Renata Diringer Maas of Hastings passed away at age 87 on Wednesday, April 8. For the past six months Renata had been undergoing treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, until she succumbed to Covid-19.
Renata was born on March 12, 1933 in Vienna, Austria to Jacob and Selma Diringer. At age 2, her family emigrated to Argentina, fleeing the threat of Nazi persecution. Long after moving to Toronto in 1947, Renata maintained ties to Buenos Aires and her beloved Argentine family.
Upon graduating high school with top provincial honors, Renata attended the University of Toronto where she studied mathematics, biochemistry, and French. She received her doctorate from the University of Toronto (‘59) for which her thesis was entitled “Chemical and Metabolic Studies of DNA.” Renata completed her post doc in New York City, and after taking time to raise her children, resumed her career in the late ‘70s. With genuine interest and passion for her field, Renata continued her research at NYU for more than two decades, and in 2005 published a paper in Cell Magazine focusing on DNA methylation and replication. She spoke at conferences worldwide and her conversations about her work and DNA continue to the present day.
Renata used her linguistic talents — Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, or Polish — to connect with people she met. Her precision and detail from science carried over to cooking, and she created delicious gourmet meals representing cultures from across the globe. As long as she was able, Renata maintained a wonderful herb and vegetable garden. It is fair to say that everyone loved partaking in meals she prepared.
Renata enjoyed spending time with those she loved. A storyteller, she knew how to hold her audience’s attention, and also loved to hear from others. She always wanted to know what was happening with the people she cared most about in her life.
For the past four months, Renata profoundly missed her husband, Werner. Together they created a life full of meaning for each other. Their lives centered around both family and shared careers. They traveled the world and were always interested in what they discovered, but the place they loved most of all, where they felt the most comfortable, was their home in Hastings.
Passionate, unique, and fascinating, with a beautiful smile, Renata will be remembered for all this and more. Renata was preceded by her husband. She is survived by children Peter, Andrew, and Helen, and four grandchildren — Max, Willa, Sophie, and David.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions in her name be made to the Cancer Research Institute at cancerresearch.org.