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Donald Render

October 16, 2018

Render, Donald--A remarkable life of learning, laughing and loving ended October 16 with the passing of Donald J. Render at Illinois Masonic Medical Center in the presence of his family. Known to loved ones as “Lefty,” Render spoke fluent Italian, read voraciously, golfed whenever he could, traveled the world and reveled in playing fantasy baseball with his friends. He was beloved and respected by all who knew him for his generosity, wit and keen intellect. Born on June 1, 1943 in Peoria, Ill., Render was the third of five children. He grew up in Jackson, Miss., and Peoria, and graduated from Spalding Institute in Peoria. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree in engineering at University of Illinois, Render joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and, upon graduation, was sent by the U.S. Army to Massachusetts Institute of Technology to obtain his master’s degree in engineering. After completing his graduate studies, Render was deployed to Vietnam in 1967, serving in the rank of second lieutenant in the 575th Engineer Battalion. He returned to the U.S. a year later and remained a reservist until his honorable discharge in 1971. Render began his civilian career as an engineer at Bell Labs, working in Holmdel, N.J. In 1977 he completed his doctorate in engineering at New York University, and rose through the ranks to the position of vice president of AT&T. While serving in this capacity, Render was chosen to manage a joint venture between AT&T and Italy’s phone company from 1990-93, living in Milan with his wife, Paula, from 1990-93. Render retired from AT&T in 1996, but then worked for ADC Telecommunications and the global executive search firm Spencer Stuart until 2007. When Render retired for good, he devoted himself full time to doting on his beloved grandchildren and traveling with Paula. The couple annually attended the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. In addition to Paula, his wife of 28 years, Render is survived by his brother Patrick, sisters Rosemary and Rita; daughters Jill Render, of Philadelphia and Cathi Render, of Portland, Ore.; grandchildren Aiden, Nikolas, Ellie, Daniel, Jack and Kate and numerous other loving relatives. A visitation will be held Saturday, October 20 from 11:00 a.m- 3:00 p.m. at Cooney Funeral Home located at 3918 W. Irving Park Rd. in Chicago. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Doctors Without Borders or The Salvation Army. For information please call 773-588-5850 or visit






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