Cover photo for Rodney M. Coenen's Obituary
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Rodney M. Coenen

April 15, 1929 — October 27, 2023


Rodney M. Coenen

Rodney Marcus Coenen, April 15, 1929 – October 27, 2023, strove to live life as a rationalist. Rod was born in Madison WI, raised with five siblings in the Wingra Park neighborhood where lions roaring from the nearby zoo helped shape his dreams. Rod was a model of diligence, finding ways to be productive, helpful, and uncomplaining. Whether housekeeping, pursuing mineral collecting or restoring a mechanical clock in later years, Rod found meaning and joy in doing.

Rodney attended Madison West High School before graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1950 with a B.S. degree in geology. He then served in the army in Korea from 1951 to 1953. After his discharge, Rodney curated museum exhibits at the Wisconsin State Historical Society where he met his future wife Jean M. Schrup who worked as a cataloguer. The two married in 1951 and moved to Champaign, Illinois where Rodney began architectural studies at the University of Illinois. 

Upon graduation in 1960, Rodney embarked on a career as an architect with Shattuck, Siewert & Associates in Neenah. The young family of three arrived in the Fox Valley with a trailer towed behind a 1950 Chevrolet Power Glide tropical blue coupe. Rodney enjoyed a rewarding 34-year career before retiring in 1994 as vice president of Miller Wagner Coenen McMahon.

Rod is survived by: his sister Carol Coenen, OP; his children Nicholas (Liz) Coenen, Johanna Coenen, Peter (Sue) Coenen, and Toby (Colleen Frost) Coenen; and grandchildren Elizabeth, Daniel and David. He is also survived by his brother-in-law Bill Evans, and sister-in-law Theo Dahl; and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his spouse Jean Coenen; parents Joseph F. and Edna Littel Coenen; Jean’s parents Myrtle and Edmund Schrup; siblings Francis “Bud” (Dodie) Coenen, Mary Helen (Earl) Chamberlin, Lois Evans; and Charles Coenen; and brother- and sister-in-law John (Sally) Schrup. 

Rodney was grateful for the support he received the past year, especially from Senior Helpers of Appleton, Compassus Hospice and the devoted staff at Touchmark.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation made in memory of Rodney to the Quest for Truth Scholarship Fund supporting students with financial need at the UW Oshkosh - Fox Valley campus; or the Rodney M and Jean M Coenen Fund supporting social needs in the Fox Valley. Contact the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region 920.830.1290, to arrange fund or scholarship donations.

Alternatively, a gift can be made to: the Thorium Energy Alliance advocating advanced energy technology to mitigate climate change; Native Knowledge 360, a teacher/student resource offering accurate information about indigenous western hemisphere people; or a charity of your choice.

If you wish, online condolences may be submitted to Wichmann Funeral Home.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rodney M. Coenen, please visit our flower store.


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