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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Vol. 70, Number 2 (Nov. 1968)

Oscar Rennebohm: 1889-1968,   p. [31]


Page [31]


     OSCAR RENNEBOHM
                     1889-1968
   Oscar Rennebohm '11, a former governor of Wiscon-
 sin and a man whose business interests and philanthro-
 pies made him one of the best known figures in the state,
 died in his Maple Bluff home on the morning of October
 16. He was 79 years old and had suffered from a heart
 ailment for about three years.
   Mr. Rennebohm began his career in 1912 with one
drug store on the northeast corner of Randall and Uni-
versity avenues. From this he built a chain of 20 Rexall
outlets, including two campus landmarks, the store di-
rectly across from the original, and "The Pharm" at      "
State and Lake Streets. As his empire grew, he amassed  _
a fortune, served as governor, and established the Renne-
bohm Foundation as one of his several means of con-
tributing to the state, the area and his beloved University.
   In 1944, for example, he set up a $50,000 trust fund.
to give five general scholarships of $300 each at the
University each year to graduates of state high schools.
He doubled the number of scholarships in 1956.
   Mr. Rennebohm was a director, a president and a
charter member of the UW  Foundation, and was par-
ticularly active in its drive to raise money for the build-
ing of the Wisconsin Center. He was a member of the
Foundation's Presidents Club, which requires a gift of
$10,000.
   Under the foundation bearing his name, he proved a
continuous source of financial aid to community proj--
ects. One of the most recent contributions was $200,000
to last year's Greater Madison Hospital Expansion Fund.
   His political interests jelled in 1944 when he was
elected lieutenant governor. He moved up to the gover-
nor's chair in 1947 on the death of Gov. Walter Good-
land, then was elected to a full term in office in 1948.
His administration was marked by significant accom-
plishments in public education, improvements in welfare
legislation, state care for the mentally ill, and inaugura-
tion of the veterans housing program.
   Mr. Rennebohm served on the Board of Regents from
1952 to 1961. In this capacity one of his greatest ac-
complishments was the sale of a 605-acre tract on Madi-
son's far west side-formerly part of the University
agricultural experimental station-to private developers
of the Hill Farm residential section. When he discovered
that the regents had set a price of $1.1 million on the
land he offered to take over the project. Under his
management the University realized $5.4 million from
the sale of the acreage.
  In 1959 Mr. Rennebohm was honored by the Wis-
consin Alumni Association for his many contributions to
his University and the Association.
  Mr. Rennebohm is survived by his wife, the former
Mary Fowler '20, Madison; and a daughter, Carol '58
(Mrs. Frank Dawson) of Denver, Colo.
he looked in his 1948 guberna-
nset) in front of the first store


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