Remembering Rob Renfroe

My dear brother Rob passed away on January 25th, 2009 after a long struggle with brain cancer.  I had the honor of spending the last couple months of his life with him, and it was comforting to see that he had come to terms and accepted his fate, even if I was having trouble doing so.  A manifestation of this acceptance was that he had intended to make his own remembrance slideshow to be played at his memorial, when that day would come.  Unfortunately, the progression of his disease prevented him from finishing his project.  He told me later that he wanted the slideshow to celebrate his family and friends, and the places that were dear to him; all the things that gave his life joy, and that he hoped he had given joy back to, in kind.

The idea for the slideshow, the theme and the presentation are all Rob’s, I simply tried to fill in the blanks that he left.  I hope that I have done him justice.  ~Dave Renfroe



Rob’s obituary was placed in the Fort Collins Coloradoan on January 27th, 2009.  

Robert Andrew Hillen Renfroe

Robert Andrew Hillen Renfroe, of Colorado Springs, died peacefully in his sleep with his family at his side on January 25, 2009, at the Pathways Hospice’s facility in Loveland, Colorado after struggling with brain cancer for several years.

Robert Andrew was born June 10, 1978, to Katherine Ann Hillen, and Ralph Harry Brandon in Fort Collins, Colorado. He attended Rivendale School and Lesher Junior High, before graduating from Fort Collins High School in 1997. When he was 11 years old, Rob earned his junior black belt in Kung Fu San Soo karate. He had a beautiful voice and with his junior and senior high choirs received awards at annually state competitions. Robert was a devout Christian; participating in youth fellowship groups at several area churches as he grew closer to God. Accomplished in Spanish, during high school Rob served as a medical interrupter on several mission trips to Mexico. In the summer following high school graduation, Rob went with his youth pastor to Siberia to conduct a high adventure camp for Russian boys. This was a great opportunity for him to share his love for Jesus and his passion for technical climbing, white water rafting, and hiking.

Rob continued his formal education at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. During this time he was active in his church, Rocky Mountain Christian Ministries, serving in the worship band and as the youth leader. Living in Gunnison also allowed him to enjoy biking, skiing, and technical mountain climbing. Rob summitted nine of Colorado’s 14ers. While always very strong and graceful, he preferred sports where the challenge was between nature and his own skills.

In July 2001, Robert married Stephanie LeAnn Klish. The marriage ended in divorce six years later.

It was after suffering his first brain cancer in 2002 that Rob chose to go into nursing. Over coming the ravaging effects of brain surgery and chemotherapy, he went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs in 2004, and in December 2005, graduating magna cum-laude, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of Colorado Health Science Center Denver.

Rob worked for eleven months at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs as a registered nurse before the reoccurrence of brain cancer ended his dream of caring for and comforting the sick.

Despite cancer’s ever increasing physical and cognitive devastation, Rob remained his loving and humorous self to the end. He was devoted to his family (especially his younger brother, Dave) and was a loyal friend to many. His wisdom, charm, and compassion will be deeply missed by all of those who knew him.

Those left to honor Rob’s memory include his mother, Katherine Ann Hillen Renfroe; his brother, David Matthew Hillen Renfroe; his grandparents, Robert and Julia Hillen, all of Fort Collins; his father, Ralph Brandon of Denver; his half-brother, Patrick (Susanne) Brandon of Littleton; his grandmother, Hilda Brandon of Denver; and his two very dear aunts, Virginia Plouff of Franktown, and Elizabeth Allen (H. Calvin Upton) of Livermore.

On Friday, January 30, 2009, at 6:30 p.m. a service celebrating Rob’s life will be held at the Masonic Center, 225 West Oak Street, Fort Collins, Colorado. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in memory of Rob to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado, Mercy Ship International, or the charity of your choice.