Glenn Sonnedecker
1917 - 2021
Gunderson Funeral Home - Middleton
7435 University Avenue
Middleton, WI

Sonnedecker, Glenn Allen

MADISON – Glenn Allen Sonnedecker, age 103, of Madison, passed away on Friday, June 25, 2021. He was born on Dec. 11, 1917, in Creston, Ohio, the son of Ira and Leta (Linter) Sonnedecker. He grew up with one brother, Donald. In 1943, he married the former Cleo Bell, and together they raised their son, Stuart, who was born in 1945.

In 1949, Glenn moved to Madison to be the first graduate student in the UW History of Pharmacy Department. In 1952, he became an Associate Professor of History of Pharmacy. From 1955-1956, he was a Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, affording him the opportunity to study in England and Germany. Glenn retired from teaching graduate and undergraduate students in 1986. He had full and honorary memberships in several international pharmacy organizations, and he was both Founder and Director of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy.

Glenn's passions included travel and music. He traveled to international conferences in North America, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East. He equally enjoyed traveling with his family throughout North America and Europe. Glenn's family background includes a history of musical talent, as his mother had played piano in theaters showing silent movies and his brother, Don, was a professional pianist and music teacher. Glenn himself played saxophone in his high school jazz band. He became a lifelong listener of classical and big band music, and collected a library of LPs and CDs, describing himself as "a discriminating collector and audiophile." He preferred chamber music, Bach cantatas, and especially Hayden quartets. Locally, Glenn was a subscriber and supporter to the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Memorial Union Theater concerts; he also supported local musicians.

Glenn was a member of the First Unitarian Society. He also maintained active memberships in the Social Justice Committee and the ACLU.

He was preceded in death by wife, Cleo; brother, Don Sonnedecker; and his parents.

Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson West

Funeral & Cremation Care

7435 University Ave.

(608) 831-6761

Published by on Jun. 27, 2021.
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A graceful obituary for a generous, insightful and gentle man. His death really marks the ending of an era. My thoughts are with those who were closest to him, as you negotiate time and space in his absence.
Judi Benade
June 27, 2021
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