In Memory of




Obituary for Roger Herbert Tenney

Roger H. Tenney, 93, of Bloomington, MN, (formerly of Owatonna MN) passed away peacefully
on August 13, 2023. He was born on July 7, 1930, in Litchfield, MN, to Ansel and Dina (Lien)
Roger graduated from Litchfield High School in 1948 and attended St Olaf College, where he
studied under Olaf Christiansen, graduating in 1952. He then proudly served in the U.S. Army
until 1954 when he began teaching 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
fell in love and on June 2, 1959, were married.
In 1961, Roger accepted a choral teaching position at Owatonna High School, where he taught
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 the following year he received
the prestigious title of National Teacher of the Year. He was also the recipient of the MMEA
Choral Educator of the Year Award in 1988, and the F. Melius Christiansen Award in 1991. He
was a founding member of the F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund Committee and was the
President of ACDA of Minnesota.
Roger also formed the Roger Tenney Chorale, auditioning many talented singers from the
Owatonna area. The Chorale toured throughout Minnesota and surrounding states and rivaled
the quality of many professional groups.
Roger is survived by his daughters, Dianne Schori (Tom), Christine Zunker (Richard), and Sharon
Tenney; two of his sisters, Elaine Vangerud and Dorothea Tenney; his grandchildren, Jeffrey
Hrdlichka (Claire), Benjamin Schori (Melissa), Andrew Schori (Andrea), Karlyn Parks (Andrew),
and Jacob Zunker; four great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Roger was preceded in death by his wife, Ethel Tenney, his parents and his sister, Melba
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.
Funeral service Saturday, September 23rd, 2023 at 2 pm ~ Bethel Lutheran Church 1321 North Avenue, Northfield, MN 55057. Visitation beginning at 1 PM. If so desired memorials may be directed to the F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota Interment at a later date ~ St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Owatonna, MN. Service will be live-streamed at
Gill Brothers 612-861-6088