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Feb 17, 2017

Remembering Dr. Cecil “Chubby’” Reneau, Dead at 66

Cecil “Chubby’” Reneau

It has been quite a week during which well-known Belizeans and friends of Belize died. We have covered the passing of Doctor Robert Horwich, primatologist and founder of the Community Baboon Sanctuary in Bermudian Landing; as well as Arthur Francisco, also known as Mister Pou; and on Thursday, the Most Reverend Bishop Osmond Martin of the Roman Catholic Church.  Tonight, there are two more deaths to report, one of a friend of Belize and the other a native with a great legacy in education and more recently politics. The latter death is of Doctor Cecil Reneau, who passed at sixty-seven years of age on Thursday afternoon at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after a long illness. He was a lifelong teacher and public servant, culminating as Chief Education Officer. He is also known for his support of the People’s United Party, under whose banner he ran for Mayor of Belize City in 2009.  Aaron Humes looks back on his life and finds many facets to the man known to all as “Chubby.”

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

The West Landivar family home of the late Dr. Cecil “Chubby” Reneau, which we visited this afternoon, is perhaps the best representation of what and who he was. The stalwart educator dedicated his life to the teaching of technical and vocational education, and according to his daughter Heather, he practiced at home what he taught at the former Belize Technical College, and later with the Center for Employment Training and Institutes for Technical/Vocational Education and Training.

 

Heather Reneau

Heather Reneau, Daughter of Deceased

“He was very instrumental in the start-up of the ITVET programs in the country which is the technical and vocational programs; he was the principal of [Belize] Technical College; he also was the Chief Education Officer for the country and he was a public servant in numerous capacities; and he also volunteered his time to teaching young people how to do woodwork. We looked up [to] my Dad from a very young age, everything in our house, he built with his hands. So we learned at a very young age to do things on our own. So besides knowing the ‘book smarts’, he was an all-around man.”

 

After retiring from the Public Service, Reneau, a life-long supporter of the People’s United Party, entered politics for an unsuccessful run as Mayor of Belize City in 2009. But thereafter, according to former pupil and Secretary General to the Party Linsford Castillo, he continued to be of service.

 

Linsford Castillo

Linsford Castillo, Secretary General, P.U.P.

“That was when everybody began seeing the political aspect of Dr. Reneau’s life; and from then, he continued to support the party; he attended most or all of our functions if he were able to; he remained dedicated to serve; and he worked along with the leadership of the Party until he was not able to – and I understand it he was ill for a while, and we got the tragic news yesterday that he passed away at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Certainly, it goes without saying that it is a tremendous loss for us in the People’s United Party, and as a Party and on behalf of the party leader and the chairman, we extend our deepest condolences to the family of the late Dr. Cecil “Chubby” Reneau.”

 

Attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley, a close friend,  says that the well-known Cecil ‘Chubby’ Reneau, like Vernon Carr, was one of those teachers at the Belize Technical College when the Belize Technical College was the premier teaching institution of this country in relation to the Votech.

 

Richard “Dickie” Bradley

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Friend of Deceased

“Chubby Reneau had been a fixture and a part of the education system in this country from teacher all the way up to becoming the chief education officer. He was an affable, pleasant, wonderful human being. Tall, strapping, what you would call a gentle giant.  So it was a great loss because I used to always joke with ahn and tell him, Chubby now that you are retired, you could start to do a little bit of writing and recapture some of the information in your time.  He will always be discussed and be remembered whenever technical college is called upon, whenever education is called upon. He did a lot of renovations and reforms in the educational field that has come down to benefit all of us, so it is a great loss.”

 

The greatest loss is to his family: wife of forty-two years, Nina; sons Ervin and Franz and daughters Heather and Ashema;  granddaughters, Allesandra and Laila, and sisters Suzette and Olga Mossiah and brother Dennis Reneau. Heather Reneau says it will be hard to accept that such a powerful, yet gentle man, is gone.

 

Heather Reneau

“We will most remember that jovial man; that loud voice, that friendly voice, that compassionate person, always willing to comfort you; always by your side. It will be hard for us.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.

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1 Response for “Remembering Dr. Cecil “Chubby’” Reneau, Dead at 66”

  1. Joe says:

    Regards to the Family of Chubby a real Bzean educational contribution to the Jewel

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