Rennalt, aka Tony, 6’, gray hair, blue eyes, lanky frame. He is a native
Texan with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from MIT and is holder of
numerous patents and owner of several inventions prior to his coming to the
Nelson Institute of Marine Research many years prior.
He is independently wealthy and lives the
unconventional lifestyle of a beach bum, even in his later years. Rennalt
rarely dresses in anything other than jeans or shorts with Hawaiian shirts.
Rennalt grew up on a
ranch in central Texas, the son of John Walker and Mandy Elizabeth Rennalt.
He was the youngest of four, having three
older sisters. In his early twenties, he was seriously injured after being
thrown from an unbroken horse. Nearly a year of hospitalization and
physical therapy followed before he could walk again. During that time, he
came to realize his hidden talent for electronics and later decided to
follow his interests in that field. Because of his ingenuity and aptitude
in the area, he was instrumental in the design of numerous patents and
inventions, allowing him to live an extremely comfortable life.
involvement with the fledgling Nelson Institute of Marine Research came with
the ‘rescue’ of Harriman Nelson from a bar in Santa Barbara where Nelson had
gone to drink himself into a stupor while mourning the violent death of his
fiancée, Katherine Campbell. Rennalt
struck up a conversation with the depressed man and subsequently ended up
taking him home and helped him to sober up. The two men, though
diametrically opposed in style and approach, end up forming a life long
friendship. Nelson, unaware of Rennalt’s personal wealth, offered him a job
as the head of the Electrical Engineering department of the newly built
Nelson Institute. Over time, they collaborated on numerous projects.
‘family’ recognizes Rennalt not only for his intellect, but for his
extremely easy going and laid back style, as well as his uncanny ability to
be the ‘conscience’ for several of its senior staff. He is, for all intents
and purposes, the proverbial ‘brickbat’ that they need at times to keep
certain things in perspective. He has no problem speaking his mind at
times, much to the chagrin of both Nelson and Crane. He is known for his
sometimes distain for the rigidness of the military, yet he is fiercely
loyal to the Seaview’s creator and her crew. Tony retained the
position as head of the Engineering Department, though in a semi-retired
status, after Nelson’s own retirement.
He was briefly
married twice. Both marriages ended
because he was, as he often laughed, too set in his ways to be married, even
though he never lacked for female companionship. After Harriman Nelson’s
death, Rennalt became a friend and confidant to Karen Nelson.