Donald C. Rennicke, 85
Donald Charles Rennicke grew up on a farm in Mequon and found his two true loves, his wife Betty Ann, and baseball. Over the years baseball and his love for Betty remained two constants, while both led to many wonderful moments in his life that he took great pride in.
Don passed away of natural causes on Friday at the age of 85. He was a tremendous athlete and starred in baseball at Shorewood High School, and threw the first and only nine inning no-hitter at Mequon Park (now Rennicke Field) in 1951.
Don and Betty met, of course, at a baseball field back in 1948, and the two were married on Dec. 20, 1952.
A lifelong resident of Mequon, Don graduated from Shorewood High School in 1948, and earned a bachelorís degree from Wisconsin State Teachers College, now known as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After his undergraduate work, he received a graduate degree from the University of Oregon.
Don returned to Wisconsin and became an English teacher and coached football, basketball and baseball at South Milwaukee High School.
From there, he was recruited by his good friend Joe Klucarich to help form the administration at Granville High School (Brown Deer High School), where he served under Joe as the assistant principal as well as the baseball coach. He served in this same capacity at Homestead High School, where he stayed 23 years before retiring in 1989.
As a coach, Don amassed 321 wins, won numerous conference, regional and sectional titles along with two Wisconsin State Baseball Championships. All three of his sons, Scott, Randy and Dean, played for him at Homestead High School.
Randy and Dean both pitched their dad to the State Baseball Championships, in 1974 and 1978. Mequon Park was renamed to Rennicke Field in honor of Don in June of 1979.
Donís leadership was evident as the executive director for the Braveland Conference for 24 years, as well as serving as the president of the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association. He also taught education at Concordia University Wisconsin and ran the Milwaukee Brewers Youth Camps for 11 years.
This past summer, Coach Rennicke was most recently named to the Brown Deer High School Athletic Hall of Fame, adding to his memberships in the Wisconsin High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, the Land ĎO Lakes Baseball Hall of Fame, the Old Time Ballplayers Association Hall of Fame, the Homestead High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the Homestead High School Hall of Inspiration.
He is survived by his wife, Betty and three sons, Dr. Scott (Jean), Randy (Judy), Dean (Margaret) and daughter, Amy Welzien (Jim), along with 12 grandchildren, Andy (Chelsie), Tim (Crystal), Sarah, Shannon, Randall, Jordan (Mandy), Rebekah, Benjamin, Elizabeth, Megan, Abigail and Charlie, and three greatgrandchildren, Hailey, Nolan and Evan. Don treasured his relationship with his entire family and spent countless hours at his childrenís and grandchildrenís events. Between the four children and 12 grandchildren, they earned 64 varsity letters.
A family man of faith, Don selflessly gave himself to his family and community to share the love of God, optimistically determined to see the best in everyone.
He remained a member of Trinity Evangelical Church South Mequon for his entire life.
Visitation will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec.15, 2015, at Calvary Lutheran Church located at 110 Division St., Thiensville, WI 53092. A Christian Victory Service will be held immediately following the visitation at 7 p.m. Memorials can go to the Homestead Baseball Boosters for continued renovations on Rennicke Field, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church South in Mequon or a charity of your choice.