Wolfgang Renner. Illustration by Farrin Abbott/KQED
Wolfgang Renner. (Illustration by Farrin Abbott/KQED)

Wolfgang Renner, Electronic Composer and Ageless Adventurer

Wolfgang Renner, Electronic Composer and Ageless Adventurer

Although Wolfgang Renner, 61, was the oldest victim of the Oakland warehouse fire by more than a couple of decades, it was his youthfulness, free spirit and consistent pursuit of a good time that his friends remember most about him.

“Wolfgang was about as free of an individual as anyone is likely to ever meet,” his friend Robert Janca writes on Facebook.

Known affectionately as “Wolfie,” Renner was an Oakland-based electronic musician and composer who grew up in Bavaria, Germany. Described by one friend as “a cool cat,” he became a fixture of the local electronic music scene, attending the Ghost Ship party with his partner Michele Sylvan, 37. The two were found alongside each other, according to friends.

“You were so awesome and crazy and so loved and such special humans,” Ross DuBois, a friend, writes of the longtime couple who had been residents of the nearby Vulcan Lofts in East Oakland since the early 2000s.

Several people described Renner as a constant source of energy and fun, and always game for the next adventure. He was also known for throwing a good party. “When we were close, it was a joy to go and visit him as he was a capable host who made all of his friends feel welcome and celebrated,” Janca writes.


Of Renner and Sylvan, he adds: “The world is a decidedly less colorful one without them. So long dear souls.”


For more of our tributes to the victims of the Oakland warehouse fire, please visit our remembrances page here.

For a printable poster of the illustration above, see here.