MADISON - Professor Emeritus Alfred Erich Senn, age 83, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in his home, surrounded by his family.
Alfred Erich Senn was born in Madison, Wis., on April 12, 1932. His Swiss father, Herr Dr. Alfred Senn and Lithuanian mother, Marija Vedlugaite, along with sisters Marie and Elfrieda Senn, had newly emigrated from Lithuania to the United States.
Al was deeply interested in east European political history, World War II espionage in Switzerland, and later the influence of politics on sports. He received a B.A. in 1953 from the University of Pennsylvania and then an M.A. in 1955 and a Ph.D. in 1958 from Columbia University in East European history. He taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and also as Doctor Honoris Causa at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. Over his career, Al authored eight books, several monographs, and numerous scholarly articles. His publications are still in use by universities around the world. In 2004, Al (Alfredas Erichas Sennas to Lithuanians) was awarded the Officer of the Order of Vytautas the Great Cross, a presidential honor conferred on heads of Lithuania and foreign states, as well as their citizens, for distinguished services to the State of Lithuania.
For all of Al's success in academics, what he loved most was his family - he would do anything for family and enjoyed nothing more than spending time with them. As his children grew up, he never missed an opportunity to brag about them. And as his children became parents, he redoubled his enthusiastic sharing of grandchildren accomplishments to whomever would listen and proudly sported the title emblazoned on his prize baseball cap - "Opa".
Al is survived by his wife of 59 years, LaVonne Ann Young Senn, and loving family including children, Ann Senn (Mark Ambrosen), Eric Senn, Theresa Senn Hendrickson (Jon Hendrickson), and Tom Senn (Mark Manion); along with grandchildren, Matt Senn (Erika Mikulec), Christina Senn, Molly Senn Sygulla (Will Klein), Kaiya Senn Sygulla, Brea Senn Hendrickson, Delaney Senn Ambrosen, and Zachary Senn Ambrosen. Al is also survived by an extended family of very dear relations and friends across the United States, Lithuania, Germany, Switzerland, and other parts of Europe. He will be deeply missed by many.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, March 14, 2016, at BLESSED SACRAMENT CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2115 Rowley Ave., Madison. The family will greet friends from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., followed by a blessing at 10:45 a.m., and a Mass of Christian Burial from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. The family will host a celebration of Al's life on April 12, 2016 (Al's birthday) with details to follow.
Should friends desire, contributions may made to support the work of UW physical therapy students in Uganda. Checks can be written to UWDPT Global Health memo: Uganda. Mail to: Kaiya Sygulla at 1300 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706.
Please share your memories at www.CressFuneralService.com.