For Richard “Dick” Rentz, nothing was impossible, according to his friends. In his mind there was always a way to reach a goal, no matter how idealistic or far-fetched an idea seemed on the surface.
Whether it was figuring out how to feed some of the island’s homeless or helping combine theater groups to make them more profitable and efficient, Rentz’s kind-heartedness, creativity and penchant for making all activities fun and lighthearted defined his life.
Rentz, 71, died Thursday. Friends and family recommend honoring Rentz’s memory by becoming active in community volunteering, living life joyfully and with the knowledge that all things are possible.
“One of the things about Dick is that he didn’t just talk about things, he did them, he was the first one to start working on a project,” said Sonia Topenio, vice president of Bank of Hawai‘i, Lihu‘e branch. “He was always so exuberant and enthusiastic.”
A tireless member of the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a, it was on his daily morning walks along the beach in Wailua where ideas for new projects would pop into his head. He would often return home to write e-mails to friends, eliciting their support to put his ideas in action. “Sorry,” he would write in his e-mails, “I was walking and thinking again.”
A Rotarian for 26 years beginning in Minnesota, Rentz’s latest passion was devising the Rotary Club’s new Casino Night fund-raiser, purchasing authentic blackjack table felt and casino chips and hosting dealer-training sessions for club members and friends.
He was a regular volunteer with Lihu‘e Lutheran’s “Mobile Munchie” program, helping prepare more than 200 sack lunches weekly, then delivering them to the island’s homeless.
He also worked weekly at the Salvation Army’s Kokua Kitchen helping serve hot lunches to the island’s needy, encouraging friends to join in when possible.
In all of his activities, his wife of 51 years and best friend Jan was his partner and companion.
“He was my buddy,” Jan Rentz said.
Rentz enjoyed traveling the world with Jan, especially on cruises, taking the grandchildren on trips throughout the Mainland and strolling near their oceanfront Kaua‘i home.
A day before his passing, he was seen in a hotel parking lot following a meeting, cheerfully sitting on an upended cooler chatting with friends who walked by.
A celebration of Rentz’s life will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Lihu‘e Lutheran Church, followed by a potluck lunch.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Lihu‘e Lutheran Church or Kapa‘a Rotary.