Family and friends gathered at lane 15, a good spirit somewhere near.
There at a classic Fayetteville bowling alley enjoying Pepsi and donuts, they were saying a final farewell to a beloved longtime city resident.
Renay Mandel Corren, 84, worked at the B&B Bowling Lanes on Fort Bragg Boulevard for years before her death in December in El, Paso, Texas.
Her children, grandchildren and all who loved her wanted to bowl one last ball into the 10 pink-colored pins, then escort her ashes out of the building.
Corren’s story recently gained viral fame across the world after her son, Andy Corren, wrote a hilarious obituary honoring the “lady redneck and unpaid bill queen” that ran in The Fayetteville Observer on Dec. 15.
Read the obit:Renay Mandel Corren’s obituary
Though her posthumous fame attracted the likes of people everywhere, Andy told the crowd Saturday that those who knew Corren, also affectionately known as “Rosie,” were “lucky to know her.”
“She loved knowing her friends and her family, she loved talking about us, she loved laughing with us, she loved plotting against us,” Andy said. “She was not only my close personal friend, she was your close personal friend.”
Corren was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania on May 10 to Hungarian immigrants. Her son de ella reflected on her life de ella and was joined by his brother de ella, Jeffrey, sister-in-law, some of Corren’s grandchildren and other family members and friends. He also streamed the ceremony on her Instagram page.
The people collector
Andy told the attendees at Corren’s ceremony, and a few onlookers who just came to bowl, tales of his mother that included her “phenomenal” card playing skills, her love for Pepsi, reading entire novels in one day, and being good with other people’s money.
The family selected B&B Lanes as the place for a farewell service for Corren as it was salvation for them — and for Corren.
Bowling was their life, Andy said.
She also had the keys to all the snack machines, which Andy said he loved.
“I am grateful for her, for all the stories that she told, for every laugh, every tear, every observation, every gift,” Andy said. “She was incredibly generous and a kind, kind woman who frequently took people into her own home when her home de ella was not a mansion.”
More:She lived in Fayetteville and beyond, but her mother’s obituary written by her son has gained a life of her own
One of those people Corren took in was her close friend Doreen DeJaynes, whom she met more than 40 years ago by chance at a gas station on Bragg Boulevard.
DeJaynes, then a single mother to her daughter Faith, moved in with Corren for a short time. Andy said his mother loved DeJaynes “loudly and proudly.”
Corren helped DeJaynes get a job at the B&B Lanes.
“From that day on, I fell in love with that woman,” DeJaynes said at the ceremony. “Some people adopt pets, collect animals, Renay collected people. She collected friends and if you were her friend, you didn’t have to worry about anything. She might not have had much, she might not have had anything, but she would give it to you.”
DeJaynes’ daughter read the poem “If Roses Grow in Heaven” at the ceremony.
More:Her hilarious obit went viral worldwide. Now Renay Corren’s son, and friends reveal more about epic life.
‘Rosie just was’
At the end of the short ceremony, Andy shared a quote Corren loved by her favorite coach, Jim Valvano, who once led her favorite team the NC State University Wolfpack which says:
“To me there are three things everyone should do everyday. Number one is laugh, number two is think, spend some time in thought, number three you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that’s a heck of a day.”
Jeffrey, Corren’s son, took the challenge to knock down all the pink-colored pins in honor of his mother.
Though he caught a spare, a young bowler next to the group volunteered to get a strike for Corren. The crowd cheered and took one last sip of Pepsi together.
“My mother was so crowded,” Andy said. “To my, to my brothers, to my nephews and to her friends de ella, my mother was simply Rosie. It would take an entire book to unravel the rest… Rosie just was and she was for a very, very long time .”
Investigative reporter Kristen Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.