Robert Starke Renfro, age 89, of Johnson City, Tennessee, entered into his eternal rest on Friday May 9, 2014, at the Christian Care Center in Johnson City, TN.
Born on March 31, 1925, in Erwin, Tennessee, to Robert H. and Carrie Davis Renfro. In addition to his parents one brother, Charles Renfro, preceded Robert in death.
A lifelong bachelor, Robert graduated from Unicoi County High School with Honors prior to enlisting in the Army July 3, 1943, serving as an administrative clerk at a base in Texas. After being honorably discharged from the service in 1946. Robert was accepted into Harvard University as an undergraduate student in 1946 and received his Bachelors of Art, Cum Laude, in 1949 and a Master of Arts in 1952 both with concentrations in English & American Literature and Language. Between his times at Harvard Robert taught high school English at a private school in Miami, Florida.
Gifted in music from an early age, Robert’s parents arranged for private tutoring in Johnson City every Saturday for a number of years. This venture was an all day excursion that required leaving the house at 6 AM to catch a bus to the city and arriving back home to Erwin at 6 PM. He continued to enjoy playing the piano for friends until arthritis rendered him unable.
Upon completing his Master’s, Robert took a position at the St. John’s School in Santurce, Puerto Rico, where he taught until the early 70s. Beloved by his students he continued to receive beautiful notes of thanks from former students for his teaching and mentoring.
His next and final venture in the workplace took him to the international fundraising consulting firm of Ward, Dreshman & Reinhardt, Inc., located in Falls Church, Virginia, where he specialized in providing full-time, on-site capital campaign consulting for nonprofit organizations. He retired from WDRI and located in Johnson City, TN, just 15 miles from his birthplace.
There Robert became active in the oversight of his condo association board and served as Secretary until his death. His friends speak of his quiet yet warm hosting of dinner parties and informal gatherings at his home to enjoy the gourmet meals he would prepare and listen to one of the hundreds of music LPs or CDs he has collected over the decades.
Robert S. Renfro is survived by a brother, John Mack Renfro, of Melbourne, Florida; cousins Ruth Gwen Chambers, Dick Renfro, of Elizabethton, Jane Christian, Janet Grant, Paul Dean Renfro, of Johnson City, and David Renfro ,of Knoxville; nephews Rick Renfro, Mike Renfro, Ron Renfro and David Renfro, all of Melbourne, FL, Russ Renfro, Port Orange, FL; as well as nieces, Nancy Renfro Dockendorff and Kathy Renfro, both from Melbourne, FL.
Robert requested that no formal funeral service be held.
Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2001 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, is serving the Renfro family. (423) 282-1521