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Jerry Renaud

Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 11:32 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 12:04 p.m. CDT

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, Jerry Renaud of rural Grinnell passed away at Unity Point (formerly Iowa Methodist) Medical Center. After a valiant fight throughout the years, he lost a seventeen year battle with lymphoma.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 2, at the Grinnell Christian Church with Pastor Andre Norman and John Epperson officiating. Burial will be in the Sully Cemetery, Sully, Iowa.

Visitation will be held from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Smith Funeral Home in Grinnell with the family present from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Memorial contributions may be directed KRNF Radio Station, Grinnell Christian Church or American Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.

Jerry Lee Renaud, the fourth child of DeVerne L. and Norma D. (Roorda) Renaud was born on Nov. 3, 1944, at Oskaloosa, Iowa. While growing up, Jerry and his family lived on farms near Lynnville, later Grinnell, and finally Sully. As a teenager, he worked for various farmers in the area, helping with field work and haymaking besides working at home with his dad on the farm. He attended Lynnville Elementary School, then later a country school near Grinnell and finally the Sully Independent School which eventually became the Lynnville-Sully Community Schools. While in high school, Jerry was an active FFA member in the L-S chapter and served in every office, ending with being president his senior year. He graduated with the Lynnville-Sully class of 1962.

After graduation, Jerry drove a gravel truck for Walt Vander Leest and later worked as a bookkeeper for the Sully Coop Oil Company.

On Dec. 12, 1964, Jerry married Ellene Schnell who had been a classmate of his since 6th grade. They made their home in Grinnell. They became the parents of three children, Elston, Jeralene, and Jeffrey.

Jerry tired of the commute to Sully each day and in 1965, he began working for Farmers Exchange Elevator in Grinnell. After the elevator purchased the Standard Oil Tankwagon Service, he operated that for several years.

Farming was never far from his mind and in 1970; Jerry and Ellene purchased a farm south of Grinnell. For many years he held a full-time job in town and farmed after hours. Upon leaving his job at the elevator, he worked for various companies in Grinnell including Agri-Systems, H & W Gate Co., C & K Transfer, and the Donaldson Co. He retired in 2006 after working 18 years at the Donaldson Co., but remained active with his small farming and cattle operation until January of this year when his health became such that he could no longer do it.

While growing up, Jerry and his family faithfully attended the Sully Meeting of the Plymouth Brethren Faith, and he accepted Christ as his Savior at an early age. He was baptized in 1964. Jerry was presently a member of the Grinnell Christian Church.

Jerry served on the Poweshiek County Extension Council, and the Grinnell-Newburg School Citizen’s Advisory Board.

Jerry was a proud and loving father. In 1996, he became a first-time grandfather, easily falling into that role. He was very involved in the lives of each of his grandchildren, spending a lot of one-on-one time with them.

Traveling was one of Jerry’s favorite things to do, although farming and working at a day job had its constraints on that. He, along with the family, and later just Ellene, took many mini-vacations throughout the years. He did manage to have a few enjoyable extended vacations to various parts of the lower 48, but once he had a taste of Alaska, he was hooked and lost track of the number of times he had been there. His most recent Alaskan vacation was in July 2013, when he and Ellene took their two oldest grandchildren with them to witness the beauty and adventure of that state.

Although Jerry never had the opportunity to participate in sports while he was in school, he was a sports fan. He even participated in a few 5K runs until his illness prevented it. Jerry followed closely the Minnesota Twins, Green Bay Packers, and the Iowa Hawkeyes, as well as the Lynnville-Sully Hawks and the Grinnell Tigers. He also became interested in harness horse racing in 1977 after his daughter and son-in-law began participating in the sport. He and Ellene traveled to all parts of the state to watch the races, many times inviting other family members or friends to go along. His greatest pleasure was to play catch or throw a football or baseball, with first his children, and later his grandchildren.

Jerry loved nature, never missing a beautiful sunrise or sunset. He always said that farming was a way to get close to nature and to God. He shared many a walk, and later a ride, with Ellene, his children, and his grandchildren, out through the pasture to enjoy the beauty around him while checking his cows.

Those left to cherish his memory are his loving wife Ellene of Grinnell; his children, Elston (Heather) Renaud of Lynnville, Jeralene (Dan) Roland of Grinnell and Jeff (Jessica) Renaud of Grinnell; his grandchildren, Sara and Allison Renaud, Luke, Kennedy, and Briar Roland, Marissa and Calli Renaud, his siblings, Larry (Marcene) Renaud of Ames, Carolyn (Tom) Durr of Colo, Issac Renaud of Show Low, Arizona, Randy (JoLynn) Renaud of Altoona, and Marlys (Rick) Hagen of Anchorage, Alaska, a brother-in-law, Arie Vande Voort of Pella, and uncle, several aunts, and many nephews, nieces, cousins, friends, and neighbors. Preceding him in death were his parents, his sister, Marilyn Vande Voort, sister-in-law, Patty Renaud, two uncles and several cousins.

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