MIDDLETON – David M. Warshauer passed away at the age of 73 peacefully at Agrace Hospice, Fitchburg, Wi, after living with pancreatic cancer for 19 months.
I was born on a sunny afternoon on May 11, 1949, in San Francisco, CA, to Rose (Gorman) and Sheldon Warshauer, joining older brother, Theodore (Ted), to complete the family. I “grew up” in San Francisco and attended Abraham Lincoln high school. I then went on to the University of California – Davis where I received my BS, MA and PhD in Microbiology. I tore myself away from Davis and the Sierra Nevada Mountains to head to Madison for a 4 year postdoctoral fellowship from 1975-1978 in Public Health Microbiology at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) and the Department of Preventive Medicine. During my postdoc I had the opportunity to go to the Antarctic to study the transmission and clinical manifestations of viral respiratory infections in men (and one woman) who over-wintered during the six month winter.
Falling in love with Wisconsin winters, and more importantly, my wife Kari, I accepted a position as Director of Clinical Microbiology at St. Joseph’s hospital in the big city, Milwaukee. With Wheaton Health System consolidations the laboratory became a large centralized clinical and reference laboratory. In 2000 after 22 years in Milwaukee I was lured back to WSLH and served as Chief Bacteriologist and Technical Director of the Communicable Disease Division until my retirement in October 2019. (Yes, just before Covid-19 arrived). I had an exciting and satisfying career. Some of the highlights of my career included leading the WSLH response to the post-911 bioterrorism events, implementing laboratory tests for emerging and reemerging infectious diseases such as West Nile virus, measles, mumps, monkeypox, Ebola virus, Zika virus, pertussis, Legionella, multi-drug resistant TB, and leading the WSLH foodborne team in the testing of specimens and the investigations for more foodborne outbreaks than I care to count. I was especially honored to be named TB Laboratorian of the Year by the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association in 2014, and receive a Life Time Achievement Award for my work in TB from the Association of Public Health Laboratories in 2019. It was an exciting 19 years at WSLH! I worked with many bright, dedicated and fun-loving people over my 40+ years in Milwaukee and Madison. We had a good time doing great work and serving to keep the people of Wisconsin healthy.
On July 31, 1984, I had the honor of taking Kari Larratt as my wife. She married me 2 days after I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and supported me through that odyssey so that we could spend 38 wonderful years together. She is one extraordinary person! In 1989 we made our family complete when we traveled to Peru to adopt our beautiful daughter, Elena Ann. She was the joy of our life. We enjoyed doing things together, especially going to Washington Island during the summer to stay at the Larratt family “Cottage on the Hill” (no running water and an outhouse with hornet’s nests under seat). Elena loved swimming in the frigid water at School House Beach and still does with her boyfriend, David. (Yes, his name is David). Kari and I enjoyed biking (especially on our electric bikes), water skiing on Beaver Lake, gardening (I was known as the "Reluctant Gardner”), golfing, traveling, and just hanging around together. It was a wonderful 38 years. I was a very, very lucky man to have such a loving, caring, supportive, smart, and beautiful wife.
I am survived by my wife, Kari; daughter, Elena; brother, Ted Warshauer (Linda); and many other loving members of the Warshauer and Larratt families.
I hope that when you think of me, it will bring a smile to your face. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Center.
A private family celebration will be held. (I’ll be there.)