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Ernest H. Renzel Jr.

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Ernest H. Renzel, Jr. (Ernie) Aug. 7, 1907 - Sept. 15, 2007 Ernie passed away peacefully in his home on September 15, 2007. He was a third generation San Josean and had deep roots in San Jose and Santa Clara Valley. He served as Mayor of San Jose from 1944 to 1946 and was throughout his lifetime an active civic leader. He is most remembered as "Father of the San Jose International Airport" and as a benefactor enabling San Jose to obtain Kelley Park. He was past president of the San Jose Rotary Club, a lifetime member of the San Jose Country Club and the Sainte Claire Club, and a strong supporter of the YMCA among other activities. He was also always a strong supporter of the arts in San Jose and of Santa Clara Valley's beautiful natural environment. In addition to civic activities, Ernie served as President of the E.H. Renzel Company, the family wholesale grocery business for many years. His grandfather, Conrad Renzel, who came to San Jose in the 1850's, first started the family in the grocery business. Ernie was a past student body president of San Jose High School and a graduate of Stanford University Class of '29. Ernie's parents were both from pioneer California families. His father was born in San Jose and his mother in Watsonville. Ernie is survived by his children: Ernest (Renie) Renzel III (Jean), Gretchen Kriss (Michael), Emily M. Renzel, Jenifer Renzel, and Lucinda Pecota (David). He is also survived by 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren, and nieces Ann Sebastian and Susan Carter. His wife of 63 years, Emily, pre-deceased him in 1999. He is also survived by dedicated, primary caregiver, Amparo Arbelaez, and other caregivers including Nani Sutjipto. The family wishes to express their deep gratitude for their love, friendship, and support. Ernie will be greatly missed by all. The family is very grateful to Ernie's many friends from the San Jose Rotary Club, the San Jose International Airport, the San Jose City Council, History San Jose, and others who so recently honored him on his 100th birthday. The family was pleased Ernie could receive recognition for his contributions while he was alive. He lived a full and wonderful life. In lieu of an additional service, the family asks that next time you visit Kelley Park or the Airport you take a moment to think of Ernie and his role in these important community facilities. Private family services have been held under the direction of Darling-Fischer Garden Chapel, San Jose, CA. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Ernie's memory be made to History San Jose, 1650 Senter Road, San Jose, California 95112, to Sempervirens Fund, Drawer BE, Los Altos, California 94023, or to the charity of your choice.
Published in San Jose Mercury News on Sept. 21, 2007
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