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Kennet Mitchell Oberly, 59, of La Crosse passed away peacefully Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, at home, following a courageous battle with ALS. He leaves behind a legacy of love, inspiration and art that will touch countless lives for years to come.

Kennet was born to Jolanda and John Oberly Jan. 4, 1957, in Pittsfield, Mass. There he developed an early passion for and fascination with ballet, especially choreography. At 14, Kennet moved to Germany, to study with renowned choreographer John Cranko of the Stuttgart Ballet. After two years in Germany, he traveled the world, first as a professional dancer and then as a choreographer and teacher.

His travels took him to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and to many distinguished stages, but it was his visit to Estonia, that changed his life. While visiting as a guest choreographer for the Estonian National Ballet, Kennet and the principal ballerina, Larissa (Sintsova) fell in love and married on June 12, 1993, in Tallinn, Estonia. They were devoted partners in both art and life.

The Oberlys came to La Crosse, in 2010, to build a professional ballet training program and ballet company with Misty Lown of Misty’s Dance Unlimited. Since that time, Kennet has instructed hundreds of young dancers. While some are well on their way to professional ballet careers, all have witnessed and embraced his passion, perseverance and grace.

Kennet is survived by his soulmate and wife, Larissa Oberly; sister, Erin Oberly; and brothers, Brandon Oberly and Mark Oberly. He is further survived by his beloved, and heartbroken, ballet students and colleagues.

Memorials may be sent to The Kennet Oberly Benefit Fund, Coulee Bank, 1516 Losey Blvd., La Crosse, 54601, or by visiting

A celebration of life service will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, at First Free Church, 123 Mason St., Onalaska. Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. until the time of the service Friday at the church. Coulee Region Cremation Group is assisting the family.

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General assignment reporter

Emily Pyrek covers human interest stories, local events and anything involving dogs for the La Crosse Tribune. She is always interested in story ideas and can be contacted at

the life of: Kennet Mitchell Oberly
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