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Renso Castellarin

Lisa Sygutek

Sept 6, 2023

I have written my editorial about a person who had a pro-found impact on my life; Renso Castellarin.

There have only been three times that I have written my editorial about a person who had a pro-found impact on my life; Cal Fuller, Ken Stenson and Jo Proc and so it seems fitting that I write my fourth one about Renso Castellarin. 

Renso passed away last Wednesday at his home. Renso and Bonnie have been in my life for as long as I can remember. Renso was my brother Ricky’s Godfather and incredibly close to my mom. He was a rock in her life when my brother was killed in a car accident and remained a steady presence throughout the years.

I was recently looking through old photo albums and in many of them is a photo of Renso. He joined me on a trip to Japan when I oversaw the Anpachi program, an international school exchange program run through the Crowsnest Centre. 

I have photos of him holding my kids when they were born, I have photos of him with my parents throughout the years, so many that I forgot he was such a big part of our lives.

When my mom was dying, she specifically asked for Renso. She wanted him to be there to give her Last Rites and I believe it gave her a lot of peace as she made her transition to Heaven. 

When everyone in my life died, I really wasn’t in a good place. I was emotionally and physically drained by the traumatic experience. It’s a bizarre feeling to become the adult in your family when everyone dies. I was 44 years old with no adult figures left in my life. I was the adult now. 

Both Renso and Bonnie stepped into that role for me in many ways. Both would show up here at the paper and check on me. It was often just a quick visit, but I felt that with them both in my life I wasn’t quite alone.

After each event including the deaths of Willy, Gail, and Buddy, to my diagnosis with cancer, both Renso and Bonnie were there. 

Earlier in the year Quinn asked to be confirmed Catholic and did the work to get the blessing. On the day of his confirmation in Pincher Creek (he was the oldest kid there), Bonnie was there and Renso helped officiate the ceremony as Deacon of our Catholic Church here in the Crowsnest Pass.

The last time I talked to Renso was just over a month ago. He showed up here at the office and we had a wonderful talk about life and illness. I’ve had some health issues lately and Renso was here to talk about it with me and make sure I was okay. It was a lovely visit and I wish I had known at that time it would be that last time I would see him come to the office to give me advise and a sense of love from an adult. In those moments I didn’t feel like I had to be the adult and could lean on someone who felt like a parental figure. 

I will miss Renso and his advice and his kindness. In his years as a teacher and administrator he touched many lives and I believe there are many in the community feeling as bereft as I do. He was a big man with just as big of a heart.

Years ago, when Lyle and I bought our first house we needed to build a deck and who showed up but Renso and for over two weeks he helped us build that deck. He could build anything! He never asked for a thing, just showed up to help. That is the type of man he was: Giving, caring, thoughtful, brilliant, compassionate, and kind. He certainly practised what he literally preached. The Holy Trinity Church will miss him incredibly, as will many in this community.

The Crowsnest Pass is a bit dimmer without him in it. My sincere condolences go to Bonnie and family. I have a pretty good idea the hole he has left in their family. If anyone took a straight line to Heaven it was Renso, his belief was profound and I’m sure he’s smiling from Heaven as he continues to watch over us all.

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