It is with deep sadness, a profound sense of loss, and frankly a little bit of irritation, that we must give news of the sudden passing of James Rennie at the age of 59 years. Inconceivable!
Jim departed this life in his sleep peacefully, in his bed, in his home, in his Spiderman jammies. The specific cause of Jim’s demise is not known, although speculation is running high that he didn’t want to mow the lawn this weekend.
Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 30 years, Pat Zarodkiewicz; rescue lab buddies, Kody and Duchess; brother in law John Zarodkiewicz; cousin Ivy Eckerman and her husband Steven Pena; and a whole constellation of friends and extended family who loved him for his mirth and merriment, levity and laughter.
Jim was born in Vienna, VA. He earned his BA in political science from James Madison University and began his federal career as a budget analyst for the Army National Guard. He then worked for the Secretary of the Air Force Budget, the National Archives, Air Force Material Command, and the Federal Aviation Administration. Jim happily retired from the FAA in 2016, completing a distinguished federal career of 33 years. He took to retirement like a starving wolverine going after a hot dog and enjoyed a life of leisure, music, and travel.
Those who knew him knew well-aged Scotch whiskey flowed freely through Jim’s veins. To call Jim a Scotch whiskey aficionado would fail to cover the appreciation, knowledge, and passion Jim felt for this distilled spirit and the country of its origins. Jim took pride and joy in sharing this passion with friends and traveling around Scotland. He completed the Whisky Academy at Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay, Scotland, and was awarded a Whisky Ambassadorship.
Music filled Jim’s world. He loved to listen, categorize, organize, scrutinize, and patronize music. His taste was wide, varied, and in some cases, highly questionable. Jim was at his happiest being in some venue, listening to a band or musician playing live. His ticket stub collection could fill a decent-sized bathtub. Pat and Jim traveled the world to attend concerts, especially Runrig, their favorite Scottish rock band.
One could not find a greater virtuoso of trivia than Jim. His head was filled to the brim with it. The more trivial the better. Crosswords and acrostics were another trivial pursuits of Jim’s (but he cheated consistently in both so that shan’t be mentioned again). The only thing better than general trivia was trivia about any of the sports teams he loved, including the Redskins, Nats, Texas Rangers, and Capitals.
Jim held firm to a life philosophy that stated, “If you wait long enough, it won’t matter.” Turns out, he was right. Raise a glass in his honor (preferably a dram of aged single malt whiskey).
There will be a visitation on Sunday, July 19th, from 12-4 pm at Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA. Covid restrictions require face coverings to be worn and social distancing. We ask that you wear Hawaiian shirts, golf shirts, or your favorite distillery/brewery attire to the visitation. A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at a later date.
Contributions in his name can be made to Lab Rescue of the Potomac or to the Catherine Elizabeth Blair Memorial Foundation.
Great Big Sea, one of Jim’s favorite bands, has a lyric that goes, “In this beautiful life there is always some sorrow.” It is sorrow we feel with losing Jim.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Everett Rennie, III, please visit our floral store.