Remembering Mark Musolf
March 30, 2009 11:39 AM
On Saturday afternoon I attended a memorial service for my friend Mark Musolf, who died tragically in an auto accident in December. Mark was a very vibrant 67. I had known him for about twenty years from a variety of connections. He was a state administration official when I was a young aide in the Capitol. Then he was active in The Nature Conservancy when I worked there. And I often saw him around the gym we both belonged to. Mark was an avid runner who updated his vanity license plate with his most recent lifetime mileage.
Mark grew up in Madison in University Heights. He was a lifelong Republican. That's a little like growing up a Bears fan in Green Bay. Mark even ran for the State Assembly a couple of times as a Republican in a Madison district. You can guess the outcome. But his memorial service was filled with Republicans and Democrats and the apolitical, all people who just liked him and wanted to be together to remember him and to say goodbye.
Mark Musolf was the kind of person we need more of around politics. He was a reasonable, likable, intelligent guy with a good sense of humor. He took issues seriously but never himself. At the reception afterwards at the Memorial Union (one of his favorite hangouts) I noticed across the very crowded room two people I know who were talking amicably and at length. That wouldn't be worth mentioning except that I know that these two had a history of animosity between them. Later, when I mentioned it to one of them she said, "Well, given who brought us all here today, what else could I do?" And I thought to myself that Mark would have liked that very much.