Anne Nicol Gaylor, a co-founder of the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, has died. A statement on the group’s website said the 88 year-old Gaylor died just before midnight on Sunday at a hospice in Fitchburg. She had been hospitalized since May 30 following a fall at in her independent living apartment in Madison.
Gaylor formed FFRF with her daughter Annie Laurie Gaylor in 1976, and served as the organization’s president from 1978 to 2004, a period which saw it grow into a nationally prominent group. Under Gaylor’s leadership, FFRF filed lawsuits challenging religious pracices in government organizations and schools, including things like Christmas Natitivity scenes on public property.
Survivors include her daughters-in-law, Lisa Strand, Nancy McClements and Carrie Gaylor and son-in-law Dan Barker, current FFRF co-president with Annie Laurie. One of her three brothers survives, Tom Nicol, 89, of Minnesota, a longtime FFRF member.
No memorial service will be held, at her request. And her tombstone in her family’s plot in Sparta will be inscribed “Feminist – activist – free thinker.”