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Philip E. Renshaw

Philip E. RENSHAW Born July 6, 1907 in a log cabin in Fairbanks, Alaska, was one of four children born to William K. and Grace D. Renshaw. The family left Alaska in 1912 and moved to Ballard. Hardship defined their early lives with the death of both parents in 1919. Phil and his siblings Willard, Ellen and Grace, ranging in age from six months to 14 years, were split up, and Phil found himself in Oregon moving from one family to the next, occasionally to no family at all. The instability of his home life resulted in a truncated education, culminating in graduation from Jefferson High School in Portland. During a cross-country road trip with two friends, with "Portland to Portland or Bust" emblazoned on their Model A Ford, Phil resolved to go to college and make something of himself. He returned to Oregon and enrolled in Linfield College where he graduated magna cum laude in 2 ½ years. He served as senior class president and met the most beautiful woman in the class, Helen Laura Leach. Competitors in an oratorical contest, Helen won 1st place and Phil won 2nd. A few months after graduation, they were married in Bremerton with Helen's father, a Baptist minister, officiating. The young couple established themselves in Seattle during the height of the Great Depression in 1931 and Phil began work for the Seattle School Board. Phil's proficiency with IBM punch card machines reduced costs and streamlined efficiency for Seattle Schools. IBM took notice of Phil, and recruited him to the Company where he enjoyed great success for several years and received many sales awards. During these early days in his career, Phil and Helen welcomed their only child, Philip Jr. (Gene), in 1937. Although committed to caring for his family, Phil was also determined to do his part for the war effort in WWII and enlisted in the Navy. He was stationed in the Pacific Theatre for his tour of duty in 1944 - 45. After the war, Phil returned to his family and to his job with IBM. Subsequently, Phil established his own company, Renshaw Industries, later known as Tally Corp. Their high-speed line printers remain in production today as Tally Genicom. Phil retired upon the sale of his company in the late 1970s. His retirement lasted nearly 30 years, during which time he visited 65 countries on six of the seven continents and spent time in every state and province in North America. He planned to visit Bermuda in late March 2005. A philanthropist, Phil's favorite causes were Linfield College Liberal Arts Program, Virginia Mason Hospital Foundation, the Seattle Art Museum, and most recently, Horizon House Retirement Community. Phil charted his own course in life. He shared his life memories with Michelle Wilkinson, who recorded his recollections, thoughts and ideas in his memoirs. After two years, they completed the project on Sunday, February 20th , and he passed away peacefully in his sleep two days later. Phil was preceded in death by his wife Helen and son Phil Jr. As broadly interpreted family patriarch, he is survived by Stewart (Michelle) Renshaw, John Renshaw, Ben Heineck, Barbara R. Heineck, Barbara C. Renshaw, Dale Hookway, Bill Renshaw, Matthew Renshaw, David Renshaw, LTC Timothy Renshaw, Joshua Renshaw, Yvonne Knowles, David Heineck, Kalu (Peris) Maduka, their families and many dear friends and associates worldwide. Viewing, EVERGREEN WASHELLI FUNERAL HOME, Tuesday, March 1, Noon - 8 p.m. Memorial Service, SEATTLE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, Thursday, March 3, 11 a.m. Gifts in Phil's memory are directed to Linfield College (McMinnville, OR), Virginia Mason Foundation (Seattle), the Seattle Art Museum and Horizon House (Seattle).
Published in The Seattle Times from Feb. 27 to Mar. 1, 2005
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