April 15, 2006


 Former AVMA convention manager dies at 83

Posted April 1, 2006

Russell G. Rongren held a variety of administrative positions during his 35 years on the AVMA staff, but he is most remembered as the Association's longtime convention manager. Rongren died Feb. 18 at the age of 83.

Rongren joined the AVMA staff in 1952 as director of public relations activities. At one time he was director of membership services. In 1959, he was named convention manager and director of the Business Division. Respected in his field, Rongren served terms as president of the Professional Convention Management Association and the Conference of Medical Society Executives of Greater Chicago. He chaired what is now known as the Convention Industry Council.

In 1971 the AVMA presented Rongren with a special award in appreciation of his efforts on behalf of commercial exhibitors.

During World War II, he saw active duty with the Marine Corps for more than three years, serving about half of that time in the Southwest Pacific theater of operations with the First Marine Air Wing. He received an honorary discharge as a technical sergeant with four combat stars.

In 1949 he received his BS degree in commerce from DePaul University and took a position with the National Safety Council in Chicago before coming to the AVMA.

When Rongren retired from the AVMA staff in 1986, he and his wife, Virginia, retired to Englewood, Fla., where they pursued longtime interests in boating and golfing. He had been active in the U.S. Power Squadron, where he held an advanced pilot rating.

He is survived by his wife and daughters Barbara Rongren and Sally Vanvick. Memorials may be made to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Department 20-1122, P.O. Box 5940, Carol Stream, IL 60197-5940, or to a favorite charity.