Gil Sedor remembered most for civic presence

Comments Comments Print Print
Nick Crow
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

JANESVILLE—A member of several local service groups and civic organizations, Gil Sedor was recognized as someone who wouldn't hesitate to step in and help out.

From helping build the Hedberg Public Library and Rotary Botanical Gardens to leadership in several local service organizations, Sedor took great pride in helping sew the civic fabric of his beloved Janesville.

Sedor died Tuesday after a long illness. He was 80.

"He did a lot of things personally for people that weren't ever recognized, things that weren't ever associated with any organizations," his son Dan Sedor said. "He has told me many times that he thinks he has a responsibility as a citizen of the United States to be active in one's community, and he took that seriously."

But Sedor didn't take life too seriously. One summer, while participating in the Janesville Noon Rotary's friendship exchange program, he had the opportunity to visit Australia. Unfortunately, he neglected to tell his daughter about it until after the fact.

"I went to the airport to get him and was (scolding him) like an adult with their child," Rachel (Mahadeo) Sedor said. "Why didn't you tell me you were going?"

Mahadeo learned that while on his trip, her father had been parapenting, which involves running off the side of a mountain with a large gliding canopy attached.

Apparently Sedor also had planned to bungee jump while on the trip, but he thought that might be a bit too dangerous, she said.

"He was completely unfazed by stuff sometimes," Mahadeo said. "I told him 'Dad, you're 55 years old,' but he wasn't concerned with that."

A trial attorney by trade, Sedor had a rough exterior but was a gentle giant to those who knew him. Whether it was stealing all the grape Jolly Ranchers from the tellers at Johnson Bank or calling himself the Bionic Man due to his shoulder and hip replacements, people in Janesville knew Gil Sedor.

"Dad was tough," Mahadeo said. "He was a 6-2 trial attorney who played football, so a lot of people were scared of him. But he was a big goofball at the same time."

A Wausau native, Sedor moved to Janesville in 1961. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Korea from 1952-54 and later attended Marquette University on a full scholarship wrestling and playing football. It was there he attended law school, earning his degree in 1961.

"I was his partner since 1984 until he retired in 2003," said Janesville attorney Jack Hoag. "I worked with him since 1978. Ever since I've known him he was always very civically involved. He was hard-working and loved his children and loved Janesville, and he tried to be a positive member of the community."

Some of Sedor's accolades include induction into the Rock County Hall of Honor and winning the United Way of North Rock County Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award, the Jaycees Distinguished Service Award and the YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award. He also was named one of The Janesville Gazette's "50 Who Matter" in 2010.

Sedor also was a volunteer for the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, the UW-Rock County Foundation, Agrace HospiceCare, the Janesville Performing Arts Center and the Rock County Historical Society, among others.

Sedor was a founding member, past president and life member of UW-Rock County Foundation. Diana Shadel, UW-Rock board president, said his contributions to the scholarship program, student advocacy and fundraising efforts were always close to his heart.

"He thought that all students should have the opportunity to go on to college," she said. "He had good, creative ideas and always took action. When he said he was going to do something, he did it."

Whatever the cause, Sedor just loved being active, Mahadeo said.

"He was a good guy and people knew he had these double sides to him," she said. "He loved his kids and was social to the core. He didn't just start civic duty when he raised his kids. He started when he moved to town.

"There's been an outpouring of sentiments about him."

Comments Comments Print Print