The daughter of Riley and Florence Etta (Reed) Reeves, Rena was born Nov. 2, 1913 at Swan. She graduated from Swan High School in 1929 and received her Bachelor of Education Degree from Drake University in Des Moines in 1964. She and Emmet Waul were married June 25, 1936 at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Des Moines. They lived in Montrose, S.D. for several years where she founded the Montrose Elementary School PTA, started the first hot lunch program, and was involved in the Montrose knitting program for servicemen in World War II.
Her 30-year teaching career started at the age of 17. She taught elementary education in Marion and Cass County Rural School Systems and the Atlantic Community Schools, retiring from the Atlantic School System in 1987. The former Franklin Farmerettes 4-H Club leader was a life member of the National Teachers Association and Beta Sigma Phi and held every office in Atlantic's Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and Nishna Valley Retired Teachers. The Atlantic Retired Teachers Group honored her with their Significant Achievement Award for service as their legislative chairman. She was also a member of the American University Women of Atlantic and the Thursday Kensington Club of Wiota.
Emmet and Rena moved to Cherokee in 1996 where she became a volunteer quilter for the Sioux Valley Hospital Auxiliary. The Cherokee Museum highlighted 40 of her handmade quilts at a six-week show and her paintings and handwork took numerous awards at the Cherokee County Fair.
Rena's hands were always busy whether painting, sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting or hugging her grandchildren who loved her dearly.
Rena was preceded in death by her husband Emmet A. Waul, her parents, three brothers Gail, Ivan and Dean, and three sisters Flavia Mix, Carol Phillips, and Lola Zsembery; and grandson Ronnie Schumann.
Survivors include two daughters: Florence "Frosty" Taylor (Duane) of Phoenix, Ariz.; and Loretta Schumann (Ronald) of Cherokee; seven grandchildren, Jeanie Murphy (Ray) of Swan; Kent Taylor (Laurie) of Wickenburg, Ariz.; Barbara Lerdal (Roger) of Thornton; Dana Cooper (Mike) of Wickenburg, Ariz.; Larry Schumann (Jen) of Madrid; Bill Schumann (Angela Maas) of Cherokee; 14 great-grandchildren Shannon Roff (Joe) of Pleasantville; Ryan Taylor of Des Moines, Ferris and Jared Lerdal and Josh Weber of Thornton, Tyler Miller of Amarillo, Texas, Cody and Sierra Cooper and Tyler Taylor of Wickenburg, Ariz.; Tristan Murphy of Swan, Garin Schumann of Madrid; Erin Murphy of Knoxville, Brian Murphy of Des Moines; Molly Murphy of Seattle, Wash.; and seven great, great grandchildren, Josh, Vincent and Chloe Roff, Tessa and Dylan Taylor, and Grace and Jillian Murphy.
For those wishing, memorials may be designated to Cherokee Regional Medical Auxiliary Quilters or Cherokee Regional Hospice.