Merced Sun Star
Feb. 22, 2014
Charleen Marie (Orr) Renteria
February 5, 1946 - February 13, 2014
Former County Librarian, Idaho native and Merced, California resident,
Charleen Marie Renteria passed away on February 13, 2014 at the age of 68
from complications related to Breast Cancer.
She was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on February 5, 1946 to parents,
Charles Jasper Orr and Cathleen Marguerite (O'Connor) Orr (both deceased).
Charleen moved to Idaho when she was five years old, and lived in various
rural locales in south central Idaho, including Dietrich, Eden and Hazelton.
She attended area schools, and graduated fourth in her class at Valley High
School, before heading off to Idaho State University in Pocatello. While
enrolled at ISU in pursuit of a B.A. in English, she worked as a library
assistant in the university library for notable intellectual freedom
champion, Eli Oboler. While working in the library Charleen decided to heed
her mentor's advice. She enrolled in the Library and Information Science
Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she graduated with a
Masters in Library Science.
Upon completing graduate school, Charleen returned to Idaho and worked as a
librarian at the Twin Falls Public library for two years before setting out
for the great unknown and a serendipitous new job in Merced, California in
Over the course of the thirty-four years she worked for the Merced County
Library system, Charleen rose through the ranks and eventually become County
Librarian. During this period, she met her husband (a co-worker and future
librarian), made numerous friends, and helped keep the library afloat during
the financial crisis of the mid-1990's.
Charleen was a modest soul, and an avid reader of political, Revolutionary
War, and NASA related non-fiction titles. As such, she particularly enjoyed
"mucking with the books." Her proudest accomplishment during her tenure as
County Librarian was automating all of the branches in Merced County with
the help of her loyal staff.
After retiring from the library world, Charleen spent her days sleeping in
past noon, reading, watching ice skating, attending local plays, knitting,
and obsessively researching her family's genealogy. As a dedicated
genealogist and member of the Merced County Genealogical Society, Charleen
was capable of reciting familial names and important dates at the drop of a
hat to anyone with ears. She was particularly thrilled by the birth of her
granddaughter, Esmeralda, the embodiment of ten generations of documented
Charleen liked to pepper her conversations with flavorful German and Spanish
phrases, and loved to ask questions. She never learned to avoid talking to
strangers, so she lived a life in which everyone was a friend, and rarely if
ever spoke an unkind word about anyone. She only swore at computers. She was
truly one of the kindest and gentlest souls to grace this earth.
She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Philip Renteria and his
siblings; mother-in-law, Bertha Tovar (Merced, CA); daughters, Roxanne Marie
Renteria (Twin Falls, ID) and Alexandra Cathleen Renteria (Twin Falls, ID);
granddaughter, Esmeralda (Emmy) Marie Renteria Romero (Twin Falls, ID);
brothers, David (Linda) Orr (Hazelton, ID), Charles Orr, Jr. (Buhl, ID), and
Donald (Terri) Orr (Hailey, ID); as well as numerous nieces, nephews,
cousins and friends.
Please, join family and friends in remembrance of Charleen. Dual
memorial/celebration of life ceremonies will be held at the Merced County
Library (2100 O Street, Merced, CA 95340) on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 4:00
p.m., and at Rosenau Funeral Home (2826 Addison Ave E, Twin Falls, ID 83301)
on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. Charleen will be interred with her
ancestors at the Hazelton Cemetery in Hazelton, ID.