San Francisco to Los Angeles Cancer Awareness Ride Tribute 2023

Kenny Renz  Los Angeles County Fire Department

Former Los Angeles County Fire Captain Ken Renz retired here in Idaho after a long career. Sadly, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. A special day to honor him was organized in Star Idaho where Kenny had retired to.

Ken Renz and his wife Demi bought a home here to enjoy everything Idaho has to offer, and to live closer to their daughter who is a nurse at Saint Alphonsus. Sadly, their dreams of a long and happy retirement in Idaho were dashed, when Ken was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer.

Morgyn Rogers works for A Better Solution In Home Care in Boise, and her company had the honor of caring for Ken Renz. She really wanted to do something special for him in his final weeks.

“Glioblastoma is the top leading occupational cancer and is the top cause of deaths in firefighters. So, we wanted to bring some awareness to glioblastoma, and honestly, I just wanted to honor him,” Rogers said.

Rogers put a plan in place to celebrate Ken Renz’s life and career with the help of his friends and family, and our local fire departments.

It started with a final ride on a fire truck from the Star/Middleton Fire Departments. The truck drove him to his celebration, a first-class ride. That ride meant so much to Ken and his family.

Local firemen from several different agencies in our community lined a path to welcome him with applause.

Ken Renz’s son Kody, who is also a fireman in Southern California, told us about how his dad landed in Idaho. His sister Delaney lives here, and Ken loved the great outdoors.

“He worked through the ranks all the way up to the position of captain,” Kody Renz said. “He went through his career and retired in 2019, from Fire Station 77 in LA County. He decided that Star was the place they wanted to live, and found a house, and the rest is history.”

Kody was so touched by the turnout for his dad. Friends, both new and old came to Star for this event, and people Ken didn’t even know showed up too. That included many of our local firemen from all over the valley who wanted to be a part of this.

“So many people showed up, he hasn’t seen some of them in twenty or even thirty years. I think he feels extremely appreciated and extremely thankful that he was able to see something like this with his own eyes. and realize how many people love and appreciate him and his service.,” Kody said. “The firefighters from Star, Parma Meridian, Caldwell, Eagle. Thank you.”

Rogers was so pleased with the turnout. It was what she was hoping would happen.

“We wanted to bring that community and that firemen brotherhood to Ken here in Idaho, and just show him how much support the Treasure Valley and can give him at a hard time in life.” Rogers said.

Ken wasn’t able to speak, so his wife Demi spoke to the crowd at the celebration representing them both.

“Thank you for coming, all of you people who came together from far and wide, and people who don’t know us. Life is short, love is long. Thank you, we appreciate it so much,” Demi Renz said.

Ken’s daughter Delaney spoke as well.

“People that don’t even know my dad and showed up for this. you are amazing,” Delaney Renz said. “We love you all and we appreciate you and we thank you seriously from the bottom of our hearts thank you.”

Ken’s son Kody said the day was something they will always cherish as a family.

“Even though it’s been such a hard sad terrible road with this cancer, we are extremely grateful for so much support.” Kody said.

Sadly, we learned Ken Renz passed away April 29, 2023 He died with his loving family right by his side here in Idaho. They are so grateful that they could celebrate that special day, and his final ride, with our community.

Brock Wells San Francisco Fire Department

Brock was born August 28, 1957 and was hired by the San Francisco Fire Department on January 10, 2000 and retired on December 31, 2012 at the rank of Captain

Jerry Murphy San Francisco Fire Department

Gerald (Jerry) F. Murphy Jr. passed away peacefully on April 8, 2023 after a courageous battle with cancer. Jerry was born on September 15, 1945 to Gerald F. Murphy and Grace Kelley Murphy. He was raised on 18th Avenue with his four siblings: Grace, Jim, Ruth, and Gene. As a child he spent summers in Los Gatos, Lake Tahoe, and Reno.

He attended St. Cecilia’s Elementary School and Sacred Heart High School (class of 1963). After high school, he attended U.C. Berkeley, where he was a proud member of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. Jerry graduated from Cal in 1967. Go Bears!

Jerry served in the United States Army and then joined the San Francisco Fire Department in 1974, where he proudly served for 29 years. He enjoyed his career in the San Francisco Fire Department and made many lifelong friends, especially at Engine 37.

Jerry married the love of his life, Kellie Coyne, on September 30, 2000. The romantic Jerry proposed to Kellie in Paris at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Jerry and Kellie enjoyed spending time at Donner Lake where they would entertain their numerous nieces and nephews. Jerry and Kellie also liked traveling and they especially enjoyed taking cruises. Some of Jerry’s fondest memories were the times he spent helping Gene take care of Conor, Caroline, and Kellen. Everyone loved Uncle Jerry so much.

Jerry was a true San Franciscan and he enjoyed going to 49er and Giant’s games. He also was a huge Cal football fan who patiently waited and waited for the Bears to return to the Rose Bowl. He was quite the collector and enjoyed tinkering in his garage, especially on his beloved teletype machines.

Jerry is survived by his beloved wife, Kellie Coyne, his sister, Ruth (John d 2001) Perez, his brother, Gene (Debbie), and his sister-in-law, JoAnn Murphy. He was predeceased by his sister, Grace, who passed away in 2019 (Russ d 2002) Jenkins and brother, Jim, who passed in 2022.

Paul Crimmins San Rafael Fire Department

Brother Paul Crimmins passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loved ones on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 after a long battle with occupational brain cancer. Paul was 61 years of age and a 34 year veteran of the fire service. Paul began his fire service journey as a seasonal firefighter for the California Department of Forestry (now CalFIRE) in 1979. In 1981 Paul became a professional firefighter in the Marinwood Fire Department at Station 58. In 1988 Paul accepted a position with the City of San Rafael Fire Department as a Firefighter / Paramedic and continued to work there for the next 25 years. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in 2005 and eventually retired as a Battalion Chief in 2014. He lived in Cotati, CA and is survived by his wife Hillary, four children and many, many friends.

Jerry Thrasher Marinwood Fire Department

We are sad to announce the passing of retired Marinwood Fire Department Captain Jerry Thrasher. Born in Detroit Michigan and laid to rest in San Rafael, California.   Jerry was one of 7 children and a favorite Uncle to 14 nieces and nephews.  In addition to being a great mentor and friend to multiple generations of firefighters who began their careers in Marinwood, “JT” served as a labor negotiator and shop steward for several contracts in the early 1980s. JT grew up in Kentfield and started his career in the fire service as a volunteer at Station 17 in 1972. He was hired by the Marinwood Fire Department in 1974 and retired as a Captain and Training Officer in 2004. Jerry passed away due to complications associated with occupational brain cancer after an extended battle and lengthy treatment. We are appreciative of his years of dedicated service and wish his family strength and comfort.