J. Kenneth Rentch, 94

SEPT. 28, 1917-JUNE 20, 2012

June 21, 2012
  • Rentch

J. Kenneth Rentch, 94, of Florence, S.C., died Wednesday, June 20, 2012, from a lengthy illness. 

“Kenny,” as he was known, was born Sept. 28, 1917 in Martinsburg, W.Va. He was the son of the late George Lawrence and Rosa McDaniel Rentch, of 432 E. Race St., Martinsburg. He married Louise Spencer Taylor on Nov. 16, 1942. She died Jan. 26, 1994, in Florence.

Kenny graduated from Martinsburg High School in 1934, where he played football under John C. Cobourn.

He attended Potomac State College, where he played football under Coach “Horse” Lough. He finished college at Concord State College, Athens, W.Va. His teaching career began at his alma mater, where he was tutored under Coach Cobourn. In 1946, Kenny moved to Shepherdstown, and finally teaching at South Hagerstown High School for a total of 39 years, retiring in 1979. During his tenure at Shepherdstown High School, he coached all sports for 25 years. He also was an official for football and basketball in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland for 30 years. In 1983, he was honored as the “Coach of the Year” for Region V of the West Virginia Coaches Association. He owned and operated “Kenny’s Cut Rate Store,” Main Street, Shepherdstown, from 1950 to 1955. Along with William “Bill” Snyder, he developed one of Shepherdstown’s first new developments, Little Run Acres, which began in the spring of 1954. He also worked at the Charles Town and Shenandoah Downs racetracks, from 1939 to 1962. In 1985 Kenny and his wife, Louise, moved to Florence, where he lived until December 2012, when he moved to Annapolis, Md., for health reasons.


Kenny served in the U.S. Navy as a first lieutenant for 39 months during World War II, aboard the U.S. Rodman and the Frank E. Evans, in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. The Rodman was involved in the landings at Normandy on D-Day; the invasion of Southern France; and the Battle of Okinawa.

Surviving are three sons, John K. Rentch Jr., of Annapolis, Dr. James S. Rentch of Morgantown, W.Va., and Stephen B. Rentch of Atlanta, Ga. Seven grandchildren, five great-grandsons, and one great-granddaughter survive him.

Three brothers and three sisters preceded him in death: Bruce Osbourn Rentch of Arlington, Va., Margaret Roxana Beard, Donald Garwood Rentch, George Maxwell Rentch and Nell Louise Kilmer, all of Martinsburg, and Catherine Glenville Shulfelt of Hagerstown, Md.

Funeral plans are undetermined at this time.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Building Fund of St. Luke Lutheran Church, 1201 Cherokee Road, Florence, SC 29501-4545.

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