Ryan Renfro, Alumnus and Staff Member, Remembered for Kind Heart
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ryan Anthony Renfro, 34, a staff member of the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering, died Saturday, July 18, 2020, at Fayetteville.
He was born May 21, 1986, in Pine Bluff, the son of Ronald and Donna Telliard Renfro. Ryan grew up in Pine Bluff, graduating from St. Joseph Catholic High School. He earned his bachelor's degree in communications from the U of A.
After graduation from college, Renfro began working for the university as an administrative specialist for the CSCE Department.
Terry Bennett, his supervisor and friend, said, "Ryan was such a kind-hearted and great guy who was always smiling, and he would give the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it. Everyone in CSCE is just heartbroken, and he will be deeply missed."
"Ryan was the kindest, most thoughtful and caring man I've ever had the privilege of working with, and there are no words to describe how much I will miss seeing his warm, welcoming smile every morning! He was just one of those people who you never forgot, because he made every person he met feel special, said co-worker Brandy Meridith. "We are devastated by this tragedy and will remember Ryan in our hearts forever."
"He was the most kind and loyal person that has helped the CSCE department through several difficult times in the last few years," said Dale Thompson, interim department head. "I was heartbroken when I realized that when I entered the CSCE department I would not see his smiling face or be able to say good morning to him like I have done for the last two years."
"All of us in the College of Engineering are heartbroken to lose Ryan," said John English, dean of the College of Engineering. "He was a key, energetic part of the Computer Science and Computer Engineering family, and he will be deeply missed. Our thoughts are with him, his family and his friends at this difficult time."
Renfro was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fayetteville. He loved all domestic and wildlife animals and enjoyed ornithology and entomology. He had many followers with his Bird of the Day newsletter. His family members wrote that he was "a kind soul to all he met, those fortunate to know Ryan benefitted greatly."
Renfro's passions also included gardening, Turner Classic Movies, music from all genres, and getting to know people. Always curious and a constant learner, Renfro had a fondness for adventure. He had goals of traveling the globe someday. His communication skills far surpassed any classroom curriculum, and in 2019, he received the honor of employee of the quarter from the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering.
Renfro was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Thomas P. Telliard and paternal step-grandfather, Brien R. Winkley.
Survivors include his parents, Ronald E. Renfro and Donna Telliard Renfro of Pine Bluff; brother, Robert Thomas "Robbie" Renfro and his wife, Maura, and their daughter, Dottie of Fayetteville; paternal grandmother, Mary Winkley of Pine Bluff; maternal grandmother, Mildred Ann Telliard of Riverside, California; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be given at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Pine Bluff with Father Joe Marconi officiating. The Mass will be livestreamed on www.RalphRobinsonandSon.com.
A vigil service will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 27, at Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Directors in Pine Bluff with Deacon Noel F. "Bud" Bryant officiating. A visitation following the vigil will continue until 7:30 pm at Robinson's. The ceremonies will follow all state health guidelines.
Memorials may be made to Humane Society of the Ozarks, 1733 N. Crossover Road, Fayetteville, AR 72701; St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1722 N. Starr Drive, Fayetteville, AR 72701; or St. Joseph Catholic Church, 412 W. Sixth Ave., Pine Bluff, AR 71601.
Nick DeMoss, director of communications
College of Engineering
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