MILWAUKEE -- David Lee MacGregor passed away on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, at the Astor Hotel in Milwaukee. He was born on Sept. 17, 1932, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and moved to Watertown in 1942 where he spent his childhood and teen years. After graduating Watertown High School in 1950, David went on to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he received a bachelor of arts in business administration in 1954 and a bachelor of law in 1956. While at UW Law, David served as editor in chief of the Law Review from 1955-56, was a member of Phi Delta Phi, the Order of the Coif and was named "Graduate of the Year" in 1956.
David married his high school sweetheart, Helen Jean Kolberg, on Aug. 7, 1954, and together they had four sons. David first practiced law with Kading & MacGregor in Watertown before moving the family to Milwaukee to join the law firm of Wood, Brady, Tyrell & Bruce in 1959, which ultimately merged with and became Quarles & Brady, LLP in 1974. David, a partner at the firm, practiced trust and estate law at Quarles & Brady until his retirement in 2001. He had a thriving and successful career and was listed many times among the Best Lawyers in America publications. David was also a very accomplished musician, having played the saxophone and the clarinet since the age of 14. He played with the Riverboat Rascals for over a decade, performing at the Range Line Inn in Mequon. For the past 10 years he and the Rhythm Aces delighted audiences in both Milwaukee and Madison. Music, specifically traditional jazz, was one of his greatest joys. He passed his love and talent for music on to his sons and grandchildren, who will continue to cherish it in his memory. David and Helen purchased an old farm in Grant County in 1968 and worked with the Mississippi Valley Conservancy to preserve the property, where they and their family have spent many of their happiest times. David was proud of his legal work for the Conservancy as well as for the Prairie Enthusiasts. He served on the board of Alverno College and the Stackner Family Foundation, where he served a term as director. Additionally, he was passionate about chess, tennis and table tennis.
David was preceded in death by his oldest son, Scott. He is survived by his beloved wife, Helen; three sons, Will, Brian (Christina) and Tom; nieces and nephews; and eight grandchildren, Brittany (Dean), Collin, Meghan, Kayleigh, Sean, Ian, Connor and Kate.
David's great intellect, empathy and kindness were his trademarks and will forever be remembered. His skill in helping and advising others in affairs of business and life was cherished by his colleagues, friends and family alike. David will be remembered as the rock of and shining light in the MacGregor family and the many friends and communities he served throughout his life.
A celebration of life will be planned in the coming months and in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in David's name to the Mississippi Valley Conservancy.