Cover photo for Renee Michelle Crenshaw's Obituary
Renee Michelle Crenshaw Profile Photo

Renee Michelle Crenshaw

December 3, 1953 – November 2, 2020

Memorial Service

Friday, November 6, 2020

11:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.


Held at

Nelson & Sons Chapel Murfreesboro

448 E. Burton St., Murfreesboro, TN


In lieu of flowers, please donate to

The Bethlehem Center 200 W. 38th St.

Chattanooga, TN 37410


Join the Zoom Meeting Link

at 1:00 P.M. to view

Renee’s Homegoing Celebration

Renee Michele Crenshaw was born in Chattanooga Tennessee on December 3, 1953.  She was more than 2 months premature, weighing under 3 pounds, and her prognosis was not good.  Her mother, Mary Crenshaw, traveled to the hospital every day for two months to visit the tiny infant.  Due to the determined attention of a particular nurse, remembered in prayer for decades by her family, little Renee finally came home to her father, Seth Crenshaw, and her grandparents, Seth and Rev. Sallie Crenshaw.

Renee thrived living next door to her grandparents and attending her grandmother’s church and public school.  At the age of 9, she moved to Detroit with her mother and younger sister, Terrie, and near her maternal grandparents, Mabel and Forest Mathis.  By this time, her musical talent had become apparent, and she started piano lessons.  Throughout her life, her ability to instantly play any music she heard, even if she only heard an out of tune hummed version, was astounding.  Her singing voice was appreciated at social events and at the Swedenborgian Church and church camp the family attended. 

After graduating from Beaubien Junior High and Mumford High, where she proudly served in the marching band, Renee attended Morris Brown College.  Never a serious student, but always a serious socializer, Renee had a wonderful experience there.  After receiving her AA degree, she enrolled at Peabody College in Nashville, where distractions abounded.  Renee found a church family and a future husband, Pastor Robert Gardner, in the Murfreesboro area, and settled down for good.

As a teacher’s assistant in the Rutherford County School District, Renee was beloved by many children and her colleagues.  When she lost her only daughter Audrey to stillbirth, it was one of the great sorrows of her life.  She went on to work for many years as a medical administrator at the VA Hospital, loving her job and the opportunity to help others.  In her part time position at Walmart, she made the acquaintance of droves of people; she remembered all of them, and it seems that all of them remembered her as well, as was apparent anytime she went out in public.  Her church families, Hey Mustard Seed Ministry, and later the True Divine Church led by Pastor Rufus Horton, enjoyed her musical talents weekly, and supported her in many substantial ways.  Her volunteer work bringing music to nursing homes is remembered by many.

Renee was a lifelong churchgoer and deeply spiritual person.  She was a gospel music enthusiast who sang beautifully and composed her own original songs, some of which have been included in hymnals of other churches.  She loved collecting cookbooks and cooking delicious meals for friends and family.  She also encouraged others through her newsletter and later blog, “The Joybringer”.  Even while bedridden, she did what she could to spread God’s Word.  In her business, ‘Renee’s Renditions’, she brought original tribute songs and poems to many a celebration.

Renee transitioned peacefully from this world on Monday, November 2, 2020 after a long illness.  She leaves to cherish her memory a loving sister, Terrie Crenshaw, two nephews, Nelson and Clark Koskela, many close sisterfriends including Kim Mobley, Toni Curtis, and Toni Syler and others, many close cousins including the Taylors, Wooldridges, Sawyers, and Youngs, and her church family at the True Divine Church.  She will also be remembered by her former colleagues at the VA hospital, Walmart, and the Rutherford County School District;  the beneficiaries of her volunteer work at AARP, NHC, and other nursing homes, the Bethlehem Center, and her former church family, Hey Mustard Seed Ministry.

Renee’s last words were a declaration that she was at peace and looking forward to being with Jesus. She wanted to let us know that we were not to grieve for her, but to rejoice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Renee Michelle Crenshaw, please visit our flower store.


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