Robert F.X. Renehan

Date of Birth

April 25, 1935

Date of Death

April 26, 2019

City of Death

Santa Barbara

RENEHAN, Robert F.X., age 84, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family after a long illness on April 26, 2019. Originally from and raised in Dorchester, MA, Bob was born to Francis Xavier and Ethel Mary (Sullivan) Renehan on April 25, 1935. He was a graduate of Boston College High School 1952, Boston College 1956, and received his Doctor of Philosophy from Harvard University 1963. A traveling fellowship from Harvard University in 1954 allowed him to spend a year researching ancient texts held in the Vatican Library; he was named a National Endowment for Humanities Senior Fellow 1972-73.

After teaching at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley, Bob joined the Classics Department at Boston College as a professor and later served as department chair. In 1977, he moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he took great pleasure in teaching and mentoring students and served twice as Classics Department Chair. A prolific writer and internationally respected scholar noted for his expertise in ancient Greek philosophy and textual criticism, he published five books and more than 140 journal articles and reviews and enjoyed the friendship of many dear colleagues and students.

Devoted husband to Joan D. (Axtell) Renehan and beloved father of Martin Cole of Welaka, FL, Sharon Cole of Eureka, CA, Stephen Renehan (Bonnie) of Santa Barbara, CA, Judith Renehan Rouse (Daniel) of West Roxbury, MA, and John Renehan (Susan) of Arlington, VA. Caring grandfather to Christopher Cole (Helen), Stephanie Tennis (Seager), Robert Rouse, Katie Rouse, Liam Renehan, Colin Renehan, Lucy Renehan and great-granddaughter Emma Cole. Also survived by his dear brother Richard W. Renehan, wife Mary, and his beloved nieces and nephews Anne Renehan, Joan Renehan, Mark Renehan, and Richard Renehan (Maureen) and their children Owen, Anna, and Jack; and cousins Catherine McDonough, Jean O’Hara, Mary Jane Scola, Barbara Sullivan, and Neil Sullivan. He was predeceased by his parents Frank and Ethel Renehan, sister Joan Therese Renehan, and cousins Lida Hawk and Patricia Rein.

Bob’s medical team over the past few years has been exceptional. We are deeply grateful for the expert care and compassion of Dr. Gary Van Deventer, Dr. Robert Harbaugh, and Nancy Warner, FNP; caregivers Estela Chavez, Goretty Sedeno, Candelaria Garcia, and Nallely Alegria, Central Coast Hospice; and the kindness of many others.

Visiting hours at the P.E. Murray – F.J. Higgins, George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home 2000 Centre St. West Roxbury, MA on Sunday, May 5th from 2-5 p.m. Funeral from the funeral home on Monday, May 6th at 8:45 a.m., followed by a Funeral Mass at the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Boston College, 28 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends kindly invited. Burial following at St. Joseph Cemetery in West Roxbury, MA.

A memorial mass to celebrate Bob’s life will be planned in Santa Barbara, CA later in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Save the Children which Bob supported for many decades or the National Audubon Society in honor of his love of all animals, especially songbirds.


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