Leading Long Island Volunteer Veronica Renken Dies at 88

veronica renken image
Veronica Renken

Veronica B. Renken, who was well known for her Long Island community service, passed away at her Garden City home on March 31. She was 88.

Veronica, known by many as “Ronnie,” was a beloved wife and a widely respected nonprofit volunteer on LI who had dedicated her life to the service of others. An incredibly involved community member, she chaired the board of Variety Child Learning Center in Syosset and served on the boards of United Way of Long Island, Winthrop University Hospital and Our Lady of Mercy Academy, her alma mater.

“In the history of United Way of Long Island, Ronnie was one of the longest-serving members and volunteers for our organization, spanning four decades,” Theresa A. Regnante, president and CEO of United Way of Long Island, wrote in a statement. “All who had the chance to know Ronnie understood her deep devotion to our mission — evident, as she rarely missed a board meeting and was engaged full time in building an impact agenda with our agency partners. She seemed to move deftly between community activism by exercising her tactical brilliance, and yet it seemed she always preserved her fierce integrity.” 

Regnante added, “On a personal note, I met Ronnie in 1987, my first year with United Way. She was a fantastic mentor, a cheerleader to the staff and … Ronnie was a pioneer, opening doors to leadership for women in the nonprofit sector. She will be dearly missed.”

Renken had received a plethora of awards throughout her life for her services within the community, notably being honored by National Society of Fundraising Executives LI Chapter as an Outstanding Volunteer in 1991, recognized by Garden City as Citizen of the Year in 1994 and receiving the Gilbert Tillis Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2004. She was also honored several times for her work in patient care at Winthrop University Hospital in the 1970s, where she led the Women’s Auxiliary and served as a member of the board of directors.

The burial took place at Holy Rood Cemetery, 111 Old Country Rd., Garden City, where she was buried beside her late husband, Martin H. Renken.

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