Matthew C. Zillig, 58
Matthew "Matt" C. Zillig, 58.
The world has lost a most wonderful and remarkable man. Matt’s journey on this earth ended at his home on Sept. 17, 2008, surrounded by love.
Matt was born in Milwaukee on Oct. 9, 1949, the eagerly awaited first-born of Gloria and the late Quentin Zillig.
He grew up in Greenfield, attending Alverno Elementary School, Don Bosco High School, and Georgetown University from which he graduated in 1971 with a B.A. in history.
During the following two years, he had several seasonal jobs and traveled around Europe.
January of 1973 found him in a remote area of Zambia teaching geography and mathematics at a girls’ secondary boarding school of 660 pupils.
After nearly three years, he returned to Milwaukee where in the spring of 1976, he met Marisue Sanhuber, a former Peace Corps volunteer and kindred spirit who became his lifelong love. They were married on Oct. 16 of that same year.
Matt then continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning his master’s of science in curriculum and instruction in 1977, followed by a master’s of arts in political science in 1978 from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
He was then awarded a fellowship to remain at Madison as a Ph.D. candidate.
However, a phone call from Zambia in the fall of 1979 changed everything.
The school where Matt had taught was very short of qualified teachers. Could Matt return?
It seemed time for another adventure, so Matt and Marisue sold their home in Milwaukee and in early 1980, headed for Zambia where they both taught until the spring of 1982.
After returning to Milwaukee, Matt pursued certification in mathematics at UWM and became involved with computers for which he showed much affinity.
He worked for a while at what was then Computerland and before long, embarked on a career as a computer instructor, consultant and program developer serving industry and academia in southeastern Wisconsin.
He taught at various University of Wisconsin campuses and provided training at numerous private businesses.
Matt and Marisue moved to West Bend in 1984, settling into their present home in 1985.
Matt continued teaching and became involved in many community programs and activities such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Moraine Chorus, Musical Masquers (Who can forget Matt as the Pirate King in "The Pirates of Penzance" and the King of Siam in "The King and I"?) and the UW Alumni Club of Washington County, in which he served as chairperson of the scholarship committee for many years. He was honored as the club’s 2007 Badger of the Year.
Matt also served for several years on the advisory board of the Museum of Wisconsin Art and had recently joined the University Council at the University of Wisconsin-Washington County.
He was instrumental in forming the Sharp-Zillig Foundation, which gives support to local and international nonprofit groups, and served as its executive director since its incorporation in 2004.
Matt’s interests were many. In addition to music and the theater, he was a voracious reader and an enthusiastic (and pretty good) golfer. He joined the YMCA each winter to keep in shape for the golf season.
He loved the outdoors and travel was always a great passion. Over the years, he and Marisue camped and hiked their way throughout the U.S. and had innumerable adventures in many many countries all over the world.
Matt is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Marisue; his wonderful mother, Gloria; his beloved sister, Jane, and her husband, Paul Ingalls; special sister, Annie; other relatives and countless friends, many of whom helped make it possible for Matt to remain at home during his illness.
The family will be forever grateful for all the loving support they received, including from the Aurora Visiting Nurse Association.
A gathering to celebrate Matt’s life will be held from 5 until 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, 300 S. Sixth Ave. in West Bend.
Memorials to the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the UW Alumni Club of Washington County, or the Sharp-Zillig Foundation would be greatly appreciated.