Mathilda C. Renz

March 26, 1916October 20, 2012

Mathilda "Til" Renz, 96, formerly of Bettendorf, died on October 20, 2012, at St. Mary Healthcare, Davenport. Til was born March 26, 1916, in Oak Park, Illinois, the second child of William and Bertha Simpson. As a child, she lived on the east and west coasts, Texas, and the Midwest. She attended the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, graduating in 1937 with a degree in art education. She had a wonderful time there as evidenced by a photo of her appearing in the New York Times when she was voted popularity queen of the U of I campus.

Til married William "Bill" Renz on January 18, 1941, in Oak Park, Illinois. Bill was a graduate of Northwestern University, so he and Til always had an amicable rivalry, especially during football season. Bill's service in the U.S. Navy during World War II led Til to drive alone from Chicago to locations on the east coast while he was in training. This was at a time when there were no interstates, so it was an adventurous undertaking for a woman alone. When Bill was sent overseas, Til returned to Chicago and worked at Marshall Field's until his return from the war. Til and her husband resided in the Oak Park-River Forest area of Chicago for about 30 years where they raised three children. Til occasionally substitute taught in physical education and art but was mostly a stay-at-home mom. She enjoyed playing bridge and was a member of the Oak Park-River Forest Infant Welfare Society.

In the early 1970s, Til and Bill moved to Naples, Florida, and later to Sugarmill Woods. In Florida, Til particularly enjoyed boating, shelling, and golfing. Her artistic talent was evident throughout her life, especially in the many handcrafted keepsakes she made over the years. Knitting and needlepoint were two of her favorite pastimes. She was also a great dog lover, and she had many four-legged companions in her life. She moved to Bettendorf in 2002, a few years after her husband of 57 years passed away.

Til will be remembered for her positive, sporting attitude even in the face of physical decline and for her sense of humor and "say it like it is" comments that won everyone's hearts. She was spirited and fun-loving, someone who made an unforgettable impression. Often in her later years she commented that she had had a great life.

Til will be missed by her loving family: her daughter, Barbara Patterson (Nicholas), and son, Richard, both of Davenport, and her son, Ned, her daughter-in-law, Terri Hession, both of Greensboro, Ga.; her four grandchildren, Trent Patterson (Heather), St. Louis, Elizabeth Downend (Nathan), Summerville, S.C., Lyle Renz, Vero Beach, Fla., and Rashel Renz, Bettendorf; two great-grandsons, William and Jonathan Downend; and other family members and friends who loved her.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, William Simpson, and her husband, William Renz. Her family wishes to thank her caregivers at St. Mary Healthcare and Genesis Hospice for their loving kindness towards her. Memorials may be made to Genesis Hospice, Bettendorf. Online condolences to the family can be sent to

Burial will be at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.

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