Cover photo for William Charles Zarnstorff's Obituary
William Charles Zarnstorff Profile Photo
1932 Bill 2024

William Charles Zarnstorff

August 8, 1932 — June 17, 2024


Bill passed away peacefully on June 17, 2024, surrounded by his family. He was born on August 8, 1932, in Walworth County, Wisconsin, the son of Elmer and Martha (Amborn) Zarnstorff. He attended 1st through 8th grade in a rural one-room schoolhouse and graduated from Lake Geneva High School.

Bill met his wife, Beverly, while in the Air Force in Denver, and they married in 1953. He went to the UW-Madison on the GI Bill and received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering. He went on to complete his PhD in Physiology in 1970 and joined the UW faculty. Over the course of his career, he advanced engineering applications in medicine, taught, and mentored graduate students in Medical Physics, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Radiology. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 1994.

Bill’s true calling was teaching. Whether he was in the classroom or in his office holding office hours, students were his focus. He and many of his former students continued to keep in touch and with great pride he followed their careers.

After his retirement Bill became very involved in the Madison West Rotary Club and served as President. He and Bev made many wonderful friends and connections, including hosting international visitors.

Bill was by nature inquisitive, the definition of a lifelong learner. Bill could build and fix just about anything and was happy to assist others with his skills. Later, he learned and enjoyed all aspects of computing, from hardware to programming.

At his core, his family was the most important and treasured aspect of his life. Bill and Bev would have been married 71 years this August. He is survived by three children: Michael (Sally) of Princeton NJ, Daniel (Maja) of Stoughton WI, and Patricia (Jeff) of Naples FL. His grandchildren: Nathan, Hannah, and Jonathan Zarnstorff, and Elise and Dane Erickson, were his pride and joy. His family and friends will remember him forever for his infinite patience, enormous generosity, and pure unconditional love.

A celebration of Bill’s life will take place in August. Gifts in Bill’s memory may be made payable to the 'UW Foundation' with a note to direct contributions to either the Zarnstorff Graduate Award Fund (Medical Physics), or the Zarnstorff Endowed Scholarship Fund (Engineering). Mail to UW Foundation, US Bank Lockbox Box 78807 Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807. Gifts can also be made online at

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