"How many of you attended Robert Renck's Primary class sometime over the last 25 years?" Throughout the packed Spokane Valley (Wash.) Church, a large percentage of teens and young adults raised their hands in response to the question. A bowl of bubble gum in the foyer also alerted attendees this would be a memorable service.
"Dr. Bob," as he was affectionately known by children and young adults, was "a gentle giant," remembers Katie Torkelsen-Spoo. "He welcomed me into his home, his family and life. He always had a piece of gum for you and a ready laugh. He put up with van loads of crazy kids on the way to the slopes and the same on a few vacations. He wasn't flashy but he was present. He was a part of our lives and what we were doing and got a kick out of doing it. No loss is ever okay, but to lose him right now ... he went to sleep much too soon."
"Kids were his number one priority!" recalls Lola Lile, fellow Primary leader for many years. Renck passionately supported Christian education with both his time and resources. Besides teaching Primary, "Dr. Bob" enabled many young adults and teens to experience the joy of snow skiing. If a young person had little funds to cover the cost of skiing, no problem, "Dr. Bob" paid. Week after week during the winter months his van, loaded with young people, would head for the slopes.
"Dr. Bob" sleeps until Jesus returns, but his influence lives on in the lives of those he touched.