at how he possibly found the time to work, and took up the hobby of researching his genealogy. His last 2 1/2 years were mainly spent enjoying his cherished grandson, Jack, who was his greatest joy.

Visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at Church and Chapel Funeral Home, 380 W. Bluemound Road, Waukesha. Visitation will continue from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian burial Saturday, Jan. 28, at St. William Catholic Church, 440 N. Moreland Blvd., Waukesha.

In lieu of flowers and other gifts, Ed requested that donations be made to the Jackamonis Family and Friends Foundation, c/o Barbara Jackamonis, 5426 W. Andover Road, Milwaukee, WI 53219.

Church and Chapel Rudolph-Larsen Bros. Funeral Home is serving the family. For more information, call 827-0659 or visit www.churchandchapel.com to view the online obituary, memorial tribute slideshow, leave condolences or receive directions.