Remembering Rená Guttrich

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With heavy hearts we mourn the loss of Rená Guttrich.

The memory of her warmth and light will be cherished deeply by her friends and colleagues. “We will miss her smile, positive attitude and fun spirit,” says Diana Sieger, president. “Rená was remarkable and will be sorely missed.”

Rená formed deep connections during her 23 years as executive assistant at Grand Rapids Community Foundation. Her adept skills managing the executive department and serving as Board liaison made the Community Foundation run smoothly. Beyond those talents, Rená’s heart to see a need and do what she could to help fill it was remarkable. Rená cared deeply for her family, and said it was her parents’ legacy of giving that inspired her generosity. During the time of the U.S. invasion and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rená’s son was deployed as an Army medic. She responded by leading a local group for several years which would decorate pillows and send items to deployed service personnel. You might have seen her on TV as she was the local spokesperson for the group! What started as a way to support local families and support her son, grew to have major impact.

Rená was known for her deep compassion and desire to make those around her feel good. “When I think of Rená, I can’t help but picture happy dogs and warm cinnamon rolls because she was the ultimate dog whisperer and made the most amazing cinnamon rolls. Both were her way of making people feel special and loved,” says colleague and friend Ann Puckett, director of IT. Rená’s black lab Max was an unofficial staff member at the Community Foundation, serving dutifully as chief morale officer, during his lifetime. You might have seen his picture in our office, on the website and in past annual reports, if you were looking closely! When asked upon her retirement to impart advice for current and future staff, she remained steadfast in her desire to uplift and empower others. “Get involved and use your voice,” she said.

As we mourn the loss of Rená, we are filled with gratitude for the time we spent with her. The Community Foundation has created a memorial fund in her honor, if you would like to make a gift in Rená’s honor, you can do so at

To read more about Rená in her obituary click here.