Iowa County judge, former Madison mayor Dyke dead at age 85

Iowa County judge, former Madison mayor Dyke dead at age 85
William Dyke

One of the state’s most colorful politicians of the past 50 years has passed away.

Iowa County Judge William Dyke, who once served as mayor of Madison in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, died Thursday at Bloomfield Manor in Dodgeville.

Dyke has a long history in Wisconsin politics. He served as mayor from 1969 until 1973, before being beaten by Paul Soglin in his first run for mayor.

He also ran for governor as a Republican in 1974, where he lost to Gov. Patrick Lucey.

Dyke also ran for vice-president in 1976 with Lester Maddox as part of the American Independent Party, although he disavowed Maddox’s segregationist views at the time.

“He was a true renaissance man,” said Green County Judge Jim Beer. “He was an artist, he was a politician, he was a judge and he was a TV personality.”

Dyke was appointed Iowa County Judge in 1996 by then Gov. Tommy Thompson, and has served  for the past 20 years in Dodgeville.

“He was a bubbly individual that was willing to help anyone, anytime, ” said Beer.  Beer said the only race he was upset about losing was his first loss to Soglin, “because he thought he had done a good job.”

“He was a fair, reform minded judge who always tried to find the good in people,” said Rep. Todd Novak. Novak joined the Republican party in the early 1980’s when Dyke was Iowa County party chairman, and considers him a mentor for his own political career.

“He was a judge who didn’t like throwing people in jail,” said Novak. “He wanted to get addicts the help they needed.”

Novak said Dyke  also had a passion for helping teenagers, which is why he started teen court in the late 1990’s.

Dyke also has a connection to WISC-TV. He once served as host for many different shows at the station, including the children’s show “Circus 3,”where Beer first met him when he was a boy scout.

Dyke leaves behind a wife, Kristine, and four children, along with seven grandchildren. Services are pending.