There is plenty of testimony to the decency and kindness of Tom Metcalfe, former Monona mayor, supermarket magnate, and all-around good guy. Doug Moe noted in The Capital Times:
TOM METCALFE was such a genuinely nice guy that even Secret Service agents were charmed by him.
Metcalfe, who had been battling cancer and died here Sunday at 70, was widely known as mayor of Monona for much of the 1990s, as well as the founder of Bratfest, the world's largest brat fry, which began as a way for the grocery store magnate to "meet a few of my neighbors."
But a significant part of his legacy has got to be that virtually everyone who knew him liked him. Of how many can that be said? Especially someone who is wealthy, and a politician besides?
"He was not impressed with himself," Harold Polzer was saying Sunday. "Anyone could feel comfortable around him."
Bill Christofferson, who didn't know Metcalfe except by reputation, thought the grocer's passing needed a mention. I agree.
I worked with Tom as a mayor and as a citizen. He was smart, and dedicated to making Monona a better place. Under his watch, Monona renewed its infrastructure and its pride as a place to live.
Tom was, above all, nice. But not just nice; he lived it. He instilled it in his employees and he showed it to his customers. He treated his employees with dignity and respect. He made sure his customers, regardless of age, were treated well. He made sure both his store and the Hilldale Mall were accessible and friendly to everyone, especially those with disabilities.
There are a lot of management books out there that talk about service, about respect, and about trust. Tom trusted everyone and they trusted him. He didn't need a book. He was a class act.