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Renee Carlotta Scrutchings, born September 30, 1948, in Akron, Ohio. She entered her eternal rest on October 13, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois. She was the cherished daughter of Allen Fred Scrutchings and Juanita Colvin-Scrutchings and the adored sister of Dr. Cheryl Scrutchings-Sadler and Yvon (Todd) Mitchell. Renee’s upbringing was steeped in love and family, primarily under the loving care of her grandparents, Woodie and Levater Colvin, and she shared this nurturing environment with her young brother and older sister. Growing up Renee enjoyed visiting her paternal Grandparents, Lillian, and Edward Scrutchings and a host of the aunts, uncles and cousins on Akron’s Eastside. Renee’s early spiritual foundation was nurtured at Second Baptist Church in Akron, Ohio, where she accepted Christ and was baptized. Her faith remained a guiding light throughout her life. Her educational journey took her from South High School, where she graduated as part of the Class of 1967, to Central State University, where she graduated with a degree in education in the Class of 1971. Her passion for the arts was evident in her induction into the National Thespian Society during her high school years. This love for theater would remain a constant in her life. Renee’s dedication to education continued as she earned her master’s degree from Concordia University in partnership with DePaul University, which included the unique opportunity to study abroad. Subsequently, she earned another master’s degree in library science from the University of Chicago in 1978. During her graduate studies, Renee served as an Educator at Roosevelt University with the Upward Bound Program for the City of Chicago in the early 1970s.
Renee served the Chicago Board of Education for an impressive 35 years. Her dedication found a home at John C. Haines Elementary School, but she also held a special place in her heart for her time at Abbott Elementary School and Mark Sheridan Math and Science Academy. As a school librarian, she took great pleasure in hosting book fairs, cultural exhibits, and productions for her students. Renee’s involvement extended beyond the classroom. She was an active member of the Central State University Alumni Association, Chicago Chapter, taking immense pride in the legacy and network of her historically black college. She served on parent and booster clubs for ETA Creative Arts Foundation and Marshall Lindsay Majorettes. Renee’s community involvement was extensive. She was a dedicated member of Greater Omega Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, where she served as a trustee for many years. Renee truly enjoyed fellowshipping and often visited with many churches in Chicago. Renee frequented and loved to fellowship at St. Benedict the African Catholic Church in her community. Lastly, while in Akron, she joined Providence Baptist Church. As a long-time member of the Southside community, Renee participated in the CAPS program for the Englewood community and eventually became the President of her housing association, Bernard Place Neighbors. She published “The Bernard Place Bee Line,” a monthly newsletter that she took great joy in creating for her community. Renee was respected and loved by her neighbors. Renee possessed an entrepreneurial spirit, engaging in various business ventures such as selling Tupperware, Watkins products, Avon, and women’s undergarments. However, her most prized business venture was her more than 30-year tenure as a Mary Kay consultant, earning a Red Coat and assisting her team in winning several pink Cadillacs. She was also a real estate investor and landlord, a business she learned from her father, Mr. Fred. Renee was passionate about books and loved word games. Among her many passions, Renee thoroughly enjoyed playing cards and held a special love for the game of Bridge.
She was a member of three Bridge clubs for over 30 years, forming cherished friendships, particularly with her dear friend Barbara Puckett. Renee was a member of Princess Syene Chapter #114, Eureka Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, State of Illinois, Prince Hall Affiliated. At her passing being the Most Senior Past Matron, she spent over 40 years with some of her dearest friends, serving the Order. She and her sisters in the Order were known for their grand events, teas, and casino bus trips. Renee shared special family vacations with Sis. Geraldine McCann and experienced a one-of-a-kind sisterly dispute only Sis. Margaret Allen could provoke; yet they were inseparable. Renee was the proudest grandmother to her namesake, Laila Renee Woods. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for Laila Renee, and in her eyes, Laila could do no wrong. Many affectionately knew Renee as “Mama Renee.” She had a part in raising numerous children, leaving an indelible mark on their lives. Renee was a one of-a-kind Auntie to Claire and Frederick Sadler caring for them every summer on the annual summer break to Chicago. She always went the extra mile for her godchildren and the children of her closest friends. A final joy for Renee was the birth of her Great niece, Hevyn Travis. Renee endearingly named herself “Ani Granny” short for Great Auntie-Grandmother. Renee was excited to see her family growing. Renee was preceded in death by her grandparents, her mother and father, several aunts, uncles, cousins and her beloved Henry Wilson. She is survived by her loving family, including her daughter, Rebecca Wilson, granddaughter, Laila Woods, sister, Dr. Cheryl Scrutchings Sadler, brother, Yvon (Todd) Mitchell, niece, Claire Sadler, nephew, Frederick Sadler, great-niece, Hevyn Travis, last living Aunt Ophelia Scrutchings High and a special beloved partner and friend, Robert Lunderman, along with a sister circle of lifelong friendships and a host of cherished cousins, classmates, colleagues and friends. May her soul rest in eternal peace.