Called “Milwaukee’s No. 1 philanthropist,” Jane Bradley Pettit (1918-2001) earned the respect of an entire city as a result of her selfless giving to educational, cultural, and entertainment causes.
Jane Bradley Pettit was born Margaret Jane Sullivan to Dwight Sullivan and Margaret “Peg” Blakney Sullivan. After they divorced, Harry Lynde Bradley, a co-founder with his brother Lynde Bradley of the Allen-Bradley Company, married Peg in 1926, adopted Margaret and changed her name to Jane Bradley. Jane was educated at the Lake School for Girls, Milwaukee-Downer Seminary, and Milwaukee University School before attending college at Principia in St. Louis. She also attended Finch College in New York City in the drama department. Jane Bradley married Grant Hart Messinger on December 9, 1941, but the marriage lasted only 17 months. In early 1945, she married David Vogel Uihlein Sr., an heir to the Schlitz Brewing Company. The couple had a daughter, Lynde, and a son, David Vogel Uihlein Jr. The marriage ended in divorce, and she married sports broadcaster Lloyd Pettit in 1969.
Pettit became a visible presence in the local philanthropic community in the 1970s and 1980s. Jane and Lloyd Pettit purchased the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team in 1976. The sale of Allen-Bradley to Rockwell International in the mid-1980s provided her with resources for major giving. In 1985 she started the Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation. The foundation provided money for the BMO Harris Bradley Center, the Lynde & Harry Bradley Technology and Trade High School on 700 South 4th Street, and the Pettit National Ice Center. In 2000 alone, the foundation made more than 160 grants to various causes. Pettit gave $13 million to help build the Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum and donated additional funds to help purchase Georgia O’Keeffe paintings. She shared with her mother a love of art, and credited her father’s treatment of the people who worked for him as the guiding light of her philanthropy.
- ^ Pete Millard and Julie Sneider, “Jane Pettit Was Philanthropist beyond Compare,” Milwaukee Business Journal, September 16, 2001, accessed July 13, 2016.
- ^ Lois Blinkhorn, “Harry Bradley: ‘People Person,’” The Milwaukee Journal, September 25, 1988, 18; “Jane Bradley Wed Here to David Vogel Uihlein,” The Milwaukee Journal, January 12, 1945, 6; Mary Van De Kamp, “Jane’s Gift,” Milwaukee Magazine, November 2001, 52-53.
- ^ Amy Silvers, “Ex-Sportscaster Gave Generously,” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 12, 2003, 1a, 13a.
- ^ Van De Kamp, “Jane’s Gift,” 54; John Gurda, The Bradley Legacy: Lynde and Harry Bradley, Their Company, and Their Foundation (Milwaukee: Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, 1992), 152; “Letter from the Board,” Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation website, accessed on July 11, 2015; Pete Millard and Julie Sneider, “Jane Pettit Was Philanthropist beyond Compare,” Milwaukee Business Journal, September 16, 2001.
- ^ Alan J. Borsuk, “A Legacy of Gifts to the City She Loved,” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 11, 2001, 1A, 6A.