In memoriam: Robert Rennie
January 19, 2011
Robert Rennie, who spent more than 35 years working as a sales executive for flooring adhesive and installation companies, died Nov. 19 after a seven-month battle with leukemia. He was 64.
Born July 22, 1946 in Vancouver, Wash., Rennie attended Portland State University, pursuing a degree in business administration. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1969 where he served two years as a Specialist Five.
After leaving the Army, Rennie launched his career in the flooring industry in 1971, joining the sales team at Berkheimers Distributing. Three years later, he left to become a W.W. Henry Co. district sales manager out of Huntington Park, Calif.
That began a 26-year tenure with the adhesives manufacturer. In 1982, he was promoted to regional sales manager, and in 1994 became general sales manager/west, a position he held even after the company was purchased by Armstrong several years later.
In 2000, Rennie left W.W. Henry and served as North American sales manager for carpet installation products maker Orcon. In 2008, he joined Para-Chem as Pacific Region sales manager and remained with the company until his passing.
Doug Ray, executive director of the Floor Covering Distributor Alliance, knew Rennie for 30 years and said, "He was one of those unique salesman that could be professional and yet quickly become a friend. ... Always with a smile and a laugh he had your interest at heart. The sincerity in his business life emanated from a solid personal core. The industry will miss a very good man."
Cathy Panagakos, Para-Chem vp, added, "Bob brought honesty to a new level. I was honored to work with him. Bob was elegant with his words and chose them carefully. He loved his family and was a true friend."
Gary Verhey, president of FIANA, called him "A true gentleman in the industry and always a great friend through the years."
Rennie is survived by his wife, Lynn; son, Robert Blake; step-daughter, Jennifer Fortune; and step-son, Jonathan Shoda.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the national Leukemia Research Foundation, 3520 Lake Ave., Suite 202, Wilmette, IL 60091.