Annalene Renner: Surviving Spouse of the Month | August 2021
Logan Renner, Jr., was born in 1926 in Reading, OH. He was the youngest in the family, having four brothers and three sisters. His family lived in Ohio till he was two, then moved to a farm in Kentucky. Growing up, Logan wasn’t interested in sports but had a passion for car races and truck or tractor pulls.
The U.S. Army drafted Logan at 18 years old. On the day Logan and his best friend went in for their examination, they were in a terrible car accident. Logan’s best friend was killed while he spent weeks in the hospital recovering before he left for basic training. They intended to go in together on the buddy system, and the loss of his friend was very hard on him.
Logan was sent to Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, IN, for his basic training. Annalene thought back and stated, “The only thing he ever talked to me about was that he was in the infantry and some kind of artillery.”
Once he completed his basic training, he was sent overseas for 18 months. The day he shipped out; they were playing Frank Sinatra’s song Sentimental Journey. He later confessed that he was scared to death the day he left, he missed his friend, and he didn’t want to go. After making a stop in Japan for a month or two, just a few days after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he was then sent to the Pacific Islands. He traveled from Saipan, Guam, and Tinian, spending most of his journey 1n Guam. Logan was in coastal artillery in the Pacific Theater, which involved large weapons known for discharging offshore missiles for defense against a naval attack. Logan was issued a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) to carry but only weighing 115 pounds at the time, he struggled to carry it and had to trade with someone for another smaller weapon.
After Logan was honorably discharged from the Army as a private first class, he returned to Kentucky. When Annalene was asked if she knew Logan before he deployed, she giggled and said, “Well, he says I did!” She explained there was an eight-year age difference and that they had grown up on adjoining farms in the Kentucky countryside. They were in school together at one point, but she didn’t get to know him until she was about 14 years old. Annalene’s sister was married to Logan’s brother, and she heard he was looking for a girlfriend. Annalene mentioned to her sister, “Well, I’ll go out with him.” and went on to say, “And that’s how it started.”
After approximately a year of dating, Logan just said one night, “In a couple of weeks, let’s get married, and I just said OK.” Annalene was 17 years old when they married, and after staying on the farm for a year, they decided to move for better opportunities to make a living. Annalene said she marked a calendar one night and said in six months, we are leaving. So, the couple ended up in Ohio in 1953.
Logan went to school for agriculture, but after moving off the farm, it was hard to find work in his field, but Annalene proudly exclaimed, “He could grow a dandy garden!” She went on to say, “He could plant a bean on a rock and make it grow.” Logan worked odd jobs for a while until he was hired at Diamond International Paper Company. He ended up staying on until he retired 37 years later.
Logan only shared a few stories about his time in the military and mostly talked about where he traveled in the Pacific Islands. One thing he spoke about was the boat that took him overseas. He mentioned he worked in the kitchen on the ship and would bake bread for the crew. He remembered how he traveled under the Golden Gate bridge when he was shipping out. A few years back, that boat came to Aurora, IN, and he wanted to see it. The Renner’s youngest daughter, along with her husband, took them up to tour the ship. Annalene said, “I was expecting a big ship, but it was not all that big.” She went on to say, “When he got on that ship, he changed to a whole different person. He went back in time. It was like he was there all over again.” Eventually, they made their way to the kitchen, and he was overcome by memories. Annalene sent her daughter to talk to him, calming him down, and revealed, “It was hard to see him like that.” Confiding in one of his sons, Logan disclosed a little more about what had happened on the ship. Stationed in Tinian the night the Japanese surrendered; he was commanded to guard Japanese prisoners on the boat. Since Logan didn’t have a weapon, his Sergeant gave him a pocketknife, and said if anyone attempted to escape, he had orders to use it. He revealed to his son that he brought that knife home and insisted that his son keep it. His uniform was the only other item that returned to the states with him. Even though it was something he never wanted to be a part of, Logan Renner was proud of his military service.
The Renner’s had four children, two boys, and two girls, but helped raise many more over the years. The Renner’s were part of the foster care program, and it was nothing for them to have several foster children in the house at one time. All the foster children just became part of the family. Logan was always fun, which made life fun. The couple would have water fights in the yard, chasing each other around with the children. Logan was always talking to someone and never met a stranger. He enjoyed being around people. On top of working and raising children, he spent 30 years on Life Squad as a volunteer for the fire department.
The fun didn’t stop as time went on. The Renner family loved to take vacations together, and Logan’s favorite place was the beach. He would wake everyone up at the crack of dawn with childlike enthusiasm to head to the beach and watch the sunrise. Then, every night they would play games together after enjoying the day on the water.
In 2004 they took a trip to Washington DC right after the opening of the WWII Memorial. He was greeted right away as they acknowledged his service, treating him like a king. Logan lit up at the unbelievable reception he received, and his family was honored that they were there to share that moment with him.
Annalene is currently 87 years old and loves to spend time quilting. She even mentioned she had one in her lap during the time of the interview. The couple has six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and the family remains very close. Two of their grandsons were also in the service. James Renner served in Afghanistan for the U.S. Army, even attending Camp Atterbury just like his grandfather. His grandson Alex Shell did two tours in Iraq as a Navy corpsman.
The Renner’s celebrated 60 years on January 10th, 2012, and on January 31st, Logan Renner had a massive coronary while Annalene was helping him shower. He was 87 years old. Annalene stated, “We had a good marriage, ups and downs like everybody else, but my husband and my children are my life.”
Veterans Care Coordination is proud to recognize Logan Renner, Jr., for his service to our country and proud to acknowledge Annalene Renner for her support and sacrifice to our country. We are privileged to have the opportunity to share the stories of our nation’s heroes.