Jerry was an adventurous spirit that was always interested in exploring and learning new things, but as inexpensively as possible! He was born in California but his parents moved to IA soon after his birth. His parents eventually settled on a farm in Ogilvie, MN. After moving away from his parent’s home in Ogilvie, MN he worked as a taxi driver (as well as several odd jobs) in Minneapolis, the city where he met and married his wife (52 years). In 1967, he moved with his young bride to Arizona to begin working as an engineering technician. After being laid off, he became a truck driver to support his growing family while completing his degree in Engineering. Upon graduating from college (20 years after high school graduation), he lived with his wife and children for a short time in Norfolk, NE before returning to Arizona to start working for a newly expanding company, Intel. He spent the rest of his life living in AZ while spending his summers traveling to cooler areas including Alaska and Europe. While he spent a lot of time with family and friends in the Midwest, he was able to travel to at least 45 of the 50 states!
During his free time Jerry loved to meet people and share stories, especially all the roads he traveled. He always had answers for everything, but loved to volunteer. He was very proud of his work with Deeper Missions to create solar and wind energy to provide lighting and refrigeration (particular for medical needs) for third world countries. He was always willing to lend a helping hand and volunteered and served for the Red Cross, UMOM, and Mission groups through St Matthew’s United Methodist Church. He was also active with student exchange programs including AFS. His treasured job was being a taxi driver for his three grandkids. He enjoyed woodworking and spent many hours creating special items for his family. He also enjoyed homebrewing, stamp collecting, gardening, genealogy and singing in the church choir and East Valley Chorale. Last year he was very active in organizing his high school reunion but will miss his 60th high school reunion in August (2019). After retiring Jerry and Geneva would spend the summers traveling in the pickup, pulling an RV and a trailer with their golf clubs, bikes, and boat. After fighting valiantly against cancer Jerry chose to exit this world and start on a new adventure.
Jerry Van Rennes was preceded in death by his parents Henry and Ann (Van Leeuwen) Van Rennes and sister Judy Fluegge. He is survived by his wife Geneva (Allbee) Van Rennes, and his children Pete Heinz (Bill Wheeler), Geri (Matt) DeWaard and Scott Van Rennes; his 3 grandchildren Nathanial, Kelsi and Kenzie; brother-in-law Larry Fluegge, niece Michelle Fluegge and Mike (Shelly) Fluegge and their children Aaron, Chase and Hailey. He is also survived by extended family members including several exchange students hosted throughout the years through AFS from countries including Germany, Finland, Czech Republic, and Hungary.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held Saturday July 27th at 2:00pm at St. Matthews United Methodist Church (2540 W Baseline Road, Mesa, AZ) followed by a reception at the church. A viewing will precede the services at 1:00pm. He will be laid to rest on August 10, 2019 after a service at the Lewis Lake Covenant Church (1030 Grand Street) in his hometown of Ogilvie, MN.
Donations to the Cancer Research Institute (55 Broadway, Suite 1802, New York, NY 10006) can be made in lieu of flowers.