Renn was born February 23, 1934, in Keene, New Hampshire. His family converted their family farm into a small four-season resort on Tolman Pond in Nelson, N.H. After prep school and a brief college attempt, he spent three year in the U.S. Army as an intelligence radio operator. After graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts degree he taught in a private school and did graduate work at Harvard University before moving west in 1963. He was a tutor at a dude ranch, a hard rock miner, and a carpenter before becoming a pioneering ski patrolman first at the Aspen Ski Area then the new Jackson Hole Ski Resort. He eventually moved to Homer, Alaska in 1970 becoming a well-known boat designer and builder. His Tolman Skiff was a dory-style V-bottom that found wide use among hardy seafarers of Kachemak Bay and around the world. He was an accomplished musician and contra dancer. He passed away at home in Alaska on July 5, 2014 from colon cancer. He is survived by a beloved partner Betsy, a sister and many cousins and other relatives.