Mark R. Seiler
Mark Roy Seiler, 73, Stevens Point, a professor emeritus at
the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) and author of a book on the
Stevens Point Jewish community, died Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, at Ministry St. Michael’s
Hospital in Stevens Point.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19,
at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stevens Point.
Visitation will be at Boston Funeral Home in Stevens Point from
4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, and at the church from 9 a.m. Saturday until the
Memorials may be made to the Seiler Scholarship Fund at the
UWSP Foundation or to the Beth Israel Museum through the Portage County
Condolences may be offered online at
Mr. Seiler was born April 30, 1942, in La Crosse, a son of the
late Carl A. Seiler and Alice M. Fortney. As a high school student in La
Crosse, he was an American Field Service summer exchange student to Germany, an
experience which set him on his career path.
He graduated from UW-Madison with a major in German and
minor in history. When pursuing a doctorate in Madison, he spent an academic
year studying in Bonn, Germany.
He was married to Jan Jopling, a fellow student in the
program, Aug. 30, 1969, after they returned from the program.
They both began teaching German at UWSP that fall.
He was a professor of German at UWSP for 35 years until
retiring in 2004 and served for more than 10 years as the chair of the
Department of Foreign Languages. During his tenure at UWSP, he won grants to
support 10 summer German institutes designed to help high school German
teachers improve their language skills, cultural knowledge and pedagogical
In recognition of his work with teachers, he was awarded the
Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers’ Distinguished Foreign
Language Educator award in 2001. He was also awarded UWSP’s faculty service
award for his leadership in faculty governance and on numerous faculty
In support of UWSP’s study abroad program in Germany, Mr.
Seiler guided many student groups to Magdeburg, Germany, orienting them and
getting them settled in for their study abroad experience.
For many years he sang in choirs, including 40 years in the Trinity
Lutheran Church choir and in the Monteverdi Chorale.
He served on the boards of a number of community
organizations, including the Monteverdi Chorale, the Portage County Cultural
Festival, Portage County Historical Society and UWSP’s Historic Preservation
Committee. He also served on the Trinity Lutheran Church Council.
After his retirement in 2004, he devoted himself to research
in local history, writing a book “The Jewish Community of Stevens Point,” and
serving as summer curator of the Historical Society’s Beth Israel Museum.
He was also active in UWSP’s LIFE (Learning Is ForEver)
program, serving as president and on the Curriculum Committee for more than 10
years. He presented a LIFE number of classes on local history and hosted many
more, often serving as the unofficial technology guru for guest presenters.
Survivors include his wife, Jan; one daughter, Gretchen
Seiler (Keith) Firkus, Stevens Point; one son, Andrew Mark (Nicole) Seiler,
Milwaukee; one brother, David (Linda), New Hampshire; and
two nieces, Megan Cohen and Katie Seiler, Boston, Mass.