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1945 John 2024

John W. Eichenseher

October 23, 1945 — June 28, 2024

Madison

John Walter Eichenseher, age 78, finished his remarkable life journey on June 28, 2024, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. 

He was born and raised in Valparaiso, Indiana. He lost his father at the age of two, and was raised by his mom, who struggled to make ends meet. Inspired by his high school math teacher, he participated in Indiana state math competitions and became the first in his family to attend college. Taking a break in his studies, he joined the US Air Force, where he was trained as a Chinese linguist. Being in the Air Force profoundly changed him through his friendships and extensive experiences in Japan and Vietnam. 

He then finished his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Hawaii. Returning to the mainland, he tried law school and a master’s program in Chinese studies before finally settling into an MBA and PhD in accounting from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After a stint at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana he became a tenured professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he worked for more than 20 years. He was especially proud of the numerous interdisciplinary student trips he led to China. During sabbaticals he also worked in Malaysia and Indonesia. After he retired he spent two years as the Dean of Keimyung University's Adams College in Daegu, South Korea. 

He loved to read, especially world history, and was rarely seen without a book in hand. He took stamp collecting to another level, with significant collections from most countries. He was also a passionate lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears and loved all animals, especially his cats. He instilled a love of learning, social justice, and travel in his four children. His dry sense of humor and practical jokes will be missed. Many an unsuspecting person ended up with bunny ears in family photos. He will also be missed for his global perspective and ability to discuss in detail an amazingly wide range of topics. He lives on through his family. He was proceeded in death by his father, Walter, his mother, Clara, his sister, Carol, niece Michele, and daughter Sarah. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Gloria, who lovingly cared for him during his battle with Alzheimer’s, his daughters Tasha (Patrick) and Alena, son Joseph (Ann), and his three grandchildren, Isabelle, Emma, and Moses. May John finally rest in peace.   

Many thanks to the wonderful Agrace Hospice Memory Care staff that cared for John these last six months.  

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