Kurt Saupe

MADISON – Dr. Kurt W. Saupe, a gifted athlete and brilliant scientist, but most of all a devoted husband and father, passed away on Saturday, June 23, 2012, after a courageous 4 1/2 year battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Kurt was born on April 1, 1962, to William and Lorna Saupe in Sheldon, Iowa. In 1965, the family moved to Madison. After two years in Brazil, he and his family returned to Madison in 1971. Kurt was a 1980 graduate of James Madison Memorial High School. He went on to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology. During his time at the UW, he lettered twice in track (400 meter hurdles) and was part of the 1984 Big 10 team. Kurt earned a Master’s degree in exercise physiology from Penn State University in 1986 and a PhD in physiology from the UW in 1994. While earning his PhD, in 1988, Kurt met the love of his life, Nancy Sweitzer, MD, PhD. The two were married in Boston on Sept. 7, 1996, where Kurt pursued postdoctoral training. On the night before their wedding, Kurt thanked God that, although things were financially challenging, he was truly a rich man. After the birth of their amazing children, daughter, Geneva in 1998 and son, Peter in 2001, the family returned to Madison, where both Kurt and Nancy accepted appointments at the UW. While at the University, Kurt was an accomplished academician, most recently holding the position of Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. He has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and received several awards in his field. Though his lab has focused on various areas of cardiovascular and physiological research, he was currently concentrating on two aspects of cardioregenerative medicine: studying the effects of diet and aging on resident progenitor cells in the heart, and a method of transferring therapeutic stem cells to injured myocardium. Outside of the lab, Kurt loved nurturing his childrens’ interest in science and politics, and helping them to become global citizens. He loved playing soccer, following the Badgers and Packers, and sailing to exotic destinations with Nancy.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Nancy Sweitzer and their children, Geneva (age 13) and Peter (age 11) of Madison; his parents, William and Lorna Saupe of Madison; his sister, Rebecca (David) Luther and daughters, Amy and Kristy of St. Marie’s Idaho; and sister, Barbara (Barry) Hein and daughters, Sarah, Beth and LeeAnn of Markesan; his mother-in-law, Barbara Sweitzer of Rockport, Maine; and Nancy’s sister, Julie (Paul) Janke and their children, Helen and Sam of Acton, Maine. He is further survived by numerous aunts, uncles and cousins as well as professional colleagues and loving friends. Kurt was preceded in death by both sets of grandparents; and his father-in-law, Robert Sweitzer.
Memorial Services will be held at ASBURY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 6101 University Avenue, Madison at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 7th, 2012, with the Reverend Harold Zimmick presiding. In lieu of flowers, a charitable foundation has been established in Kurt’s name with the intent to provide ongoing support to the Middleton Outreach Ministries. Geneva and Peter will play a vital role in the distribution of foundation monies, providing Kurt the ability to continue giving his kids those “teachable moments”. Contributions may be sent to the Kurt W. Saupe Foundation, c/o WPS Bank, 5900 Gishold Drive, Madison, WI 53713. Please visit www.kurtwsaupefoundation.org for more information.