Classmate Bios (W-X-Y-Z)

This page contains biographies provided by classmates whose last name (maiden name for the gals)  begin with W-X-Y-Z, who wanted to share with you what has been going on in their lives..

Last updated:  09/07/19


Craig Washa   (added 7/11/19)

In the Fall of 1958 I was at the Madison train station with Gail Cooper , Ann Clark and Patty Schneider – all of us heading west to attend Colorado State University.

In my junior year at CSU -I transferred to the UW. My father was the Chairman of the Mechanic’s Engineering Department – all of our friends were professors- that’s why I “detoured” to Colorado for a change of pace.

About four hours after graduating from the UW in early ‘63 – a bunch of us left for an extended skiing trip to Taos NM, Vail, Aspen, Alta Utah, Sun Valley – on to California to see Admiral Tommy Thomson ( West ‘58 ) in San Diego. Then sent our skis home and after that – on to Mexico.

Back home in Madison I joined the National Guard unit (Medical Corp). Note: In 1968 our unit in Boston was called up to go to Viet Nam – right at the time of the Tet Offensive. A month later the order was rescinded. I think someone in our unit ( 373rd General Hospital) knew the Kennedys.

In 1964 I had job offers to be a Maitre d in Aspen and Stowe Vt.
Went to Stowe Vermont for the winter and met my future bride – Polly Thomas.
Polly graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle , Pa. Like me she wanted the winter off before settling into a full time job.

In 1965 Polly and I were married in Wellfleet , Ma. ( Cape Cod).
The following year we bought an antique house -circa 1640-  in Marshfield, Ma. We’ve had all types of animals including cats, dogs, chickens & geese, peacocks, horses, sheep, llamas and alpaca’s.

Our son Craig, Jr was born in 1966, daughter Kirsten in 1968 and Rachel in 1971. Sadly our son died of a brain tumor while he was in his junior year at Dartmouth College.

I joined the Travelers Insurance Co (1967) which helped to start me off in my future career as an independent insurance agent. My business partner Orrin Colley
( Brown University) and I bought an insurance agency in the early 70’s.
Got my CPCU designation. Years after we sold to a much larger Boston “blue blood “ agency. Later I did a “start up “ -eventually selling that and then retirement.

Polly and I celebrated our 54th wedding anniversary with our beautiful daughters Kirsten ( psychologist ) and Rachel
( teacher ). We have two grandchildren ( Nahia and Zaloa). Their father is Basque so they all spend their summers in the Basque area of northern Spain.

Polly ( Tommie) and I have been lucky enough to travel all over the USA and travel in Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central America, Indonesia, etc. We have a Time Share in Kauai , Hawaii and have been going there for the past twelve years. Still hope ( or dream ) to do more …if it’s in the cards. Knowing that the deck is getting thinner and thinner… hopefully there are still a few cards left on the table.

Nancy Watkins Danielson  (added 7/10/19)

After Madison West, I graduated from UW (Madison).

Then I headed east to settle in Cambridge MA where I received a graduate degree from Harvard and taught at Newton High School.

Married life lured me back to the midwest, living in Wayzata MN since 1997.

I  have 2 sons, both happily married. Bjorn is living in Memphis TN and Drew is in New York City. These are great cities to visit and to see my 3 grandchildren.

Unfortunately, I have been a widow for 23 years but I have been able to teach at Wayzata High School and continue to enjoy my Calligraphy business.

Where have the past 60 plus years gone??? I am happy to have experience Madison West in the 50s without an ipad or a cell phone.

Barbara Watts Ploetz  (updated 9/4/18)

Mom died the spring before graduation, I was a lost soul but went to Chicago to study Interior Design.  Came back to Madison, went to work at Frautschi Furniture, taught at MATC, started my own business AND then met this great guy and fell in love, got married. A whole new life

Long story short  Then one day, Charlie dies and another new life started….well, not.  I was that lost soul again. But today I am fine

A little crazy at times, like this past June

Just my dog and I went camping (ok, motel every 3rd nite) for 17 days in WY, MT, ID.

It was cold, wet, and my body told me my age. As I said, searching for next mystery .

I had been in all 50 states before my 50th birthday, then backtracked to be able to say I had slept in all 50…..Charlie said enough backtracking.  But that’s not true, my quest in now to go into all 50 capitols…..leaving the 17th of Sept for Hawaii and one more Places to go, things to do before physical time runs out


I married in January before my graduation from the UW-Madison in 1962 (Bill Schmitz Edgewood 1957). We purchased a home on the west side of Madison and had three children in the 1960s. Mark, Eric and Becca were then raised in the country near Verona and all graduated from Verona High School where I worked in the Title 1 program for 10 years. Divorced in 1983, I joined the McKenna clan on St. Patrick’s Day 1986 when I married John “a quiet riot”. We began our journey together by moving to Chicago for a decade. Oak Park brought us close to the National Historic Site of the Home and Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright where I became a volunteer and   worked in educational outreach for the organization. We also maintained a cabin in Spring Green/Lone Rock so we continued the affiliation with FLLW on weekends. Taliesin and the Wyoming Valley School Cultural Arts Center quickly became part of our Wisconsin life. The next move was to London where we lived in Richmond for two years as John continued his engineering work. Travel was easy while there so we took advantage of many long weekends provided by the British government and found our way around Europe. Northern Ireland was the favorite of Mr. McKenna! In 2002 we returned to the USA by the southern hemisphere on the famous route from London to Lone Rock. That was 16 years ago and we are still in our Cabin in the Pines in Spring Green township. It is very close to the Wisconsin River which we cross almost daily. The Driftless area is one of the most beautiful in Wisconsin.

Thirty- two years later we have a combined family of five children (JV & Steven McKenna) and thirteen grandchildren. Two on their own in the world, 5 in colleges across the country and 6 in high school and middle grades in Minnesota. We maintain close ties with this growing gang and are always amazed at how much they know! However, at 78 it is still fun to challenge them. It has been a good life and we have been blessed with so much.


Unfortunately, we will not be able to attend the reunion this year, but will be thinking of all of you. I have really enjoyed reading the mini-bios that have come in, and decided to add a few lines myself.

After graduating from West, I attended the UW, where I got my degree in Elementary Education. Then, after graduation, in the summer of 1962, I married  Kirk, and we moved east to Cambridge, MA. I began my 41 year teaching career in Wayland,MA, where I taught mostly third grade with a few years of second interspersed, and Kirk did graduate work at Harvard and then MIT, in urban planning and economic development, and then worked at the consulting firm ADL and at MIT as a researcher.We have lived in MA ever since leaving Madison.

We have now both retired, and are living in Weston, MA. We both enjoyed our jobs very much, but are now enjoying retirement, and the variety of things it has to offer.

Donald Zimmerman  (added 9/7/19)

Phyllis, briefly I married Karen Sweet after dating for 6-1/2 years. We both were working in Madison when situations caused a move to Milwaukee, then to Chicago where we were fortunate to have 2 sons during our 5 years there. We moved to Fort Worth, Texas to rejoin Tandy Corporation after they acquired Allied Electronics.  David, born in 1967, married Laurie Aldahl and brought our one and only grandson Zachary into our lives. Todd, born in 1970 is single and available. We retired to Sun City Anthem in Henderson, Nevada at the end of 2007 and are enjoying all we have offered us here.