June 18, 2019


Loren V. Renze, 79, of Estherville, Iowa, died Friday, June 14, 2019, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Born Nov. 14, 1939, in Carroll, Iowa, to Clem and Clara Renze, Loren was a grandson of first-generation German immigrants and spent his life at the center of stories — telling them, creating them, starring in them and celebrating them.

There were stories from his days as a boy, delivering the Carroll Times Herald with his trusty dog, Nick. Loren was working to save money to buy a small .410 shotgun, and that purchase would set off a lifelong appreciation he had for the history and artistry of guns, and begin his passion and talent for gunsmithing. What he didn’t know he taught himself, providing an example to his children of the power of staying curious. In nearly 80 years, Loren hadn’t met a gun he couldn’t dismantle down to its thousands of individual parts, clean with Hoppe’s No. 9 and reassemble better than new.

The six years Loren spent traveling the world in the U.S. Navy generated stories that were retold throughout his lifetime. From Greece to Italy and beyond, Loren often got in trouble with his mom when he would decline home leave in favor of wherever the ship was sailing. But his rationale was simple: He had been home, he had never been to wherever the ship was headed. And the pictures and adventures he collected fueled a wanderlust in his children that lives on today.

Loren’s success as a salesman started with the relationships he built over time with his clients, but was cemented by the power of his word. As a freight-carrier representative for companies including American Freight, Lakeville Motor Express and Crouse Cartage Company, Loren’s word was his bond — and the lesson of the importance of promises kept was repeated for his children throughout his lifetime.

But Loren’s best stories, his love stories, are absolutely true, but almost too perfect to believe.

The first came after he met Judy Shaw, with whom he would go on to share a 25-year marriage. Because the two were not only lovers but the very best friends, often sitting on the front steps of their home in Estherville talking for hours about everything and nothing, watching as the cars drove by on Central Avenue. Their devotion to one another provided a road map for their children.

After Judy’s death in 1990, Loren believed he could never again find that kind of happiness.

But that was until he met Lucy Haan.

In his unique way, Loren noted that Lucy’s first husband, Dick, was buried in the cemetery plot next to Judy’s. So one day after Mass, Loren approached Lucy with this offer: Since we’re going to be spending eternity next to each other, maybe we should get a cup of coffee and get to know each other a bit better. How could Lucy refuse? The pair ultimately shared a 21-year marriage, and the extended blended family that came as a result of that union has been a source of strength, comfort and inspiration for the couple’s combined nine children, 22 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Loren taught hunter’s safety courses, and cleaned and repaired fishing rods and reels for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources; he previously served on the board for ECHO,Inc., a nonprofit for adults with disabilities in Emmet County; and he was a member of the Emmet County Izaak Walton League. He was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Estherville and a lifelong fan and then part owner of the Green Bay Packers.

Loren is survived by his wife, Lucy, Estherville; children Mark (Teri) Renze, Lakeville, Minn., Lisa Renze and Steve Rhodes, Indianapolis, Indiana, Teresa Renze and Robert Heinrichs, Estherville, Curt (Melony) Renze, Estherville, Susan Hanson, Bakersfield, California, Beth (John) Culotta, Omaha, Nebraska, Phil Haan, Eldridge, Iowa, Jean Hinton and Bob Lenzen, Mankato, Minnesota, and Nancy (Tim) Holloway, Panora, Iowa; sister Cleo (Verne) Heithoff, Des Moines, Iowa, brother Phil Renze, Carroll, Iowa; grandchildren; great-grandchildren, sisters- and brothers-in-law; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Judy, and his parents, Clem and Clara Renze.

Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, Henry Olson Funeral Home, 401 N. Seventh St., Estherville. A funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 19, St. Patrick Catholic Church, 903 E. Central Ave., Estherville. Burial with military honors by American Legion Post 91 and VFW Post 3388 will be at St. Patrick Cemetery, South Highway 4, Estherville. Luncheon will follow at the Duhigg Center, 902 Central Ave., Estherville.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the Emmet County Izaak Walton League or directed to the family for a named donation at a later date.