Ms. Renee Durham, 50, of Melbourne, Florida passed away on Thursday, October 19, 2023. She was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on Tuesday, July 3, 1973. Preceding her in death were her parents, Calvin and Betty Jo Durham; son, Terry Joseph “T.J.” Rettmann Durham; and special nephews, Chad Durham and Bradley James “B.J.” Durham.
She is survived by her daughter, Rebecca Rettmann (Angel) Fernandez of Murfreesboro; grandchildren, Olivia Fernandez, Maria Fernandez, and Luis Fernandez; brothers, Randy (Jeannie) Durham, Calvin Ray Durham, and Terry (Patricia) Durham; nieces, Holly Durham and Kelly Durham; and several great nieces, nephews, and other extended family members.
Being the only girl in the middle of 3 boys left Renee little chance of not turning out to be a tom boy. Growing up, she played football with the boys and wasn’t afraid to rough house, but this rough and tumble girl had a meek and mild side to her. Renee was shy until she got to know you, and that disposition probably stemmed from her raising.
When Sunday rolled around, Mrs. Betty made sure Renee was a lady. None of her children were going to miss church, and the Durham family attended at Franklin Road Baptist Church for many years before moving to Gethsemane House of Prayer. Whether they were getting ready to rumble or getting ready for church, there was one constant. They were together.
The closeness of the Durham family continued into their adult lives, and that also meant that her family was the group that knew Renee best. Her outgoing personality with them came out in her jokes and her music. By the time her grandchildren came along, Renee was in full swing. She loved playing blocks with Olivia, and something about putting Olivia in the jumper and hearing her scream like a little eagle filled her heart with joy.
While Mrs. Betty was called Nanny, Renee decided she wanted to be called Nana. Keeping a hint of her mom with her own flare added, Renee made sure she not only occurred first in the dictionary but also was first on her grandbabies tongues. “Nana” became on of her favorite words because she knew that meant they were calling for her.
Though life threw some curve balls in Renee’s way, she still tried to stay true to the Durham family tradition. Even living in Florida, she kept up to date with her children and her grandchildren. Fifty seems far too young to leave this life, but Renee had seen younger. Her heart broke when her only son, T.J., passed away. Rebecca became a light in the darkness, and she renewed her efforts on staying in touch.
Now, the light is a little dimmer and the table a little smaller, but the tradition is one and the same. As the family gathers round to lay their sister, mother, and Nana to rest, they reach out to one another in love and know the torch will be carried on by those who loved Renee.
Visitation will be held at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home on Sunday, November 12, 2023 from 1-2 pm. Memorial services will follow directly after on Sunday, November 12, 2023 at 2 pm in the Gentry-Smith Funeral Home chapel. JoEllen King will officiate.
Share memories and condolences at www.gentrysmithfuneralhome.com Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337 Because every life has a story