Jean Renick, a long-time employee in the administrative systems department of Information Systems and Technology, died Nov. 14 after a year-long battle with cancer. She was 55.
Renick was born Dec. 22 in Evanston, Ill. She graduated from Northwestern University in 1962 with a degree in music.
She moved to the Bay Area in 1970 and worked at Blue Cross until 1984. She had worked at IS&T as a systems analyst for more than 10 years and had been with Administrative Systems since its formation in 1990.
"She was real trailblazer in the area of women's rights," said one coworker.
In the late '60s Renick, who was trained as a computer programmer, applied for a job at a Pennsylvania computing company only to be told they didn't hire women in such jobs. She was offered a job as a secretary.
She accepted the position, but immediately took advantage of new fair employment laws. Before long, Renick was transferred into the computer programming department and eventually became the company's first female manager.
She was a gifted singer, bass player and pianist. A chorus of friends and coworkers sang Mozart's Requiem as a tribute to her at a memorial service Nov. 24 at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Berkeley.
She is survived by her husband, Curtis, of Kensington.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, Adopt a Special Kid in Oakland or Rubicon Children's Center of Fremont.