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Fr. Louis Renner


1926 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Fr. Louis Renner Obituary
Fr. Louis Renner, S.J., died March 24, 2015, at the Jesuit Infirmary in Spokane. He was 88. A priest, professor and a dedicated historian, Fr. Renner was noted for his depth of knowledge, gentle spirit and love of the outdoors.
The second of five siblings, Louis Lawrence Renner was born on April 25, 1926, in Bismarck, North Dakota, to John J. and Rosa (Gustin) Renner. The family moved to Tacoma, Washington, in 1937. He graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory in 1944, and entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Sheridan, Oregon. He followed the regular course of Jesuit formation studies and teaching experiences. Fr. Renner was ordained a priest June 15, 1957, in Spokane.
Showing great promise and desire for advanced studies, Fr. Renner attended the Sorbonne in Paris, France and completed a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Munich, Germany, in 1965. He embarked on a teaching career at the University of Alaska Fairbanks from 1965 to 1980. Retiring with the status of professor of German, emeritus, Fr. Renner shifted his energies to writing and pastoral duties. He was editor and chief writer of the "Alaskan Shepherd" - the major newsletter of the Diocese of Fairbanks - and served as the visiting priest for the Koyukon Athabaskan Indian villages of Ruby and Tanana. 
In 2002, Fr. Renner was missioned to write a comprehensive history of the Catholic Church in Alaska; this was published in 2005 as "Alaskana Catholica" and was his fifth published book. In October 2002, Fr. Renner was honored by Tony Knowles, governor of Alaska, with the "2002 Governor's Award for Friend of the Humanities." That same year, Fr. Renner relocated to Spokane and became a "writer in residence" at the Gonzaga University Jesuit Community. In addition to his writing, he ably assisted the staff of the Archives and Special Collections with his vast knowledge of people, places, and events in the Pacific Northwest. Fr. Renner's sixth book, "A Kindly Providence: An Alaskan Missionary's Story" was his autobiography and was published in 2008.
Fr. Renner is survived by his brothers, William, Leonard and Albert, and his sisters, Julie McMillan and Della Carlin. He was preceded in death by his younger brother, Richard. There are several nieces, nephews and cousins as well. He will be deeply missed by his many friends, former students, colleagues, parishioners, and brother Jesuits of the Oregon Province.
A rosary service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 28, in the Jesuit House Chapel on the Gonzaga University campus. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 28, also in the Jesuit House Chapel. The burial will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at Mt. St. Michaels Cemetery. 
Contributions in honor of Fr. Renner may be sent to: The Senior Fund, c/o The Oregon Province, Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286 or  The Alaskan Shepherd, 1312 Peger Road, Fairbanks, AK 99709 or to the .
Published in Daily News-Miner on Mar. 27, 2015
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