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Life Story / Obituary
Phil Renuart was a kind man through and through. A loving companion, he earned a wealth of abundant memories and special moments over the years with the family he so loved. Phil was known for his optimistic outlook on life. There is no doubt that his wisdom and guidance will be deeply missed by his many special friends and loved ones.
With the economy still suffering as a result of the Great Depression, and the promise of a newly elected president who pledged to make American lives better, Amedee and Blanche Renuart welcomed home their newborn son, Philip on May 14, 1934, in Coral Gables, Florida. Phil was the middle child among his four sisters, Marguerite, Lillian, Janet, and baby sister, Cecile, his birth as an only son brought special joy to their hearts and home.
Growing up, Phil enjoyed a typical childhood of the time. His love of cars started at an early age. Throughout his life, he never lost interest in the makes and models of his developing years. After graduating from high school in 1952, Phil was eager to serve his country and enlisted in the United States Army. Basic training was held at Camp Gordon in Georgia. He was very proud of his years in the service. Whatever he put his mind to doing, he did it with a sense of pride, purpose, and determination.
Phil eventually relocated to the Midwest for a business opportunity. In 1983 while visiting his good buddy Chuck at Cavalier Mailing Phil met the love of his life, Donna Pauch, who worked with Chuck. Eventually, Chuck gave Phil Donna’s phone number, and the rest was history! Their first date was to Auburn, Indiana to see a classic car event in September 1983. She was smitten by his charm, and he was attracted to her beauty and kindness. They became romantically involved from that day forward. On May 22, 1993, the happy couple married at the Plainwell United Methodist Church. They drove away from the wedding in an Auburn car, engraved with their initials, which represented the significance of their first date!
Phil and Donna lived a beautiful life during their forty years together. He introduced her to his passion for classic cars and touring. Donna introduced Phil to her love of animals and being generous by paying it forward. Their love for one another was evident through their commitment and kindness toward one another. They enjoyed many years of touring including the famous Route 66 in a 1940 Buick. Highlights were stopping at roadside parks and shops to collect memorabilia as well as sample the food. They also enjoyed trips in their motorhome over the years. Any time they spent on the road was an adventure. They always came back with stories and memories to share with their loved ones.
Phil loved living a life of entrepreneurship as an owner of Burger King. He originally got into the business with his brother-in-law. He was immensely proud to open the first BK on Whites Road (#261). Over time, his franchise had grown to include several others. He and Donna both enjoyed landscaping projects and took great pride in meticulously planting and designing the landscape each spring. A hard worker and a people person, Phil was very successful during his years as a business owner.
When he became a grandfather, his heart was full. He enjoyed teaching his grandkids about classic cars and tractors. A special highlight was taking them for rides in his old car to his favorite ice cream spot, Plainwell Ice Cream. Any amount of time they were together, Phil was especially happy. On most occasions, he would make sure to have some double-stuffed Oreos on hand to share with them when they visited! He enjoyed special meals and desserts with Lawrence and Kathryn, listening to travel stories with Carol, Gary, Kathleen, and Keith. Phil was a remarkable person to know and to love. May his memories live on in the hearts of all those who were touched by his life.
Philip Renuart died peacefully at his home on Friday, July 28, 2023 with his wife by his side. He was actively involved in his community as President of the Rotary Club, President of the Michigan Restaurant Association, Grape Country Model A Car Club, Kalamazoo Antique Auto Restoration Club (KAARC), and a lifetime member of the Gilmore Car Museum. He is survived by his wife, Donna, as well as his 4 children: Lawrence (Kathryn) Renuart, Carol (Gary) Rohs, Kathleen (Keith) Freebern, and Thomas (Stephanie) Renuart. He is also survived by his 4 grandchildren: Jessica, Michelle, Adam, and Emilanna, 6 great-grandchildren, 2 stepdaughters: Heather and Nicol, along with 3 additional grandchildren: Shane, Mallory, and Domnick. Cremation has taken place. Visit Philip’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Centrica Care Navigators. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.