John Symons Celebration of Life planned for June 1

Foundation to honor memory of John Symons

A Celebration of the Life honoring the memory of John Symons—familiar to many in the area as the visionary that brought to life Symons Recreation Complex and Campus View housing for UW-Richland students—is planned for 2pm Saturday, June 1, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 297 North Main Street in Richland Center.

“The lasting legacy John Symons gave to our community continues to serve thousands of area people,” said UW-Richland CEO/Dean Dr. Patrick Hagen. “Many have benefitted and continue to benefit from health and recreation opportunities at Symons Recreation Complex. Past and present student residents at Campus View and their families have the option of convenient and comfortable housing because of him. Many returning adult students have and continue to benefit from the Indian Hollow Scholarships established by John and Edie Symons.”

Symons served on the board of the UW-Richland Foundation starting in 1981. He was the owner/operator of Indian Hollow Farms, an orchard and nursery in rural Richland County, established after his retirement from Symons Manufacturing Company, a family business established by his father in the Chicago area. Born September 16, 1911, John Symons died March 13, 2013 at the age of 101.

In addition to current UW-Richland CEO/Dean Hagen, three former campus leaders plan to participate—CEO/Deans Dr. Don Gray (1979-1984), Dr. Dion Kempthorne (1990-2001) and Jean Birkett, who served as acting CEO/Dean 1989-1990. Molly Symons, John’s daughter, will be there for the celebration of her father’s life.

The event, organized by the UW-Richland Foundation, will be followed by a reception in the Wallace Student Center on campus, 1200 Highway 14 West. The Foundation welcomes those who knew and served with John Symons on the Foundation board, Campus View board, and his community friends. For more information, contact the UW-Richland Foundation by email at or by calling (608) 647-6186, Extension 278. ###


Dorothy Thompson
608.647.6186, ext. 231