In memoriam: Advocate, activist Renie Lauer dies

FFRF Member Dorene “Renie” Lauer, 57, died at her home on Sept. 21, following a return of cancer of the esophagus.

She was born on Jan. 23, 1961, to Roger and Frances Mortenson in Slayton, Minn. Renie attended Minnehaha Academy, graduated from Priest River High School in Priest River, Idaho. She attended Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Minn., and Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minn.

Renie held several jobs, including grade-school basketball and T-ball coach, teaching assistant at Northern Lights Charter School, caregiver at River View Villa, and helped out at Blueberry Meadows.

She was an advocate for women’s, children’s and animal rights. She enjoyed running, biking, camping, canoeing and motorcycling.

She was an active member of Grand Rapids Atheists and Freethinkers (GRAF), Woman’s GRAF and Indivisible.

“GRAF members were deeply affected by the loss of Renie and began an effort to quickly raise some money to donate in her name to FFRF,” GRAF President Ken Eck wrote. “At this point we have $400, which is a relatively large amount for a group as small as ours and with many members having limited financial resources. She was a good friend and we are missing her greatly.”

GRAF members suggested the donation should go to FFRF’s legal fund. Eck wrote that it was important for GRAF members, “knowing we contributed to a cause that was important to Renie.” 

FFRF thanks GRAF and appreciates the gesture in her name.

“The chapter is so generous to have raised money for FFRF as a memorial to Renie,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “It is very meaningful to us.”

Renie Lauer