Professor Emeritus Robert A. Sencer " sponsored obituary |

Professor Emeritus Robert A. Sencer " sponsored obituary

POESTENKILL, NY – Professor Emeritus Robert A. Sencer, 86,of Poestenkill, NY, died Sunday, July 15, 2007 at Samaritan Hospital in Troy after an illness.

Born in New York City, he was the son of the late Sidney Sencer and Lavinia (Walsh) Sencer. He married Inez Ford in 1944 in Tucson, Arizona, a marriage lasting 63 years.

He had resided in Averill Park, NY; Bozeman, MT; Grass Valley, CA; Central Point/Medford, OR; and most recently in Poestenkill, NY. He was a graduate of the University of Arizona, received his master’s degree from The Catholic University of America, did post graduate work at Columbia University and New York University, and earned his Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University.

Professor Sencer was a Professor of English and Communication at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 1949-1970 and at Montana State University from 1970-1983, retiring as Professor Emeritus. He was co-founder, staff member and Associate Director of Technical Writer’s Institute at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

In 2000, Professor Sencer was awarded the Technical Communicator Exemplar Award by the Society for Technical Communication at its international meeting in Orlando, Florida. This award, only eight of which have ever been made, is for people whose voices and visions have made the professional journey collegial as well as exciting through teaching, mentoring, and professional example. He was honored for being the co-founder and associate director of the RPI Technical Writers’ Institute and for being a charter member of one of the early professional societies that coalesced to form the Society for Technical Communication.

Active in community affairs, while at RPI, he helped in the formation of the Chapel and Community Center. While in Bozeman, MT, he was involved in the development of Resurrection Parish and building the church. In Central Point, OR, he was an active participant in the Shepherd of the Valley parish with special service in St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. Also while in Central Point, he was President of Friends of the Library and helped spearhead the building of a new library. Over the years Professor Sencer was honored with many awards, had many professional affiliations and published many articles.

Survivors in addition to his wife include a son, Michael Sencer and wife Janice of Poestenkill; a daughter, Barbara Lohrke and husband Darrell of Auburn, CA; and a daughter, Sally Zwiefelhofer and husband Jay of Hermiston, OR; 9 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.

Funeral service will be held Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at St. Henry’s Church, Old Route 66, Averill Park, NY with Rev. John Provost, Pastor, officiating. Interment is to be at St. Henry’s Cemetery in Averill Park.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Professor Sencer to the Rensselaer Newman Foundation, Care Of: Chaplain’s Office, The Student Union, Room 3514, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 Eighth Street, Troy, NY 12180. For a private family guest book and service directions, visit

Arrangements by Bryce Funeral Home Inc. Troy, NY.

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