Quad/Graphics, Inc. announced that company co-founder and long-time board member Betty Ewens Quadracci died peacefully at her home in Wisconsin surrounded by family and close friends. She was 75 years old.
"As you can imagine, today is a very difficult and sad day for us, but also one of celebration as we commemorate my mother's very accomplished life," said her son Joel Quadracci, chairman, president and CEO of Quad/Graphics. "She passed away peacefully and we take comfort in knowing that she is now in Heaven with my father Harry."
Recognized as the matriarch of Quad/Graphics, Betty Quadracci co-founded the company in 1971 with her late husband, Harry V. Quadracci. The company started operations in a vacant factory in Pewaukee with a single printing press and just 11 employees. Today, Quad/Graphics is a leading global printer and multichannel media integrator with 25,000 employees worldwide at 65-plus printing plants and dozens of support facilities.
"As a co-founder of this company, Betty shared Harry's passion for creating a company like no other," Joel Quadracci said. "She provided endless encouragement – even when Harry doubted himself. She suggested he take out a second mortgage on their home to give wings to their shared dream. Truly, Betty is a big reason why Quad/Graphics is here today."
During Quad/Graphics' early years Betty held many roles. In 1985, Betty founded Quad/Creative, a graphic design firm now known as Quad/Graphics Creative Solutions. In 2002 she became a member of Quad/Graphics’ Board of Directors. Betty also served as the president of the Windhover Foundation, a philanthropic organization funded by the Quadracci family.
Betty was devoted to the Milwaukee community and Southeastern Wisconsin, making her mark in publishing, the arts and education, and other philanthropic endeavors.
She became publisher of Milwaukee Magazine in 1983 and later was named president of the award-winning monthly publication. During her tenure of almost 30 years, the monthly publication garnered more than 200 state and national awards, including two Gold Medals for General Excellence from the City and Regional Magazine Association and a Best Editorial Gold Medal for a publisher’s letter written by Betty titled "The First Amendment Starts Here." In 2012 she was inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club’s Media Hall of Fame.
Betty was well-known as a champion of the arts, serving on the Milwaukee Art Museum's Board of Trustees for many years. In 1997 she and Harry spearheaded a $10 million matching donation from Quad/Graphics to kick off fundraising for a major addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum – the Quadracci Pavilion. Designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and completed in 2001, the pavilion has become a widely recognized symbol of Milwaukee.
Betty received a bachelor's degree from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., in 1961 and attended the University of Fribourg in Fribourg, Switzerland. Betty was one of the first trained Montessori teachers in the United States and helped establish the Waukesha Montessori School in 1964. She also helped launch the Waukesha Head Start program in 1968, now the oldest continually operating Head Start program in the United States.
Betty is survived by her four children – Richard, Kathryn, Joel and Elizabeth – 10 grandchildren and her five siblings.
As was true in all facets of her life, Betty's estate planning was thoughtful and thorough, with the continuity of Quad/Graphics a key focus. As such, her passing will not create a liquidity event that impacts the company or the Quadracci family. In addition, the Quadracci family and various family trusts will continue to control the company through ownership of all of the company's high vote class B stock, which constitutes more than 80% of the company's total voting power.