Alexander Robert Rennie (Al)
Passed away peacefully on August 3, 2023, at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. His family lovingly watched over him throughout his final days and nights in Palliative Care. While in hospital, family and friends gathered to celebrate his 79th birthday, on Sunday July 30. Although it was a day hinged with sorrow, his three grandsons would learn more details about his many acts of kindness and the real impact their Grandpa had on so many lives. There was laughter amid the tears.
Al was the love of Marsha’s life. They had been blessed with 56 years of marriage. Al was a loving, supportive father to his daughters, Heather (husband David Morse) and Jane. His daughter, (Heather’s twin) Sarah Frances, died at birth.
He was grandfather to Daniel Eric Alexander Morse and Samuel David Morse (Surrey, BC) and Jace Alexander Rennie - Millar (Peterborough ON) His infant granddaughter, Zara Claire Rennie died in 2011. Al was predeceased by his brothers Ian and Bruce. He will be fondly remembered by his nephew, Mark (Lindsay), great nieces, Paisley and Lilah, and his cousins, Susan and Donna. Generations of the Rennie clan will be there to meet him ‘on the other side’.
Our family would like to personally thank the Palliative Care team of nurses and doctors who surrounded Al with such kindness and respect during his brief time there. Al would have wanted us to thank Dr. Melinda Gooderham and Dr. Scott Hamilton - who helped him through many years of skin cancer treatments and surgeries. There were many additional doctors and oncologists who were tireless in their efforts to extend all the days that Al was given. We specifically want to thank Dr. Chandhoke and Dr. Youssef. Our family physician, Dr. Christopher Lem ,was a tremendous support to Al throughout his long journey with cancer.
It was Nelson Mandela who said - "What counts in life is not the mere fact we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others…”
Al enjoyed an amazing, full life as a dedicated English teacher in Lakefield, Ontario. Many of his students remained in contact long after graduating and some became family friends. Al was always surprised by the outpouring of kind remarks and comments made by so many of his students - he truly did not see himself as a ‘difference maker’. Yet, he absolutely was. He was a natural leader. He loved his early years as a lifeguard and had been credited with 27 saves. Then, as a graduate of Upper Canada College, he had been expected to take on a community role. Al served as Deputy Reeve of Dummer township for a few terms. He was the Chairman of the CAS Board and he and Marsha were foster parents to many teens throughout the years. Al was a hockey coach - taking the Warsaw Junior team to the Ontario finals. He enjoyed racing horses at Woodbine and fencing with the Trent fencing team. Al wrote over 50 books based on the life of a fictional character living in Clearwater, Florida. His dedicated readers patiently waited for each book in the Clearwater series. The Clearwater series protagonist ‘Joe’ was humorously self-effacing, generous and always wanted to help others reach their full potential. In many ways ‘Joe’ was like Al. Al went the whole distance - never missing a single step. He faced one physical loss after another, yet seldom complained.
Al will be remembered for his humour, integrity, courage and the gratitude he felt for every day that he was given. His joy came from simple things - like watching the pelicans diving into the surf or leading the horses out in the quiet of the morning, from sharing a banana muffin with Jedi, our standard poodle, to watching his Leafs play, always in hopes of a win.
Following Al's wishes, there will be a Graveside Service on Friday September 22, 2023 at 11:00 am at the Lakefield Cemetery. Rev. Brad Peters will be officiating. A reception, following the service, will take place at Murray Street Baptist Church. Times and further details will be available on the Ashburnham Funeral website.
In memory of Al, please consider supporting the charities which were so dear to his heart -especially those for young people , families and others in great need - like the 'YES Shelter', the Brock Mission and Cameron House.