Nancy McMahon
1938 - 2021
September 11, 1938
January 23, 2021

McMahon, Nancy Chase

SUN PRAIRIE - A force of nature, a teller of stories, champion of underdogs, a woman who cared. Historian, genealogist, keeper of family secrets, seeker of justice. Nancy Chase McMahon was born on Sept. 11, 1938, to Theodore and Marcella Dolan Chase in Sun Prairie, Wis., and left this world suddenly on Jan. 23, 2021. Nancy was the third of six children, and part of the fifth generation to be born in Sun Prairie. She cared deeply about Sun Prairie history and was proud to be of service to the community.

Nancy married her partner in life, John "Jack" McMahon, on June 1, 1957, at the tender age of 18. Together they raised four children, Patrick, Amanda, Michelle, and Daniel, as well as taking several others into their hearts and home, including Mary Walker, Carol Knechtges Johnson, and Greg Knechtges. She gave them all magic and adventures.

From raising children, Nancy ventured into being an advocate for public television. She was a founding member of "Friends for Channel 21," consulted on children's television programs including "Carrascolendas," "Freestyle," and "Checking It Out," all of which aired nationally on public television. She was chairperson of ACNO (Associated Counsels of National Organizations) which was the advisory board for CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting), testified before congressional committees and lobbied for more funding for children's broadcasting. She was one of the first female lobbyists in Wisconsin. One of her greatest accomplishments was the groundbreaking establishment of KIDS4, a first in the world local television station run for and by kids that achieved national acclaim. In 1981 she purchased WMAD FM and put WERU AM (later WMAD AM) on the air. After her radio career, Nancy served as Development Director for Edgewood College. She was deeply committed to saving the Crosse House and Sun Prairie history, including being actively involved in the 20th Century Club. Nancy was a long-standing member of TEMPO Madison, an organization dedicated to women leaders with diverse backgrounds. When once asked how to describe herself, she said "If tenacity is one of my virtues, then stubbornness may be one of my faults."

In later years, she was proud to be called "Nanny" by her grandchildren and devoted much of her time to caring for Jack. She loved spending time at their lake property in Northern Wisconsin that she considered her own piece of heaven.

Nancy was welcomed into heaven by her husband, John; her parents, Theodore and Marcella Chase; sisters, Diane Chase Worzala and Susan Chase Dean; brother, David Chase; brother-in-law, Frank Worzala; sister-in-law, Janet Chase; and daughter-in-law, Valerie McMahon. Left to mourn her are sons, Patrick McMahon and Daniel (Jeane) McMahon; daughters, Amanda (William) Gordon and Michelle (Kevin) Koessl; grandchildren, John (Shandi) Shipp, Jason Shipp, Sean McMahon, Kodiak Koessl, Jackson McMahon, and Jacinda Feary; great-grandchildren, Saraphin and Ethan Shipp; brothers, Byron Chase and Theodore (Cynthia) Chase; countless nieces and nephews; and many, many friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. ALBERT THE GREAT CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2420 St. Albert the Great Drive, Sun Prairie, on Monday, Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. with Monsignor Donn Heiar presiding. A private visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass. Interment will follow immediately at Sacred Hearts Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the or Sacred Hearts Endowment Fund ( or Crosse House (

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal."

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1310 Emerald Terrace, Sun Prairie

(608) 837-9054

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Published by on Jan. 27, 2021.
10:00a.m. - 11:00a.m.
2420 St. Albert the Great Drive, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Mass of Christian Burial
2420 St. Albert the Great Drive, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Sacred Hearts Cemetery
Funeral services provided by:
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service - Sun Prairie
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6 Entries
We remember when Nancy remembered us at Christmas and was sweet enough to give us gifts during that time. She was an amazing lady and will be missed.
Sophia Walker and Jake Walker
January 31, 2021
What a special lady. She led a purposeful life with integrity and grace. Thank you for sharing her with the world.
Jon Vinje
January 29, 2021
My heart goes out to you for your loss. I met Nancy when she enrolled Sean in the Huntington Learning Center. I had several meetings with her and thoroughly enjoyed her stories and her wisdom.
Diane Ambrose
January 27, 2021
My condolences to Ted and the whole Chase and McMahon families.
Rebecca Chase
January 27, 2021
Great lady from a great family.
David Blaska
January 27, 2021
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
The Staff of Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
January 27, 2021