Citizen Spotlight: Gary Renne

Gary Renne loves seeing the positive growth in Excelsior Springs (photo S Jason Cole).

Gary Renne has lived in Excelsior Springs for 62 years and has been working to make it a better place since he was just a child. He moved here with his mother when he was just four years old.  Living downtown, he said he and his mother didn’t have a lot of money so she taught him early on about the importance of working for what you want. Gary said he started working when he was just 8; making pot holders that his mother would sell at the laundromat, cleaning up at Dairy B, and delivering papers for the Excelsior Springs Standard for many years. “I’ve never stopped working, I’m still working two jobs!” he laughed. If you see Gary now he’s usually behind the wheel of one of the Chamber Trolleys (he’s the Trolley Manager) or driving a school bus full of kids to an event. But the impact he’s had on the community has spanned decades and he’s not stopping anytime soon.

Gary and his wife Anita have been married for 49 years, “June 2nd will be 50 years,” he grinned. (submitted photo).

When asked what he’s most proud of, Gary said other than his family, he’s most proud of dedicating his life to Christ when he was still in high school. He admitted he was a bit ornery in those days and many people thought he was just going through a phase and that he might not stick with it. Now when he goes to his class reunions, and he goes to them all, he says he likes to find those people who doubted him just to let them know he stuck with it. “Every time I go to a class reunion, or if I see any of them, I say, hey, it’s lasted, I’m still changed, I’m still not the person I used to be, I still love God,” he smiled. Gary channeled his passion for serving Jesus Christ into multiple ministry efforts over the years. Whether working as Salvation Army Service Unit Director and helping the poor or organizing several coffee house ministries, he’s always had a heart for service.

Gary and Anita center with their family. Left, Noah, Jennifer, Novella, and Liam. Right, Jeremiah, Sherie, and Miah. (submitted photo).

For 10 years Gary served as the pastor for Crescent Lake Christian Center and while there oversaw the construction of a 75,000-square-foot addition that now houses their worship centers, classrooms, and more. As the church grew, Gary said he made the decision to step down to let someone else take it even further. After he resigned he wasn’t quite sure what to do with himself, but he was invited to help create outreach events for youth in the community so he launched the Crescent Lake Concert Series. As director of the series, Gary helped bring nationally acclaimed, Grammy award-winning artists to Excelsior Springs. He reminisced about the largest event which was held at Tiger Stadium, “Jars of Clay, Audio Adrenaline, Thousand Foot Krutch… we had five or six bands, about 2300 people there, it was good,” he said. Over the course of 13 years, Gary said there were 3 Tiger Stadium concerts, 4 Performing Arts Center concerts, and numerous other events throughout the community.

Gary has also been heavily involved with the Chamber of Commerce during his life. For 35 years he’s been a volunteer for Waterfest and for 20 years he’s served on the Waterfest Committee helping to make it the community’s largest and most successful festival. More recently Gary took on the role of Trolley Manager for the Chamber. Being on the Trolleys and helping guide visitors around the community has given Gary a unique perspective on Excelsior Springs. “Most people have no idea how many people come into this town each week… and many are spending a full weekend. So they’re coming in on a Friday night, they’re eating dinner somewhere, they’re filling up with gas somewhere, they’re staying somewhere, and then they’re getting up and they’re ready to go at 10 AM for the wine tour. And when they’re done with that they’ve still got another night here,” he revealed. Gary, who lived in Excelsior Springs during its heyday says the community is in better shape than he’s ever seen it. “Infrastructure and facilities… we’ve got the Community Center, new schools, and more on the way. And, I would say we’ve got a great city government full of people who are in it for the right reasons,” he said. He encouraged Excelsior Springs residents to continue to move forward with a positive attitude. “We’re really on an upswing, let’s keep it going!” he concluded.

We keep the local news free thanks to advertisers and individual contributions!

Thanks to our Founding Sponsors

4 thoughts on “Citizen Spotlight: Gary Renne”

  1. Sherri Bratcher

    This is such a great article and Gary & Anita are wonderful amazing people! Jimmie and I have been friends with them for years!
    We can testify to his statement!! “ It has stuck!” He still loves God and people!

  2. super article.I remember Gary in 1968 at MT.Calvary Lutheran CHURCH when he was a leader among us..we painted a Christian mural once and could only afford 2 colors ( bought 2 Brunkes)on a temporary fence….by the commerce bank building ( Thompson at Broadway)then walked in a parade handing out leaflets…Pastor Bruss wasnt completely on board but Gary twisted his arm!pastor bruss is 92 now..

Comments are closed.

News for and About Excelsior Springs!

Get the Excelsior Citizen e-newsletter delivered straight to your inbox each week. It’s a collection of the best news and events all focused exclusively on Excelsior Springs. No fluff just local news and information you can trust!

Free Newsletter Signup