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Badger Family: Seven Brides for Seven Badgers

In total, there are 17 members of my family who attended UW-Madison, with seven marriages. The years of marriage now exceed more than 330 in total, and that number continues to grow.

Barry Shapiro '73
March 30, 2021

My story begins with my mom, Ruth Levin; her older brother, Bob Levin PhD’41; and her younger sister, (Carolyn) Kay Levin ’47. They were born and raised in Chicago. My Uncle Bob went to UW-Madison for his PhD in the late 1930s, and surprising for those times, both my mom and her younger sister followed him to Madison for college. They all met their future spouses at school: Ruth met Sydney Shapiro; Bob met Rae Edelstein ’42; and Kay met Tom Gaines ’47.

Many of us have fairly unusual stories as well. Bob Levin built a house in the late forties with Frank Lloyd Wright as the architect; Tom Gaines is mentioned in Jackie Robinson’s autobiography; and Sydney Shapiro had a presidential exemption from serving during World War II so he could stay in the laboratory to better help the war effort. He ended up with around 40 patents.

I was the youngest of four children in my family. Two of my three siblings went to UW-Madison and met their spouses there. Among us, four of our children went to the UW, and two married Badgers.

In total, there are 17 members of my family who attended UW-Madison, with seven marriages. The years of marriage now exceed more than 330 in total, and that number continues to grow. My Uncle Tom and Aunt Kay are the only ones from that first generation still living, but they are doing well and celebrated their 68th anniversary earlier this year.

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