Tony Earl, Wisconsin’s 41st governor who served from 1983 to 1987, has died at age 86, Gov. Tony Evers announced on Thursday.
Evers ordered the flags of the United States and the state of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff as the state of Wisconsin honors Earl’s service and contributions to the state.
“It has been an extraordinary honor and a privilege to know former Gov. Earl, and Kathy and I are heartbroken today to announce his passing,” said Gov. Evers in a statement. “A formidable leader and public servant, trusted colleague and mentor, and a good and loyal friend, Tony was well-liked and respected by so many. Tony was always a staunch defender of our state’s proud traditions, including conservation, and his passing is a significant loss for our state and for all who had the fortune of meeting and serving with him. His wisdom and wit will be well missed. Kathy and I send our deepest condolences to his daughters and his family during this tremendously difficult time, and we join the people of Wisconsin in mourning the loss of former Gov. Earl.”
Former Gov. Earl’s lasting legacy is marked by his devout support of stewardship and conservation during his time both as governor and as secretary of the DNR, according to a press release from the governor’s office. In addition to serving on several boards and commissions, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Subcommittee on Energy, Clean Air and Climate Change, the Center for Clean Air Policy, and the Great Lakes Protection Fund, in 2019, Gov. Earl was honored with the renaming of the Peshtigo River State Forest as the “Governor Earl Peshtigo River State Forest.”
Earl is survived by his four daughters, Julia Earl, Anne Earl, Maggie Earl Shore, Kitty Earl-Torniainen, and 11 grandkids: Lucy, Eamon, Jack, Ben, Ash, Henry, Deirdre, Will, Silja, Aili, and Kai.