Walter Renear, 77, World War II Veteran, Was Engineer, Fisherman, Tisbury Leader
Walter Hume Renear, husband of Rebecca Allen Renear of Vineyard Haven, died Monday, Sept. 30. He was born in Oak Bluffs on May 19, 1925, son of the late Leland Walter Renear and Mary Hume Renear. He was educated at the Tisbury High School, the Armed Forces Institute, Fort Knox Armored School, St. Louis University (Parks Aeronautical Technology), Kansas City College, the University of Missouri and California State College at Sacramento.
During World War II, he served as a technical sergeant in the armored force (tanks), in the European theatre. After the war, he was associated with the family automobile business before joining the Westinghouse Aviation Gas Turbine Division in Kansas City as a senior engineer. Later he worked for the rocket and missile manufacturer, AeroJet General Corp., in California as manager of manufacturing programming and control. Before retiring, he was employed by K&E, the engineering equipment manufacturer, as assistant plant manager. He was involved in intelligence work for many years and was, after his retirement, an engineering consultant to defense manufacturers.
Mr. Renear had an enthusiastic interest in genealogy and Island history. When he was 16, he walked around the shoreline of Martha's Vineyard proper twice and a third time included the island of Chappaquiddick. During the 1970s and 1980s, he was a member of the Tisbury planning board, frequently serving as chairman and playing a leading role in the development of townwide zoning, subdivision control, harbor management planning and long-range planning. He also operated a commercial fishing dragger for several years after his retirement.
Mr. Renear was a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, being one of the youngest persons ever inducted into full membership and later serving on the governing board. He was also a member of the American Management Association, the American Ordnance Association, the YMCA, the Scouting Council and several fraternal organizations. A licensed pilot in his younger years, he enjoyed flying; he also had a lifetime interest in boating and fishing. In addition to visiting England and the European continent during World War II, he made a number of visits to Northern Ireland, including a stay of several months and visits to relatives there, as well as to Canada.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by their son, Dr. Allen Hume Renear, a professor at the University of Illinois; their daughter, Dawn Renear, vice president for competitive and technical information for Genzyme Corp., and two grandchildren, Jeremy and Melissa Rockman. He is also survived by a half-brother, the Rev. Miles Wetherell Renear of California.
Services will be held at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5.
Memorial donations may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, P.O. Box 2568, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, One Hospital Way, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Arrangements are by the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs.