John Senn
John Senn
John Senn

Obituary of John Senn

A funeral service for John Senn, 78, of Spirit Lake, will be held Monday, July 22, 2019 at 10:30AM at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Spirit Lake. Burial will be at Lakeview Cemetery. Visitation will be on Sunday, July 21 from 3:00-5:00pm at Turner Jenness Funeral Home in Spirit Lake. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Iowa Rock-n-Roll Music Association.

John Delbert Senn was born on Sept. 29, 1940 in Ocheyedan to Hans and Fern (Morfitt) Senn. He graduated from Harris High School in 1958.

He was united in marriage to Naomi Wilson on Sept. 2, 1960 in Spirit Lake. The couple has resided in Spirit Lake ever since.

John was a valuable member of the workforce at Berkleys, Arts Way and Polaris until his retirement. He was also an entrepreneur and visionary. John was co-founder of the Iowa Great Lakes Recording Studio in Milford. Musicians from as far away as Nashville would come to record at IGL; one of only two recording studios in Iowa in the 1960s.

John was the Jay in Dee Jay & the Runaways, who traveled the United States and Canada. The band appeared on Dick Clark's "Where the Action Is", taping that event on the deck of the USS Forrestal, docked in Virginia. He also played in a total of 15 bands throughout his performing career and has been inducted into the Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.

Community service was important to John. He belonged to Toastmasters, Kiwanis, served on the board of The Berkley Credit Union and several boards at Immanuel Lutheran Church. He was currently an elected member of the Iowa Great Lakes Sanitary District Board.

John was co-founder of the Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association in 1997. The association built its first museum in 2003 and last month opened the new facility under his guidance and leadership as CEO. His dream and desire to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in the state of Iowa and beyond will continue.

In addition to his Hall of Fame inductions, John was chosen a University of Okoboji Winter Games Cheerleader and was inducted into the Iowa Navy by the Iowa Navy Commodores back in 1996. This past winter he was named the Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis Citizen of the Years for his vast contributions to the Iowa Great Lakes Region.

John passed away on Thursday, July 18 at Lakes Regional Healthcare in Spirit Lake after a courageous battle with lung disease. He is now playing guitar and singing harmony with his many friends and fellow musicians in Heaven.

John is survived by: wife of 58 years Naomi; daughters Deborah (Jon) Brekke and Kimberly (Dale) Heide; grandchildren Brent (Sarah) Brekke, Amanda (Josh) Chilson, Heather Heide, Austin Heide; great-grandson Landon Brekke; and sister Shirley (Senn) Finnern.

He was preceded in death by his parents Hans and Fern.