Roger Glenn Renfro

Roger Renfro passed away peacefully on February 11, 2012. He was born August 27, 1940 in Boulder, Colorado.  He graduated from Garden City, Kansas High School in 1958 and from Garden City Junior College two years later.  He then spent three years serving in the U.S. Army Security Agency in the Philippines and Vietnam.  Roger returned from the Army and attended the University of Kansas, then graduated from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.  He went on to obtain an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, Arizona.

Roger is survived by his adored wife, Linda, two children, Roxanne Renfro of Lee’s Summit, Missouri and Jeff Renfro of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and two step-sons (loved as his own children), Dennis Hyre and Erik Hyre, both of Olathe, Kansas.  His children gave him four much loved granddaughters, Gabrielle, Hayley, Sydney and Kiera.  Additionally, he has two loving sisters, Rita Renfro Anderson of Boulder, Colorado and Nancy Renfro Davis, and her husband Richard Davis, of Atlanta.  In addition, he was predeceased by his parents, Glenn H. Renfro and LuReta June Brines Renfro. His working life was spent in the computer and telecommunications field.  He began as a computer operator in the U.S. Army and progressed through the ranks on the technical side of this business, becoming a Senior Manager for the U.S. Government Department of Labor.  Then, after some soul searching, he tried his hand at sales and never looked back.  He retired some years ago, after many years in sales, as the Director of Sales for a large telecommunications company. Roger’s life was one of constant striving and learning.  In additional to traditional schooling, he was constantly reading, practicing and studying.  After a long search, he found his personal path to God in the pages of “A Course in Miracles”, which he studied every day during the last 20 years of his life. In addition to his family, Roger was also very active in his two beloved outside activities. At about 7 years of age, he began guitar lessons with Walt Graham in Garden City, Kansas.  Walt moved to Denver when Roger was 14 and he became the guitar teacher at Foster Music, the local music store.  In 1958, he bought a Martin D-18 guitar at Foster Music that stayed with him for the rest of his life. In 1972 he found bluegrass music (and guitar flatpicking) at the Winfield, Kansas festival.  Flatpicking both guitar and mandolin became a comfort for many years.  In later years, when Parkinson’s disease slowed down his fingers, he still managed to play for local nursing homes. In 1961, while in the Philippines, he studied Japanese Go-Ju Karate.  When he returned to the U.S., he continued his martial arts training in Judo (1st degree Black Belt) and Tae Kwon Do (2nd Degree Black Belt), but when he found an Okinawan Go-Ju group (Tokai Juku) in Kansas City, he knew he’d found his martial arts home.  He remained a member of that group for many years.  He retired from active practice as a 4th Degree Black Belt. Roger believed that death is just a transition and, as such, should be a happy, not a sad time.  He requested that his wife, Linda, organize a party to celebrate his life and death. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland, Leawood, Kansas.

23 Comments

  1. Reba (Joey) Silverthorne-O'Leary on February 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    My condolances to the family. Butch (Roger) was my cousin whom I haven’t seen in many years. I will always remember his great smile and twinkling eyes. I can’t make it to the memorial celebration, but I will be thinking of the family and saying a prayer for Butch and his family.

  2. Rob Pitcairn on February 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Sorry to have Roger leave us so soon. His desire and perseverance when he first took my classes at KU was an inspiration for all. He was 20 years older than the rest of the class but he never showed it and stayed until the last punch every class.
    His spirit lives in us all whether you knew him from Karate, guitar, military, work or just personal interaction. He will be missed but more importantly, he will be remembered.

  3. Tony Younger on February 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Linda – our circle has experienced a great loss with Roger’s passing. His friendship was an unexpected blessing. He was a truly inspirational person. We are all better for having him in our lives.

    I’ll see you again, my friend.

  4. Rick Sanders on February 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Linda- Our thoughts are with you and the family as you cope with life without Roger. He was a gentle warrior, revered by us all in Tokai Juku for his courageous and humorous approach to life and his illness; our senior statesman. RIP, Roger!

  5. Frank and Mary Spiezio on February 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Linda – Our deepest sympathy to you and the family. So honored to have met Roger…he was such a good man with the biggest heart. He always had a smile on his face! Take care, Mary and Frank

  6. Tim Nelson on February 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I was very sorry to hear about Rogers passing. He was always a joy to be around. All of us at Mass Street Music are going miss him. I had a lot of great talks with him in the acoustic room, I feel honored to have called him a friend.

  7. Joan Fief Wasinger on February 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    A Classmate just let us know about Roger’s death. Please accept my sincere sympathy and Blessings on you and all your family.

  8. Steve Kilby on February 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Linda, I never met you but I talked with Roger at both Kaufman kamp and at Winfield the years I was a contestant. he was always kind, joyful and sharing of his talents and anything he had. The only Posch Guitar I’ve ever played was Roger’s. You had a heck of a man there. He will truly be missed. Steve Kilby

  9. Leo Posch, Susan Willits, Ben, Anne on February 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Dear Linda and Family,

    Roger was certainly a good friend. He was enthusiastic, instructive, encouraging,
    inspirational, motivating and more. Sometimes I called him Dad because he was
    like a second Dad for me.
    I’m sure missing that guy.

