C. Ronald René, 84, formerly of Bristol

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C. Ronald René (Ron) passed away peacefully with family by his side on March 24, 2017, in Boise, Idaho. He was 84 years old. Ailing from chronic illnesses for several years, his desire to be with his wife of 59 years, Betty Jean (Bertrand) René, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, kept him fighting for his own health.

Ron was born on Dec. 23, 1932, to Frank O. and Yvonne (Vermette) René in Bristol, Rhode Island. Ron and Betty met in their hometown and had been “dating” since seventh grade. They were married on Feb. 1, 1958, in Providence. They had a love story that never died.

Ron was a 1951 graduate of Colt Memorial High School. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1955, Ron spent two years in the U.S. Army Reserves at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. In 1957, he began a career in manufacturing and senior management with companies including Seamless Rubber, Chesebrough-Ponds, Schick Safety Razor, and ultimately retiring as Vice President of Purchasing & Logistics for Warner-Lambert (now Pfizer). Ron’s career took the family from Rhode Island to Old Saybrook, Trumbull, and Milford, Connecticut; Plainview, New York; and over 20 years in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

Once retired, Betty and Ron returned to their roots in Rhode Island where they enjoyed being with their childhood friends. Ron’s appreciation and love for the game of golf led him to join a team of individuals who acquired rights to an abandoned quarry in an impoverished area of North Providence, Rhode Island. They assembled the resources to build and operate “Button Hole,” an executive nine-hole golf course built to introduce underprivileged children to golf at no/low cost and teach the principals of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance and courtesy. Ron embodied all of these principals.                     

Ron and Betty moved to Boise, Idaho, in 2013 to be with their children and grandchildren during their last years. Ron enjoyed going to baseball games, wrestling matches, and golf tournaments to watch his beloved grandsons. A constant in his life was an enthusiasm for Notre Dame football, both on TV and the occasional visit back to South Bend, Indiana. Ron took pleasure in quietly aiding organizations that have a direct impact on individuals, in particular food banks, youth sports, and local emergency responders in Rhode Island and Idaho. Ron was very generous to friends and family in need; solutions would be found, without a word spoken.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents; his three brothers, Norman, Richard, and Daniel René; his nephews Norman, Jr., and Jeffery René; his niece Melissa (René) Kucera; and his beloved goddaughter and niece Claudia (René) Korrot. He is survived by his wife Betty Jean Bertrand René; his three children, Rebecca, Roberta, Richard René; and his talented sister, Suzanne (René) Weed. He is also survived by his daughter-in-law, Kimberly (Haller) René; his brother-in-law, William Weed; his nieces and nephews, Mark and Jon Weed, Lisa (René) House and Paul René, and Brad, Brian, and Jim de Wolf; and his grandsons, Shane, Brett, and Dylan René. Ron enjoyed being with Betty every day of his life, if only to see her smile and be at peace near the end. Much of his life was dedicated to his bride and his family.

Thank you to all the caregivers, doctors and nurses in Boise and Salt Lake City, without whom Ron would not have lived for the last two years of his life.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Button Hole Golf, buttonhole.org, or the University of Notre Dame. A celebration of life will be held in Boise at a future date, and Ron and Betty will be buried together in Bristol, Rhode Island, after Betty passes.

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