For anyone who grew up in and around Glendale in the 1940’s and 1950’s, life could be as simple as riding your bike back and forth to school and getting together with friends to play at the park. That day would last until the street lights came on or you were hungry enough to go home early. Bill Renison was a product of those times.
Born in Glendale, he moved to Eagle Rock and graduated from Eagle Rock High School. He recalls that his family did not own a car in those days and they traveled mostly by street car or bus. “I was lucky to be part of a generous, caring family of five children. Our parents taught us by example and gentle guidance,’’ Renison said. “We understood the meaning of integrity because that’s the way they lived. I don’t recall that they ever missed a school event that any of us were involved in.’’
While at Eagle Rock High, he excelled as an all-city halfback in football and a multi-disciplined track athlete in the long jump, the quarter mile relay and both the 100 and 220 yard dashes. Although Renison was offered a few out-of-state football scholarships, he decided to stay local and attend Glendale City College.
“Attending Glendale turned out to be one of the best decisions that I’ve made. I didn’t have any idea what type of career I wanted to pursue, so I took a variety of courses,’’ he said about the school which he considered the best junior college in the area. “Equally important, I was able to be a member of excellent football and track teams. I could not have asked for better coaches than Don Bennett and Ed Tucker. They worked us hard but they allowed us to have fun, as well.’’
It has been over 45 years since he last wore a football uniform at Glendale College, but Bill Renison still ranks as one of the best football players to ever suit up for the Vaqueros. He played for Coach Bennett in 1961 and 1962 and was part of an explosive backfield that included both Don Johnson and a young quarterback named Jim Sartoris.
A two-time All-American in football here at Glendale College, Renison still holds the distinction of ranking in the top 10 with 1,203 yards gained in one season and also racking up 2,260 yards as a career total. He also scored 20 touchdowns in his career as a Vaq. The Vaqueros were 16-3 during his time on the team and played in two bowl games. Further, during track season, he ran the 100 and 220 yard dashes and the mile relay, where his teams reached the state finals in both years. He was honored as Glendale College’s outstanding male athlete in 1962.
Renison accepted a scholarship to play football at USC where he played halfback and flanker behind two great Trojans, Mike Garrett and Rod Sherman, and lettered as a senior in 1964. He recalled that he did not play much except when Garret or Sherman were injured, or needed a break. However, he suited up for every game and received a very expensive, but paid for, degree in Civil Engineering.
After a stint in the Army, Renison was employed as a civil engineer for the City of Los Angeles and later with the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, Oregon and Arizona. After 30 productive years he retired from his dream job with the Forest Service and will retire for good in May as a Senior Civil Engineer for Maricopa County in Arizona.