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Renfro Foods’ CEO Billy Wayne Renfro Dies At Age 86

Billy Wayne Renfro

Billy Wayne Renfro, 86, a lifelong resident of Fort Worth, Texas, died March 1, 2021.

Born Sept. 19, 1934, Mr. Renfro graduated from North Side High School in 1952. He began his education at Arlington State College (now the University of Texas at Arlington) where he was in the ROTC program and participated in the Sam Houston Rifles military drill team. He transferred to Texas Christian University (TCU) and graduated in 1956, all the time helping with the family business, Renfro Foods.

After spending time as an officer in the United States Army, he began working full time at Renfro Foods, a business started by his parents, George and Arthurine, in 1940. Mr. Renfro was a critical leader at an important time for the salsa and condiment company, originating the Mrs. Renfro’s brand and helping it to thrive alongside his brother, Jack.

As CEO of the company until his death, he continued to be available to the third generation now leading Renfro Foods in the 21st century.

Mr. Renfro sought to make a difference in the lives of his family, employees, friends, colleagues and Texas, a community he loved. He was a past president of the Texas Food Processors Association, North Texas Food Sales Association and Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB), of which he is also a founding board member. The TAFB recognized him for his contributions with the Pat Mohler Memorial Award in 2000.

Mr. Renfro also served in leadership capacities with the Fort Worth Marketing Foundation, Sales & Marketing Executives of Fort Worth and Academy of Achievement. He was inducted into the Texas Food Processors Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Specialty Food Association Hall of Fame in 2016. Because he loved Fort Worth and agriculture so much, he also volunteered for 46 years at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

Being an alumnus of TCU brought Mr. Renfro a lot of joy. He was a season ticket holder and felt fortunate to attend championship games such as the Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl in recent years. Yet college sports was not the only competition that made his heart race: he was known for expert judging of the finals table at the annual CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship. He cooked a competition chili for many years and was winner of both the Colorado State Championship and the Oklahoma State Championship. Since 1977, he never missed a Terlingua event, making his wife, Angela, agree to this tradition alongside him before he would marry her. His family vows to continue going in his stead and credits him with encouraging a love for chili in all of them.

All through his life, Mr. Renfro enjoyed traveling and seeing places that were new to him. Trips with his children were the most special, particularly memorable camping trips to Colorado and across the U.S. He also enjoyed traveling to England, France, Germany, the Mediterranean, the Netherlands and Alaska. Mr. Renfro loved to feel the greatness of nature, enjoyed the different people he met on each trip and marveled at the newness of each experience. His family jokes that he would have travelled to Alaska every year if Angela would have gone with him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Arthurine Renfro.

Mr. Renfro is survived by his wife, Angela; brother, Jack Renfro (Connie) and sister Linda Renfro; children, Gary Renfro (Linda), Becky Borbolla (Henry), Lynn Renfro (Kelly), James Renfro (Ann), and bonus children Katrina Ball (Chris) and Janelle Jaeger (Walt). He was the proud Pa Pa of 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 9, at White’s Chapel Methodist Church in Southlake, Texas. Burial will immediately follow at Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home & Memorial Park. (Please refer to the church and funeral home websites for information regarding potential live streaming.) A public viewing will be held by the family from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, March 7, at Bluebonnet Hills.

The family asks that masks be worn at events honoring Mr. Renfro and that social distancing be followed at the church and graveside service.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made in his honor to:

  • Agriculture Development Fund via the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (P.O. Box 150, Fort Worth, TX 76101);
  • Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (2222 Welborn St., Dallas, TX 75219); or
  • Tarrant Area Food Bank (2600 Cullen St., Fort Worth, TX 76107).

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