Obituary: Renate Zinn Dec. 1, 1931 – Jan. 11, 2023

Renate Zinn, neé Meerkamp, was born Dec. 1, 1931, in Dortmund, Germany. She died peacefully at El Castillo Life Plan Community Jan. 11, 2023, of critical limb ischemia.

Renate overcame being bombed in her home during WWII, escaping the Russians on the Eastern Front in a boxcar, surviving on her own in postwar Germany from age 15, and the death of her beloved son Jeff in 1975.

She emigrated to NYC in 1953 and married John Zinn on Veteran’s Day, 1954. She gave birth to their first son, Kai, in 1955 in Berkeley, CA and to Lennard and Jeff, in 1958 and 1961 in Los Alamos, where she and John resided until moving to Santa Fe in 2012.

Renate lived an active life; she loved skiing, tennis, swimming, hiking, camping, backpacking, bike riding, whitewater rafting, and world travel; she skied at Pajarito Mountain until age 80 and participated in a Los Alamos/Santa Fe hiking group until age 88. She was a great cook and seamstress who kept her family not only well-fed but also well-dressed in clothing she had sewn and knitted at a time when finding clothes for such tall, lean people was difficult.

Renate was gregarious, her enthusiasm was infectious, her taste was impeccable, and no challenge was too big for her. She formed and maintained a large group of friends, supporting them tirelessly in times of crisis. She worked her whole life to make the world a better place, from enlisting her children early on to fold and stamp newsletters in her work as secretary of the New Mexico Citizens for Clean Air and Water, to volunteering at the Santa Fe Opera until age 90.

Renate is survived by John, her “Geezer” and husband of 68 years, her sons Kai and Lennard of Alta Dena, CA and Boulder, CO, and her grandchildren: Emily, of Boulder, CO, Leif, of Upland, CA, Sarah, of Thornton, CO, and Katya, of Allston, MA. Her passion for travel and learning languages, outdoor sports, creating delicious and healthy food, and making useful things from scratch lives on in them and their spouses.