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William R. “Bill” Renwick II passed away Oct. 6 at his home in Burns.
Bill was born Dec. 27, 1946, in Ontario, the son of Bill and Ida Renwick, and the great-grandson of J.H. and Dorcas Neal, homesteaders in the Harney Valley in the 1860s. He was a sixth-generation Oregonian, a heritage he was always proud of.
Bill was raised in Burns with his sister, Lois, and attended Burns Union High School, graduating in 1964. He spent his summers working in the hay fields. He then attended Central Oregon Community College (COCC), which was followed by service in the Army. He married his high school sweetheart, Linda Moss, and while in the Army, they moved to Bayone, N.J., and then to Brussels, Belgium. While in Belgium, Bill and Linda had the opportunity to visit much of Europe. Following his honorable discharge, Bill and Linda returned to Burns.
Bill then returned to school at COCC, where he met his second wife, Jean Fleming. After graduating, Bill and Jean moved to Eugene, where he earned his bachelor of science degree in geography. They then moved to Corvallis, where Bill earned his master of science degree in economics from Oregon State University, making him a true platypus. Returning to Burns, Bill worked in the city planning department. During this time, Bill and Jean were able to take an extended trip to South America. Later, while living in Bend, their son, Will, was born and daughter, Casey, followed two years later. The family then moved to the Portland area, where Bill worked in the HVAC contracting industry in sales and engineering.
Bill returned to Harney County in 2004, following the death of his mother, to assist in the care of his father. Bill enjoyed his involvement in the Burns community. His unique combination of geographic and historical knowledge, economic development and love of natural resources, along with his ability to work with diverse groups of people, allowed him to bring a level of knowledge and expertise to help reach consensus on difficult issues to a large variety of organizations including: the Steens Mountain Advisory Committee, Harney County Historical Society, Harney County Senior Center, Burns City Council, Soil and Water Conservation District, Watershed Council, Harney County Cultural Coalition, High Desert Partnership, Harney District Hospital and Oregon Association of Conservation Districts.
Additionally, Bill helped to get the biodiversity fueled (pellet) furnace in the high school, as well as window upgrades for energy efficiency in all the schools. He also worked to fund the construction of the Harney County Chamber of Commerce and Community Center.
Bill was also a member of the Robert Burns Masonic Lodge 97, Al Kader Shrine Temple, and the Lions Club International.
He is survived by son, William R. “Will” Renwick III, and wife, Nyssa, and granddaughter, Adeline; daughter, Casey Jean Renwick, all of Portland; his sister, Lois R. Renwick, and husband, Jerry Lowe, of Myrtle Point.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center. Although interment will be at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Bill’s heart and soul will always be in Harney County. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center, the Harney County Historical Society, or to the charity of one’s choice.