Derald William Smedegard

Derald William Smedegard

WAUNAKEE – Derald William Smedegard passed away at his home in Waunakee on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020.

He was born in Madison in 1963 and named after his father. Soon after he received the lifelong nickname, Rusty.

Rusty attended Monona Grove schools proudly graduating in 1981 and earning a standing ovation. Later, at his twenty-year class reunion his classmates voted him “most memorable.”

After high school, Rusty joined the U.S. Navy for a short time before his honorable discharge. For decades he worked as a custodian at the University of Wisconsin sharing his love of card playing with many grad students before retiring. Rusty was a generous, quirky, honorable, independent man who cared deeply for those close to him. His trademark was reminding others of their special place in his life. He was direct in sharing his appreciation and his views.

Rusty also took pride in passing on card playing skills, especially sheepshead, to his nephews and niece. He was always up for a sports discussion, rivaling any sports caster’s ability to produce interesting commentary.

Moved by the music of the 1970s, Rusty inspired his little sisters and friends. From childhood living room dances to Saturday night karaoke, Rusty and Three Dog Night brought “Joy to the World.”

Rusty was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents.

He is survived by his sisters and their families, Sharee and Jim Sensenbrenner with Michael and Lin and Shannon and Rick Skarzynski with Sloan and Jacob. He is also survived by aunts, uncles and cousins.

A private service will be held.

Friends and family are invited to an outdoor drive through visitation from the safety of your car at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020.

Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive
(608) 221-5420