In Memory of




Obituary for Dr. Michael L. Lenza

Dr. Michael L. Lenza, husband of Sherry and father to Michael and James River (Lucy Doss), passed away peacefully at home beside his family and Peko after a short illness on Thursday, May 18, 2023.

Mike was born in St. Louis, MO, on November 27, 1953, the son of the late John and Faith Doris (Montgomery) Lenza. On June 12, 1992, he married Sherry Pryer in Springfield, MO. Mike graduated with a degree in Sociology from Missouri State University in Springfield in 1993. Mike enjoyed spending quality time with his family, friends and nature while cooking, backpacking, bicycling, canoeing, fishing, gardening, painting and later publishing scholarly articles. He continued his education at the University of Missouri-Columbia and earned Master degrees in Sociology and Rural Sociology as well as a PhD in Sociology in 2005. Mike taught Criminal Justice/Sociology for three years at Bluffton, OH, before settling in Oshkosh, WI, as a tenured professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh from 2008 until 2023.

Michael is also survived by devoted sisters Carilyn (Ron) Arkin, Madelaine (Bobby) Dixon, and Marcia (Tom) Cravens; mother-in-law Ann Christenson; brothers-in-law Doug Pryer and Tim, Dan and David Christenson; sons Anthony and Zachary; uncle Jesse Montgomery; great friends PJ, Laura, Anthony, and Kayla Modrell; Steve (Donna) Richards; and numerous cousins. He was involved in the lives of many nieces and nephews who include at least ten namesakes. He was preceded in death by his parents, his father-in-law Don Christenson, his brother Douglas Lenza, and his brother-in-law Steve Pryer. His three service dogs, Andy, Lucy, and Biscuit, and his beloved birds, Petey, Birdie, and Honey, preceded him in death as well.

The family of Michael Lenza expresses their gratitude and thanks to the many medical professionals and caregivers who cared for him. Niece Gerjuanda Cochren and sister Marcia deserve special thanks for their assistance during his final months. It is Mike’s wish to have a Celebration of Life to be held at a later date.