Madison's 49th Mayor 1965-1969
Former Madison Mayor Festge dies at 86
The Capital Times — 11/05/2007 11:45 am
Former Madison Mayor Otto Festge, who served the city during the height of the Vietnam War, died Sunday. He was 86.
Former Mayor Paul Soglin said on his blog, "Waxing America," today that Festge's death "is more personal. In 1968, when I was elected to the City Council, much an outcast, he took me in and treated me like any other elected official. He made sure his staff did the same.
"Five years later, when I was elected mayor, he was always there for a phone call or lunch to help me sort through difficult personnel or management problems."
Festge, who was mayor from 1965 to 1969, later served as home secretary for U.S. Rep. Robert Kastenmeier, D-Madison, until 1991.
Kastenmeier's wife, Dorothy, recalled this morning that Festge "was always there. He was a great help to Bob."
Longtime Democratic activist Helen Vukelich, who worked with Festge in Kastenmeier's office, recalled that he had the responsibility of the office's day-to-day operations, as well as making most of Kastenmeier's travel arrangements and setting up local appearances.
"I don't know how Bob could have gotten along without him," Vukelich said.
Both Vukelich and Dorothy Kastenmeier recalled Festge as a "sharp dresser," who, as Vukelich said, "came from that era where men always wore a coat and tie."