Arene Mildred Gustafson departed our earthly world in the arms of her Savior Jesus Christ on December 19, 2019 after a lengthy illness in Galveston, Texas. Those who had the pleasure of her acquaintance knew her to be cheerful, honest, faithful, kind of heart, and above all resilient, as she survived a massive brain tumor in the 1972, and in later years cheerfully adapted to vision loss brought on by macular degeneration.
Born October 22, 1931 in Seguin, Texas, and known to her family and friends as Renie, she was the eldest daughter of Dr. Arthur G. and Elsie Margaret “Peggy” Gustafson and older sister of Lorraine G. French. Renie attended Seguin High School where she co-edited the Cricket Chirps in 1946 and 1947 and graduated with honors in the class of 1949. She attended Texas Lutheran College prior to her graduation from the UTMB medical technology program in 1953. She returned to TLC in 1957 to complete her baccalaureate degree and upon graduation, returned to Galveston to work at UTMB, where she remained for her entire professional career as a Med Tech and an educator at the UTMB School of Allied Health Sciences. An active member of the American Society for Medical Technology at the district, state and national levels, Renie received professional recognition from a number of organizations, among them: Technologist of the Year Texas Society Medical Technicians, 1969; Corning Award of Merit from ASMT, 1970; Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas Lutheran College, 1977; School of Allied Health Sciences Faculty Recognition Award for ten years of service, 1978; UTMB Recognition for 25 years of Service; and SAHS 1983 Distinguished Alumni of the Year. Additionally, Renie was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and Alpha Mu Tau, an honorary fraternity for medical technologists.
Renie was active in the Lutheran churches in Seguin and later Galveston where she worshipped and remained a member of Zion Lutheran Church until its closure. Throughout her life, Renie nurtured an abiding love for the outdoors and her innate fascination with our natural world. A dog lover and an accomplished world traveler, Renie maintained close contact with her parents and family and will be remembered as a beloved aunt and role model, always willing to lend an ear. An ardent supporter of Texas Lutheran University, she also truly loved the island city she called home and remained an active participant in the island life. Before her health began to fail, Renie and her best friend Ruth Morris could regularly be found on their bench enjoying the summertime beach band concerts, and she was a member of the Galveston Historical Foundation, the Galveston Arts Council, the Gulf Coast Scandinavian Club, and the Galveston Chapter of the American Cetacean Society among others.
Predeceased by her parents, Dr. Arthur G. and Peggy O. Gustafson of Seguin, and her sister Lorraine G. French of Statesboro, Georgia, Renie is survived by her brother-in-law, Dr. Frank E. French and nephew Bryan and wife Jane French of Galveston, niece Cheryl French, and great nephew Johannes Kjellstrom and great niece Alexandra Kjellstrom all of Lund, Sweden. Her family gratefully thanks Pearl Cruz, her constant companion and caregiver for the loving attention she afforded Renie’s concerns
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, January 26 at Malloy & Son Funeral Home, 3028 Broadway, Galveston, Texas and her remains will be interned in Seguin, Texas with her parents and sister. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in the name of Renie M. Gustafson to Texas Lutheran University, or The Galveston County Humane Society.