Rennert, James "Jim" Merle
James "Jim" Merle Rennert, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend passed away with family surrounding him on July 9, 2014, after a long illness.
James Merle Rennert of Oshkosh was born March 19, 1938, in his family home in Oshkosh, the son of Murle and Lorraine (Putnam) Rennert. He was married to Kaye "Kate" Alderson on Oct. 11, 1986, in Oshkosh.
After attending St. Peter's Catholic School and then Oshkosh High School, James served briefly in the United States Navy. Being the family patriarch, he returned home to help care for his mother and family. He became a journeyman electrician and plumber and an excellent painter and contractor. Over time, he owned his own business of Heritage Improvements. In addition, he worked in many other fields. Jim was employed with the Chicago & NorthWestern Railroad, was experienced in trucking, worked as a mechanic for Montgomery Ward, helped the Post Office as a substitute mail carrier, was a part-time orderly for the Alexian Brothers Home, was a security guard, and worked with the IATSE 470 Stagehands Union. Jim was also a proud Packers fan and enjoyed being a gatekeeper for the team in the early 1960s. He was honored to have met Vince Lombardi and made friends with some of the team members of that era. When not working, Jim enjoyed time spent with family, participating with Oshkosh Community Players and The Company for Wisconsin Arts, and working on cars.
He was fiercely proud of his Native American and French Canadian heritage. He greatly enjoyed a trip to Quebec, Canada, to visit ancestral sites. He loved to tell stories of his travels throughout the United States, Mexico and Central America. He loved meeting many celebrities of the film and music industries when he had lived in California for a short time.
Anyone who knew him no doubt sat down on a "break" for coffee and a good discussion of sorts. He had a large circle of friends, and his greatest enjoyment in life was to help people. No matter the time of day or the weather, when the phone would ring he would not hesitate to go and help with whatever the problem was.
Those who knew Jim knew he had a special affinity for animals. Pets and wild animals would seek him out, flock, or show up where he was. He made an instant bond with all animals.
Jim is survived by his wife, Kate; two sons, Eric (Kelly) Rennert and Jameson "Jamie" Rennert, both of Oshkosh; two daughters, Victoria "Tory" (Craig) Krystek and Molly Rennert, both of Oshkosh; one sister, Gloria Stache of Green Bay; and two brothers, Bruce and Russell Rennert, both of Oshkosh. Jim was very proud of his nine grandchildren: Jozie, Bryce and Brady Rennert (Eric); Deanna, Jordan, Justice and Annastasia Krystek (Victoria); Karlee and Addyson (Jamie). He is also survived by his former wife and her husband, Mary Kay and Paul Jennerjahn, with whom he remained good friends; his mother-in-law, Joanne Alderson; one brother-in-law, Mick (Teri) Alderson; and three sisters-in-law; Jaye Alderson, Ann (Scott) Biba and Erica Alderson (Eric Swanson). Jim is also survived by many nieces and nephews, other relatives and close friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Roger.
The family would like to thank the wonderful caring nurses, caregivers and staff of Heartland Hospice Care. All of you have helped the family through this process and all have made him smile. Thank you.
At Jim's request, a private family memorial service will be held. Thank you for your understanding.
Published in Oshkosh Northwestern on July 11, 2014