Roger Tenney

July 7, 1930 — August 13, 2023

Roger H. Tenney, born on July 7, 1930, in Litchfield, MN to Ansel and Dina (Lien) Tenney, passed away peacefully on August 13, 2023 at the age of 93. The funeral was held at Bethel Lutheran Church, Northfield, MN, on Sept. 23, with interment to follow at St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery, Owatonna.

After graduating from Litchfield High School in 1948, he studied under Olaf Christiansen at St Olaf College, graduating in 1952. After two years in the Army, he taught choral music and drama in Mountain Lake, MN. In the summer of 1958, while finishing his Master of Music Education Degree at the University of Colorado, Roger met Ethel Humphrey when they were both cast in the same musical; they married in 1959.

Roger taught choral music at Owatonna High School from 1961 until his retirement in 1992. He also taught part-time at St. Olaf for many years. In 1966, Roger was named Minnesota Teacher of the Year, and National Teacher of the Year in 1967. He received the MMEA Choral Educator of the Year Award in 1988, and the F. Melius Christiansen Award in 1991. A founding member of the F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund Committee, he also served as President of ACDA of Minnesota.

His auditioned choir of talented Owatonna singers, the Roger Tenney Chorale, toured Minnesota and surrounding states, and rivaled the quality of many professional ensembles.

Roger will be remembered for his passion for teaching, love for music, zest for life, and a delightful sense of humor. He touched many lives and leaves a lasting legacy in music education. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, former students, and all who knew him. Memorials may be directed to the F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota