Madison- John Henry Kjentvet passed away at the age of 66 on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at UW Hospital, surrounded by his family after several months in the hospital.
John was born on January 13, 1957 in Mondovi, Wisconsin, the first child of Jerrine and Gordon Kjentvet. He grew up in Mondovi with his two younger sisters, Amy and Lisa. He made many lifelong friends in Mondovi that he kept in touch with and could always be counted on to be there when needed. After graduating from high school, he moved to Milwaukee, where he attended Milwaukee Area Technical College, earning an Associate degree in Mortuary Science in 1980. He returned to Mondovi to take up the family business with his father at Kjentvet and Son Funeral Home. John then moved to Madison in 1984 and worked as a funeral director for Cress Funeral Service. He met the love of his life, Lisa Reichl, in a production of The Mikado with the Madison Savoyards. The two bonded over their mutual love of music, and were married on June 27, 1992 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church.
John sought further education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Psychology in 1995. With his degree in hand, he pursued a career in pharmaceutical sales, where he worked primarily at Merck. Throughout his twenty year career, he earned numerous awards and honors, and met many wonderful and cherished colleagues. Following his retirement from Merck in 2018, he finished his career at Exact Sciences.
John’s lively personality and infectious laughter served him well, both professionally and personally. He was a man with a quick wit, brilliant mind, beautiful tenor voice, and a passion for life. Often described as the life of the party, John had a knack for forming relationships wherever life took him, and always cared for others more than himself. He enjoyed playing cards, reading the newspaper, doing his morning crossword puzzles, and was an avid Packers and Badgers fan. He loved to cook, entertain, and was always a generous host. When the Wisconsin frost wore off, there was no place John loved more than being on his boat on Lake Mendota. John’s true passion resided in the same place his marriage started, with music. He sang in many choirs, including The Philharmonic Chorus of Madison and the Madison Symphony Chorus, even traveling abroad to perform in Germany. Above all else, John loved spending time with his family. He was tremendously proud of his three sons, Michael, Christopher, and Jack, and his wife, Lisa. Though his time with his loved ones was cut short, his legacy will live on through the values he instilled in them and the memories he made with others. He will be greatly missed by his family and all those who loved him.
John is survived by his loving wife, Lisa; sons, Michael (fiancé, Ellen Schuebel), Christopher and Jack Kjentvet; mother, Jerrine Kjentvet of Eau Claire; sister, Amy (Jeff) Segerstrom of Mondovi; sister, Lisa (Jon) Anderson of Maple Grove, MN; father-in-law Charles (Deb McComas) Reichl; brother-in-law Stephen (Christine) Reichl of Minneapolis, MN; sister-in-law Pamela (Paul) Heiser of Green Bay; Karl (Lesley) McComas-Reichl; stepfather-in-law Robert Matthews; and many beloved nieces, nephews and extended family members. He was preceded in death by his father, Gordon Kjentvet; and mother-in-law, Rose Matthews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at ST. THOMAS AQUINAS CATHOLIC CHURCH, 602 Everglade Drive, Madison, with Fr. Bart Timmerman presiding. Visitation will be held from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM on Friday, March 24, 2023 at Cress Center, 6021 University Avenue, Madison, and from 10:00 AM until the time of Mass at church on Saturday. Private burial will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Madison Symphony Orchestra, St. Thomas Aquinas Church or your favorite charity.
Special thanks to Dr. Megan Gratz for her tremendous care for John and our family.
Please share your memories of John by posting on his Tribute Wall.
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