Willard Rens ’65

Willard “Bill” Rens (‘65) passed away peacefully at home at age 76 surrounded by family in Tucson, AZ.  Bill was born in Fond du Lac, WI, on May 11, 1942, the firstborn child of Willard (’37) and Marjorie (’38) Rens.  On May 1, 1964 Bill married his high school sweetheart Everly Westra. The wedding had been postponed for nine months due to his diving accident at age 21.  He then finished his Bachelor’s degree in Business and was very appreciative of the assistance of his fraternity brothers in getting him to classes.

After adopting their first daughter Rebecca in 1967 the whole Rens family moved to Tucson to escape the snow and cold weather.  With his father, Bill bought and ran a mobile home business for seven years. They adopted their second daughter Elizabeth in 1974 and Bill finished his Master’s degree in Finance at the University of Arizona in 1981.

Bill used his financial skills in freelance accounting and to manage the rental properties he and Everly owned.  He also volunteered for many Christian organizations such as Wycliffe Bible Translators and Gospel Rescue Mission.  A great joy in their life together was co-founding Answers for Life Pregnancy Center. Bill served as the treasurer and accountant, often marveling at God’s goodness in multiplying donations to always meet the Center’s needs.  He also served as an elder, on church finance committees and several Christian school boards.

Despite living as a quadriplegic for 55 years, Bill was always ready for adventures such as white-water rafting, snowmobiling and more.  He loved the independence of driving his handicapped van and camping in their travel trailer. He enjoyed his friendships, sports, card and word games.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father and younger brother Mark.  He leaves behind his wife Everly; sisters Norma (’67) Greenfield and Edith Rens (’71); his sister-in-law Kathy Rens; daughters Rebecca (Bob) Small and Elizabeth Ingram; grandchildren Tylor, Madelyn, and Bennett; and many nieces and nephews.

Bill’s was a life of quiet courage and inspiration to others.  His faith in God grew stronger every year and the family praises God that he can now run the streets of gold.

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