Harry James Tobias

Harry James Tobias

Harry James Tobias of Madison passed away at Capitol Lakes on May 25, 2017. Harry was born on September 28, 1926 in Madison to Vivian Goldman Tobias and Joseph Jacob Tobias. He graduated from East High School in 1944. Harry enlisted and served “overseas in Texas.” In 1946, upon completion of his Naval service, he continued his UW studies and graduated with senior honors from the UW School of Commerce.

Harry married Marjorie Singer on April 24, 1949 in Chicago. Harry was ambitious and hardworking as he greatly expanded his Dad’s business, Madison News Agency, into Interstate Periodical Distributors.

Harry and Marjorie raised four girls in Shorewood Hills, later moving to Bishop’s Bay while wintering in Palm Desert, California. Harry and Marjorie enthusiastically traveled to all seven continents.

Vivian and Joe Tobias were founding members of Temple Beth El where Harry participated in the first Confirmation class. His dedication to Temple continued as a second generation Temple president from 1966-1968. Harry’s other leadership and community activities included: Downtown Madison Rotary since 1960, past president of the regional (MAPDA) and national (CPDA) periodical wholesale trade organizations and the boards of Madison Jewish Federation, Oregon Community Bank, Capital Indemnity Insurance Co. and Dane County Regional Airport Commission. Harry also volunteered as an MSCR pontoon boat captain.
Harry loved flying and was an instrument rated single engine Cessna pilot. Harry was an extraordinary cribbage player. Over the years he played with his friends Jay, Irv, Warren, Sherman, Iz and later his grandkids and pals at Capitol Lakes. He was always game to give a “cribbage lesson”. After all, he “wrote the book on Cribbage.”

Harry is survived by his wife, Marjorie Singer Tobias, his children Lynn Tobias (Chet Edwards) of Portland, Oregon, Cathy Tobias (Bryan Michael) of Minnesota/Florida, Judy Tobias of Minnesota/Florida, Amy Fields (Marty) of Madison; grandchildren Jacob Todd, Molly Fields, Elissa Todd, Kalie Kebed (Daniel), Randall Fields, Anna Edwards (Eric Griffiths) Jordan Edelstein, Alex Edwards, Andrew Edelstein and great-grandchildren, Amara Todd and Noah Kebed. Also surviving Harry are nieces, Pam Helfand Wertheimer(Rick) and Marci Helfand.

All will remember Harry for his devotion to Marjorie and family, his good nature, and quick witted sense of humor.

Harry was preceded in death by his parents and only sibling, Ilene Tobias Helfand.

Following a private burial, a memorial service will be held at Temple Beth El, 2702 Arbor Drive, on Sunday, May 28 at 11:00 a.m. A Meal of Condolence will follow the service at Temple.

A shiva minyan will be held on Sunday, May 28, 7:00 p.m. at the home of Amy and Marty Fields.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to: Temple Beth El -Tobias Programming Fund, Jewish Federation of Madison, Capitol Lakes Foundation or charity of your choice.

The family would like to express its gratitude for the care and compassion provided by Capitol Lakes and Agrace Hospice Care.