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Roger Reno

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Roger Reno Obituary
ROGER RENO, 88 ROCKFORD - Roger Reno, 88, of Rockford, a local attorney and former chairman of AMCORE financial died on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in his home with his family by his side. Born May 16, 1924, in Rockford; the son of Guy B. and Hazel (Kinnear) Reno, longtime Rockford residents. His father practiced law for 55 years and in 1923 founded the firm now known as Reno & Zahm. Roger attended Rockford schools, Garrison, Roosevelt, and West, which are all now closed. Roger stated that he'd seen many changes in his lifetime, and "I've been against every one of them." This decision did not include his marriage on May 17, 1952, to Janice Marie Odelius, nor the birth of their children, Susan, Sheri (David) Rudolph, and Michael. Following his graduation from West High, he started college at Carleton College (Minn.) where he spent one term, and then in January 1943, volunteered in the Air Force, being discharged as a First Lieutenant in March 1946, in order to re-enter Carelton where he graduated in 1947.During his service he spent one year at Kenyon College (Ohio) as a cadet in the meteorology program, and when that was dismantled, was assigned to the electrical communications school at Yale University (Conn.) There he received his commission and was assigned to engage in installation of instrument landing equipment. Following several months of on-site training, ending up at Kearns AFB (Utah), he was scheduled for Burma but, at the last minute, after receiving jungle shots, was shipped off to Edmonton, Alberta, for assignment to Alaska. He spent his final year of service there, with 6 months at Big Delta east of Fairbanks on the Alcon Highway and the remainder at Nome. The reason for these two locations was that they were stations established in order to transport attack planes up to Fairbanks and Nome to be picked up there by the Russians for use against the Germans on the Russian's Western Front. This was a portion of our Lend Lease program worked out with Molotov, whereby we were not allowed to fly the planes into the U.S.S.R. After graduating from Carleton, Roger re-entered Yale for the second time, this time in their law school, where he graduated in 1950, after being told in class by his Germanic insurance professor, Friedrich Kessler, "Mr. Reno, you couldn't be wronger!" With that behind him, and fearing his inability to obtain other work either as a lawyer, weatherman or electrical engineer (having forgotten all skills of the latter two), Roger was given a tentative opportunity at Reno & Zahm. Because his father had forgotten Swedish pronunciation and bragged to his clients that his son was at Yale (Jail), Roger had to be given other duties. Zahm assigned him as truck driver-scab to pick up work-in-progress from a factory on strike and drop it off at a cooperating factory to complete, thus breaking the strike. Fortunately the strikers on the line also thought this was a great idea to punish the company not knowing where work in progress was being moved. Roger was a Rockford lawyer for 63 years. He represented the Rockford School District for 10 years at an annual fee of $2,500.00, compared to what is now doled out to litigious Chicago counsel attacking and defending the district. He also served on the board of local charities such as Swedish American, the former Children's Home of Rockford, and Keith School. He was also active in the construction of Patriot's Gateway Center. Roger was a member and past President of Forest Hills Country Club and member of The University Club. Perhaps, in addition to his legal practice, his biggest contribution for 30 years was as a board member of American National Bank and Trust Co., later AMCORE Financial Co., of which he served as Chairman for 10 years, refusing to accept corporate "extras", and retiring in 1995. He then continued to practice law, but with more time spend on travel, fishing, family history, and trying to assist local charities which provide basic life services. He is survived by his children, Susan Reno, Sheri (David W.) Rudolph, and Michael Reno; brother-in-law, Don Hansing; cousins, Mary Lou Cameron and Janice Pickard; and numerous nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his wife, Janice in 2005; his parents; and brother, Ben Kinnear Reno. The family would like to thank Rogers special care giver and angel, Rebecca A. Martins, who his children considered their half-sister. Funeral service at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 5, in Olson Funeral & Cremation Services Ltd., Fred C. Olson Chapel, 1001 Second Ave. with the Rev. Calvin Culpepper officiating. Burial in Greenwood Cemetery. Visitation from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday, March 4, in Fred C. Olson Chapel, and Tuesday, March 5, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. prior to the service in the chapel. The family prefers memorials to Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N. Count St., Rockford, IL 61103 or Patriot's Gateway Center, 615 S. 5th St., Rockford, IL 61104. To share a memory or online condolence, visit olsonfh.com.
Published in Rockford Register Star from Mar. 1 to Mar. 4, 2013
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