Allis A. Rennie

Published 10:45 am Thursday, January 27, 2022

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Allis A. Rennie passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, January 16, 2021.

Allis was born in Port Arthur, Texas on December 22, 1945, to John Nicholson Rennie and Marian Francis Allis, both of whom predeceased her.

Allis had one daughter, Rennie Elizabeth Feldhaus O’Connor. In 2011 Allis moved to Pinehurst from England, where she had resided for 35 years, to be near her daughter, son-in-law Bart O’Connor, and grandson Harrison. At the time of her death she was living with them.

Allis was a theater major at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, where she met her future husband, Stephen Martin Feldhaus. They were divorced in 1980.

Allis loved to travel and read about history and the people who made it.  After college, she lived in Palo Alto, California, Seattle, Washington, where her daughter Rennie was born, Houston, Texas, London and later Leicester, England, and finally Pinehurst.

Every stop along her journey found Allis engaged with her world.  As a child she loved visiting her father’s family farm in Whitakers, North Carolina, and attending Camp Waldemar for six summers in Hunt, Texas. She loved hiking and camping in Lake Tahoe and California; and while three months pregnant she and her then husband took a week-long rafting trip down the Colorado River. In London she would throw her famous and quite rowdy Wimbledon and July 4th parties.  And everywhere she went there was a book club where Allis was usually close to the center of the action.

When it came time to move to London in 1976, Allis did it in style.  A suite at the Palace Hotel in New York enabled her to see the sights of New York before embarking upon a memorable voyage to her new home aboard the QE II.  And when it came time to move back to America, Allis reprised her transatlantic sea voyage, this time on the Queen Mary 2.

Allis had unquenchable energy and an engaging mind, powered by an exceptional intelligence. Without any training as an educator, or in the Montessori method, she applied for and obtained the job of running the leading school in London at the time for the training of Montessori teachers. Another chapter included a few years in real estate in London. Later she relocated to Leicester, England, where she found a job as the liaison between the prosecutor’s office and the police department.  She loved that work and only retired when she was able to move to Pinehurst to be near Rennie and her family.

Allis loved to travel and took full advantage of her thirty-five plus years in England to see many of the sights both in the United Kingdom and on the Continent.  She made sure to expose her daughter to as much culture and history as she could, taking Rennie on a memorable 16th birthday trip to Rome and countless trips to castles and museums, where they enjoyed many high teas and half pints in old Pubs. From New Year’s Eve in Inverness to romps in the Lake District she never tired of traveling or learning.

She loved to research and share her interests.  In the decade she spent in Pinehurst she was an active member of the Sandhills Branch of the English Speaking Union, serving as a judge and organizer for its Shakespeare competition. Additionally, she spoke on various topics at Lady Bedford’s Tea Parlor in Pinehurst, including on the life and times of Queen Victoria. Always trying to stay engaged Allis took numerous courses at Sandhills Community College on a wide range of topics, especially politics.

Allis shared her enthusiasms with her many friends, including Resa and Sam Dunn, Martin Bell, and Dean Golding, who were each special to her, and especially with her grandson Harrison O’Connor, whose life will always be richer for the time he spent with Allis.

Allis’s move to Pinehurst was a true coming home for her.  Her paternal grandmother is buried in a family plot in Whitakers, North Carolina, and her father graduated in 1943 with a degree in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University.

In addition to Rennie O’Connor, her husband Bart, and their son Harrison, all of Pinehurst, North Carolina, Allis is survived by her brother John Nicholson Meindl and his wife Amy, and by her sister Mary Catherine Gracheck and her husband Jack, all of Dallas, Texas.
A service of remembrance will be held in Pinehurst within the next several months, when it is safe to do so.  Allis’s family asks that anyone wishing to make a donation please do so in Allis’s memory to Moore Buddies Mentoring or to a charity of your choice.