William Renz

Obituary of William Andrew Renz

WILLIAM ANDREW RENZ died on September 17, 2023 in Cincinnati. He was 89 years old. ​After attending Howe Military School as a middle-schooler, he graduated from Wyoming High School in 1952. He received his BA in Industrial Engineering from University of Alabama in 1956, and worked in chemical engineering for most of his career. ​Bill was married to Carolin (“Rat”) Smith for over 66 years. Bill is survived by Rat, daughter Cynthia First, son Bill Renz, and daughter-in-law Laura Renz. His son Andrew Renz predeceased him in 2004. He and Rat have 5 grandchildren (Emma [Lane] Elliott, Eleanor First, Meredith Renz, Griffin Renz and Crystal Renz), and two great-grandchildren, Audrey (6) and Blair (3). ​The cottage his parents purchased on Lake Michigan when he was just 4 years old remained his touchstone for his entire life. He grew up in summers there, and met and married Rat in Omena, where the cottage was located. He made lifelong friends in Omena, and was a founding member of the Omena Traverse Yacht Club, recently receiving a lifetime membership as the oldest surviving original member. He served as commodore there, as had his father and father-in-law. Although they raised their children in Cincinnati, he and Rat made sure that their children also grew up on the lake, teaching them boating skills and making sure they had plenty of summer activities as Rat would take the children there for most of each summer, barely returning home in enough time to get school supplies and start school in the fall. Bill came up on the weekends and delighted his children with blueberry pancakes and sausage breakfasts every Sunday morning. ​During WWII, Bill contracted polio and convalesced in the Omena cottage with his mother, Marjorie (1901 – 1993), and sister, Holly, who predeceased him in 2005. His father, Andrew C. Renz, served as a doctor in the Navy on Tinian and Guam during this time. When his father returned from the war, he did not recognize his wife at the train station into which he arrived, as her hair had turned white while he was away. Certainly caring for two children on her own (and one with polio) was enough stress during the war to turn anyone’s hair white! Although the symptoms of polio subsided while he was an adult, they returned when he got older and he faced post-polio syndrome, which made walking painful. He would tell everyone that he was perfectly healthy except that it hurt him to walk. He was a board member and active in the Cincinnati Polio Connection in his later years. To say Bill was a car nut is to minimize his connection with motor vehicles. He could name any car on the road by year, make, model and engine. Watching TV or a movie with him could easily elicit a comment from him noting that the dubbed in sound of an engine was not properly matched to the vehicle on the screen. He taught his children and grandchildren to drive and each of them became “road warriors”, easily driving the 500 miles from home in Cincinnati to the cottage in Michigan in record times. He was an active member of the Mercedes Benz Club of Cincinnati, and later found a love of Jaguars, an obsession he shared with his daughter. ​Bill was also a boat lover, owning everything from a small runabout to a Chris Craft cabin cruiser. He loved being out on the water. Even in his later years when walking was difficult, his son made sure he got out on the water for a trip around Grand Traverse Bay. Bill and son Bill loved to work on boats together as well as feel the wind through their hair on rides all over. ​Services for Bill were held at Church of Ascension and Holy Trinity in Wyoming, Ohio. He was buried in the Hilltop (Omena) Cemetery shortly thereafter. In between, friends and family gathered to toast the unique contributions he had made to their lives. His booming laugh and generous heart will be missed. ​Memorial donations may be made to the Omena Presbyterian Church, PO Box 187, Omena, MI 49674), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (PO Box 22324, New York, NY 10087), Future Care Fund (Maple Knoll Communities, 11100 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45246), or the charity of your choice.
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