James P. “Jim” Renner left our presence on March 24, 2021. He was born Jan. 10, 1938 and lived in Fort Wayne his entire life. He is predeceased by his ex-wife and his kid’s mother, Darlene in 1999, wife of 19 years, Sandra in 2007, parents Jacob R. and Nina A. (Powell) Renner Marschand, as well as his stepfather Harry Marschand, and all his brothers: Jack, Dave, Dan, Mike, and Tom; and his beloved dog, Grizz. He is survived by his nine children: Maryanne L. Cooley, (Tom,) Bellevue, CO; James J. Renner, Kendallville; Donald E. Renner (Nancy,) Hamilton; Therese M. Renner, Ossian; Maggie A. Koogler, (Matt,) Fort Wayne; Eve M. Tripp (Bill,) Lafayette; Jane E. Rushing, (Scott,) Hamilton; John Renner and Joe Renner, both of Fort Wayne; also survived by 23 grandchildren, over 15 great-grandchildren and multiple step grandchildren and step great-grandchildren. Many are left to mourn him including his several sisters-in-law, many nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
Jim grew up on Wildmere Ave. on the St. Mary’s River. He attended seminary to become a priest. He met Darlene Runser, who had been studying to become a nun. They both attended Central Catholic High School, where he was known as “Diamond Jim,” graduating in 1956. Shortly after he joined the Marine Corps reserves and was activated during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was a disabled veteran, after a broken back during a diving accident. Jim worked at Rea Magnet Wire doing factory work for 50 years, retiring in 2007. He went on strike to get equal pay for those doing equal work, no matter their race. For a time, he was realtor with Century 21. He enjoyed visiting his family in California and taking trips to tropical places. He attended several churches including Precious Blood, St. Patrick Arcola, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Henry, and the Cathedral. At the end, he received The Sacrament of Reconciliation as well as Communion and Last Rites. He loved the outdoors, especially taking canoe trips on the river and running in the woods with his brothers and kids. He loved camping, even in the back yard. There wasn’t much he enjoyed more than some good company around a campfire. He was known in the neighborhood for dressing scary and “spooking” kids on Halloween. He had an ornery nature and wonderful sense of humor that he passed onto his kids and grandkids. He had a kind heart. He loved music and dance of all kinds. He also enjoyed puzzles, metal-detecting, and time with his dog, Grizzy Bear. When younger, he was an avid swimmer as well.
He had a wonderful baritone bass voice and enjoyed singing barbershop quartets with his brothers. He sang in a Fort Wayne choir at the Cathedral and had cantered at St. Henry Church. He was known for singing Karaoke as well, known as “Papa Jim.” Favorites he sang included “My Heart Will Go On” and many other songs. In the 1970’s he was dancing disco at the local places and even into his 80’s was swinging people around the dance floor.
Jim’s family will have open visitation from 9:30-11:30 AM Wednesday, April 7, 2021 and a Memorial Funeral Mass at 11:30 am at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 4916 Trier Rd. Fort Wayne, with internment of ashes to follow immediately after at Catholic Cemetery next to his parents and brother. Face covering required.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 6 PM at The Phoenix in Fort Wayne. All who have known him are welcome to join us then as well. Donations in his memory to Visiting Nurse and Hospice, Wounded Warriors, or your favorite charity.
The family wishes to especially thank his caregivers for the last several years, his daughter Therese, and his granddaughter, Ashley Jackson for caring for him in his home, and his daughter Eve for the haircuts and shaves as well as caring for him during his last days. They also wish to thank Parkview Hospital Randallia staff, Visiting Nurse and Hospice staff as well as those wonderful ones at Bethlehem Woods and at St. Charles. In his last days, he was assisted by an amazing home-based care team from the VA in Fort Wayne, a wonderful caregiver, Mary, from Comfort Keepers, Divine Mercy Funeral Home, as well as the many others that assisted walking us through this tough time.