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Frederick I. Kersten

Frederick I. Kersten
Frederick I. Kersten Professor, Humanistic Studies 1/12/95

Frederick Irving "Fred" Kersten passed away December 16, 2012. He was born September 26, 1931 in Niagara Falls, NY to Margaret (Hendricksen) and Irving Wilhelm Kersten. He received a B.A in 1954 from Lawrence College in Appleton, an M.A. in 1959 and Ph.D. in 1964 from the Graduate Faculty for Political and Social Science, The New School for Social Research, New York. He married Raquel (Brik) in Havana, Cuba in 1955. She preceded him in death. He married Karen (McKie Prevetti) in Green Bay in 1994. He was a professor of philosophy from 1962-1969 at the University of Montana at Missoula, 1969-1988 at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay. He went on to be the Frankenthal Professor of philosophy from 1988-1995 at UW-Green Bay. He also was a philosopher in residence from 1988-1995 during the summers for the Graduate School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin at Madison. 

Fred was a founding director of the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, a member of the board of trustees of the National Research Institute for Psychoanalysis and Psychology, and active in three other professional organizations. For many years, he served on the boards of, and contributed articles and book reviews to, five professional journals. His published works also include translations of the words of Aron Gurwitsch, Alfred Schutz, and Edmund Husserl, as well as papers and other studies in various fields of philosophy and phenomenology. His published books include Phenomenology: Theory and Practice (1989; second edition soon to be published under the original title Space, Time and the Other) and Galileo and the Invention of Opera (2001). 

Fred was a voracious reader and collector of books on every conceivable subject. He maintained a voluminous correspondence, finally using a word processor (but never e-mail). His other passions, in addition to his family (feline, human and canine) were his model railroads and music, particularly opera. His wry, subtle sense of humor was treasured by all his friends. Using his knowledge of history, literature, and the arts, he taught the UWGB Humanities course for 10 years with his good friend and music professor Irwin Sonenfield. Living with Fred made Wikipedia unnecessary, for he was truly a "Renaissance Man."

Survivors include his wife, Karen, sons: Stephen Julius (Michael Kingery) of Columbus, OH and Andrew Edmund (Victoria) of Green Bay; brother, Peter Andrew (Linda) of Olathe, KS; nieces Amy (New York City) and Margaret (Leatherhead, England); sisters-in-law Lineve McKie of Ann Arbor, MI and Esther Zilberstein of New York City; Nieces: Maren Jensen of Ann Arbor, MI, and Miriam Ketani of Brooklyn, NY; nephews: Sten Jensen of Arlington, VA, Gil Zilberstein and Israel Zilberstein, and his cairn terrier: Paragon's Hamish MacKay.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Margaret and Irving, and wife, Raquel. 

A celebration of Fred's life, followed by a reception, will be held at Cotter Funeral Home, 860 N. Webster Ave, De Pere (920-336-8702) at 2:30pm on Saturday, December 29. 2012. Online condolences may be expressed at 

Fred's family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to Unity Hospice, 2366 Oak Ridge Circle, De Pere, WI 54115. 

We are deeply grateful to the staff at Unity, especially Carrie and Molly, for their outstanding care and loving concern for Fred. We'd also like to thank Laurie Hockers and all his doctors and nurses, especially those at St. Vincent Radiation Oncology. We so appreciate our dear friends who selflessly provided love, comfort, understanding, and patience during this time.

Online condolences may be expressed at Schauer & Schumacher Funeral Home

(Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from December 23 to December 25, 2012; reprinted with permission from Kevin Corrado, president and publisher, Green Bay Press-Gazette.)

The passing of Prof. Emeritus Frederick I. Kersten

(Posted December 19, 2012, UW-Green Bay Inside blog, UW-Green Bay)

Family, friends, colleagues and former students are mourning the passing of distinguished Prof. Emeritus Frederick I. Kersten, the senior member of UW-Green Bay’s “first family of professors” and a dedicated advocate for interdisciplinary education. He died Sunday (Dec. 16) at age 81. He is survived by his two sons, Andrew and Stephen, as well as his second wife, Karen. Arrangements for a possible memorial service are pending, and will be announced at a future date in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Fred Kersten retired from the University and was awarded the title “emeritus” in 1995. He was a philosophy and humanities scholar who was an early recipient of the Frankenthal Professorship (1984-88) and the Founders Association Award for Excellence in Scholarship (1980).

Raised in Appleton, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Lawrence University and went on to receive master’s and doctoral degrees from the New School for Social Research in New York. He left a tenured position at the University of Montana to join the faculty of the new UW-Green Bay in 1969.

Kersten was a prolific writer of book chapters, scholarly papers and reviews during his UW-Green Bay career. His research was published in journals including the Journal of the History of Philosophy, and the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. He served on the editorial boards for major academic journals and contributed content to the 1995 publication of the Encyclopedia of Phenomenology. He served as director of the Centre for Advanced Research in Phenomenology and as a trustee for the National Research Institute for Psychoanalysis and Psychology. His book Phenomenological Method: Theory and Practice was published in 1989. 

In addition to his regular undergraduate course load at UW-Green Bay, Kersten was for many years a popular instructor in the Extended Degree distance-learning program. He was a frequent presenter at scholarly conferences, seminars and visiting lecture series at venues including Northwestern University, Tulane and UW-Madison, in communities across the United States and Canada.

Kersten’s first wife, Raquel, was also a UW-Green Bay faculty member, and the recipient of a Founders Association award and numerous honors. She was the face of UW-Green Bay’s Spanish and Latin American literature programs during the institution’s first two decades. She passed away in October 1988, at the age of 59.

The Kerstens’ son Andrew is a noted historian and author who joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 1997. Andrew Kersten is the only four-time recipient of the Founders Association Award for Excellence, in recognition of his teaching, scholarship, community outreach and collaborative achievements. Earlier this year he joined UW-Green Bay’s academic administration as associate provost for academic affairs and director of graduate studies.

“My parents were consummate professionals, indefatigable scholars, incredible teachers, caring student mentors, and devoted to the University and community,” Andrew Kersten once said in an interview with the UW-Green Bay institutional magazine. “I learned from both of them the importance and joys of teaching and research.”