Richard E. Rench, 67, of Milan, died Monday evening, Nov. 3, 2008, in Akron City Hospital after a brief illness.
He was born May 3, 1941, in Findlay, Ohio, son of the late Harold E. and Geraldine (Dysinger) Rench. He was a 1959 graduate of Findlay Senior High School and attended The Ohio State University studying electrical engineering. He graduated with the 61st Academy Class of the Ohio State Highway Patrol on April 11, 1963. He was sent to many of the riots in Ohio during the 1960’s. He was a life scout and scoutmaster for many years of Norwalk Presbyterian Church Troop 232 and later cub master for several years of Milan Methodist Cub Scout Pack. He left the patrol in 1968, starting his own business, Rench Diversified, building over 300 homes and apartments in the Norwalk area. In 1968, he started Rench Realty. In 1971, he started Firelands Appraisal Company. Then, in 1982, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, serving both Huron and Crawford counties in the legislature.
As a longtime sportsman, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in 1993. He was a life member of NRA, life member of Ohio Gun Collectors, and a life member of Ohio Rifle & Pistol Association. He was a longtime member of Sons of the American Revolution, with both sides of his family fighting in the American Revolutionary War in 1776.
Also, in 1993, Governor George Voinovich appointed him to Board of the Ohio Water Development Authority, a post he held for more than 17 years. Governor Taft and his wife, Hope, hosted his 50th birthday party in his home in Milan. He met many U.S. Presidents and other political figures and was quite proud of his “photograph wall” showing him with them. In 1973, he was named Milan Jaycee’s Man of the Year. He learned to fly when he was 15 years old and had his pilot’s license since he was 17 years old. In 1993, he started the Firelands Museum of Military History which quickly became known for their flying “Huey Helicopters” and appeared in many area parades.
He is survived by his sons, Dr. Thomas E. (Javan) Rench, M.D., of Copley, Ohio, and Steven R. (Shelley) Rench, of Wadsworth, Ohio; two grandsons, Craig and Aiden; three granddaughters, Madison, Corynn and Stephanie; sisters, Margaret ‘Peggy’ (Rench) Hancock, Susan (Rench) Rayle; brother-in-law, Max Rayle; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 33 years, Cheryl R. Rench, in 1998.
Friends may call 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Thursday in Evans Funeral Home, 314 E. Main St., Norwalk. Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday in St. Anthony Catholic Church, 130 S. Main St., Milan; the Rev. Francis J. Speier will officiate. Burial will follow in Milan Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be sent to USO World Headquarters, Department WS, PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20090-6860, National Rifle Association of America, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030, Milan Boy Scout Troop 214 or Milan Cub Scout Pack 215, c/o Milan Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 91, Milan, OH, 44846, or your favorite charity.
Condolences may be shared at norwalkfuneral.com.