    Leo

    Roger was a wonderful friend and a great inspiration.
    No matter what he was going through he always had a kind word and a smile on his face.
    We will always miss Roger and his phone calls and visits to check on the kids and
    see how things were coming along in the shop.

    He was such an incredibly enthusiastic supporter of and catalyst for Leo’s work.
    We are forever grateful to Roger for all he’s done. He will always hold a special
    place in our hearts.

    Susan

    Our deepest sympathy to you all.

    Leo Posch & Susan Willits, Ben, Anne

  10. Marilee Miller on February 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Linda and family,
    Our deepest sympathy and condolences for you all. We have all lost an inspirational friend. He gave so much of himself to so many. He will truly live on in all our hearts.

    Marilee Hudspeth Miller
    GCHS Class of 1958

  11. Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland on February 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    We are so sorry for your loss. We enjoyed getting to know Roger and enjoyed his visits to the Foundation. We wish you peace during this difficult time.

    Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland

  12. Phyllis Tillman on February 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Linda, I just saw Roger’s obit and am so sorry. Roger and I emailed lots during Ced’s illness and I knew his health wasn’t good, but had no idea we would be giving him up. We are away from home but I will be calling you later for details. Prayers for your strength and comfort.

    Phyllis Drussel Koch Tillman

  13. Tom Stopulos on February 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Linda,

    My deepest condolences and sympathy on Roger’s passing. Roger was indeed a treaure and we’ll all greatly miss him. You and your family are in my prayers.

    Regards,
    Tom Stopulos
    Bettendorf,Iowa

  14. Steve Todd on February 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I’ve known Roger from his years in telecommunications. He was a wise, talented, and remarkable person in so many ways. My condolences to his family.

    We miss you, Roger.

  15. Sharon Fortune on February 16, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Linda,
    Please accept my sincere sympathy and condolences. I appreciated Roger’s helpfulness and comfort through Ced’s surgery and passing this past November. Ced treasured Roger’s friendship, since they reconnected in the last 15 years. I’m keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. May the Lord comfort you during this difficult time.

    Blessings and love to you and your Family,

    Sharon Fortune

  16. Rolly Brown on February 16, 2012 at 6:45 am

    Linda,
    My deepest condolences over your loss. I’ve known Roger since the mid-’90s. He was in classes I taught at Kaufman Kamp, and we’d always catch up at Winfield. In the earlier years, I knew him as an affable, friendly, good-natured guitar lover. In the later years, I saw the courage that lay beneath his easy going nature. May he rest in peace, and may you find joy and continued good health, as I’m sure he would have wished.

  17. Steve Kaufman on February 16, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Linda,
    Our deepest condolendes. Roger had an infectious smile that lit up the room. He will be missed by all. The thought of life’s transitions gives us comfort knowing we will meet again.
    Roger – till we meet again.
    Steve and Donna

  18. Bill Nutt on February 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Linda,

    I never met Roger, but I new him as a friend and confidante. He and Gary Collier gave me all the support I needed to get a Posch guitar. When it was ready, he stopped by, played it, and sent me a wonderful, warm treatise on it.

    I will always think of him and miss him when I open that guitar case.

  19. Harry Moore on February 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Roger will always be in my memory. I believe that Roger never met a person he didn’t like. I am so glad that he rode to kamp with me in 2008 – we had a good time on the trip and in Tennessee. I miss him.

  20. Bill Whitacre on February 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I am one of Roger’s friends from the Kaufman Kamp and the FlatPick List. That particular group of people is very special, as was Roger and he was held in very high regard by everyone. We truly feel as though we have lost a family member,and will miss Roger’s kindness and good cheer as we hold warm thoughts of our friendship with him. Bill

  21. Gary Collier on February 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Linda,

    Although we’ve never met in person, I feel like I know you! My wife Becky felt that way about Roger as she heard me share about our friendship together over the past 6 years. Roger was a great friend to me and although our initial bond was guitars, then more specifically Leo’s guitars, it soon grew to sharing about family, God and many other things. I miss him now and I will always miss him. My continuing prayers are with you and your beloved children and grandchildren. I loved Roger and I know he loved me… what a gift!

    Gary Collier
    Albany, GA

  22. Bill Miller on February 14, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Like so many of his guitar friends, I’ve never had the opportunity to meet you, but I was his “St. Louis buddy”.

    Roger lived with enormous dignity and courage. He was both a friend and an inspiration to me for many years.

    Thanks for sharing him with us.

    Bill

  23. Larry on February 14, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Linda,

    This has been a heartbreaking week for all of us. I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to contact you earlier but Kristy and I have been on a ship in the Caribbean for the past nine days and any outside communication was a challenge. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you over the next few weeks.

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