Clarence Renshaw was born in Swissvale, Pennsylvania, in January 1907. He entered West Point in July 1925, by way of Carnegie Tech and Schad’s. He graduated in June 1929 with a Bachelor of Science degree, and shortly afterwards, attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in building construction and a Master of Science degree in business and engineering administration. He won his “A” in sports but was much more interested in playing Company football. Renny was a fierce competitor who would fight to the death for an extra point, and then give away the farm without a second thought or a backward glance. A happy-go-lucky smile, everybody’s friend, but a very serious side of great dedication.
Renny’s first assignment was to the Constructing Quartermaster’s Office in Washington, DC. His first project was the stabilization of the moving sand dunes and construction of the Wright Memorial at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Other early military assignments included construction projects in the Panama Canal Zone, New York, and Fort Monroe, Virginia.
In August 1941 he was placed in charge of the design and construction of the Pentagon Building. During that period, all military construction was transferred from the Quartermaster Corps to the Corps of Engineers, so Renny became an officer of the Army Engineers. Following the Pentagon construction, he served successively as District Engineer in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York. During his Philadelphia assignment, in 1944. he was charged with the organization and training of the Engineer troop battalions which manned port repair ships and militarized dredges in Europe and the Pacific.
In 1946 he organized the Manila Engineering District and took command of 20,000 troops in a combined program for military construction and post-war rehabilitation of all ports and harbours in the Philippines. In 1951 he organized and commanded the Northeast District of the Corps which built Thule Air Force Base in Greenland, one of the toughest Arctic engineering jobs ever undertaken.
After graduating from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1952, he was assigned as District Engineer in Okinawa in charge of the design and construction of all United States military bases in the Ryukyuan Islands. On his return to the United States he served as Division Engineer of the North Atlantic Division from 1955 to 1959. His next assignment was Director of Military Construction in the Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington, DC.
Renny retired in 1960 and became executive vice president of Frederick R. Harris Company Inc., an international consulting engineering firm in New York City. He entered private practice in 1963, and engaged in shore and beach problems and projects, working principally with the Long Island State Park Commission and some of the eastern towns of Long Island.
Renny was a member of the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbours, and vice president of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association. He was a national director and a Fellow of the Society of American Military Engineers, and a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Among his awards were the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Commendation ribbon.
Renny was an energetic and inspiring leader; loyal to the core; modest, yet always confident. He put great demands on himself and sometimes on others, but he was invariably considerate and kind in all of his relationships. It is a truism that construction projects consist of a series of crises; nevertheless Renny always managed to let the problems rest lightly on his shoulders, and his sense of humor was never far below the surface.
He is survived by his wife Eileen; a son, Alan, and two daughters, Lyndall Barrett and Maidee Gilbert.