The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
Meet your neighbor Alan Rezner of San Diego, California, born in bootcamp at the Naval Training Center in Great Lake, IL.
Alan is the son of Howard Rezner who was raised at rural route Biggsville on a Henderson County Farm near the Warren-Henderson County line off Highway 34.
His mother, Catherine Ann Smith passed after a fatal car accident at the age of 32 when Alan was nine. His parents had married after his father graduated from Annapolis Military Academy.
His father then remarried Ethel Matthews of Sydney, Australia whom he met when he was a naval officer in Washington D.C., Ethel was a secretary at World Bank and within a year, they were married.
Alan was a middle child of three children before his father remarried. Then 7 more siblings were born. All are alive except the eldest who recently passed leaving Alan now the oldest.
He said, his family often visited their grandfather's farm near Biggsville although, his military father took them to several places growing up. He lived in Panama Canal, Arlington, VA, San Diego, CA, Copenhagen, Denmark, Norfolk, VA, and his father retired in Phoenix, AZ and went to work for G.E.
Alan graduated high school in the class of 1967 and then attended 1-1/2 years at Northern Illinois University when he ended up in the Navy during the Viet Nam crisis. He became a foreman as a 2nd Class Petty officer as a Hospital Corpsman.
He spent time offshore Viet Nam with most of his tour outside of Japan on a Destroyer taking care of everything from a toothache to a man falling from a ladder onto sheet metal suffering a career ending injury.
Alan finished college at SDSU (San Diego State Univ.) majoring in Recreation Administration with emphasis in Park Management. He began working for San Diego County Park Services less than a year and then went to work for Southland Corp. franchise for their 7-11 stores.
Then Alan went to work selling insurance for the Auto Club of Southern California.
On retirement Alan became certified in Respiratory Therapy where he tested Veterans for Sleep Apnea for a couple of years in San Diego.
Alan has one daughter Betsy, 30, a science researcher for cancer in San Diego, CA. Betsy's aunt, Alan's oldest sister, died of breast cancer.
Alan met his wife Susan "Suzi" at Rotary Club. She worked for a non-profit organization and raised money for underprivileged kids to attend youth camp. Suzi, a native of Philadelphia, PA. is a professional singer who plays a guitar and sings folk music at various mountain and ski resorts, mostly in the Colorado area.
Upon retirement on April 30th, Alan wanted to travel. Now older, he was interested in his roots and family, and thought it best to start by traveling the perimeters of the United States in a small motor home.
Alan said he was lucky to have his grandmother Zelda living with family in Orange County, California however when she died, he was in Japan and unable to travel to Biggsville for the funeral.
His sister said, "You must meet the amazing couple living in their grandparent's homestead, Raymond and Alice Defenbaugh!" So, over the 4th of July, he and Suzi stopped and said, "I'm so glad we did!"
They were invited to sleep in their grandparent's room.
The last time Alan visited his grandparents he remembers going to Monmouth dances and looking in the phone book to find 4 or 5 families of Rezners,
Both his parents are gone but in looking back, Alan said his father was the biggest influence in his life. He had very high standards which influenced him and each of his 9 siblings.
All the men were modeled and encouraged to treat their wives with love and respect, to educationally do the best they can, to have respect for property and others, and to show patriotism and service to God and their country.
It's good to see those with good midwestern roots who have left, flourish and bring value in other parts of the U.S.