STORM LAKE, Iowa | Until Saturday, I don't think I'd ever heard Chicago played at a funeral service.
Leave it to Randy Renshaw to change that.
Randy Rey Renshaw, 66, died one week ago and was buried on Saturday at Buena Vista Memorial Park Cemetery in his native Storm Lake.
His funeral service, officiated by the Rev. Matt Miller, featured a piano solo from Emily Lappe, Renshaw's granddaughter, as well as recordings of "My Life" by The Beatles and "If You Leave Me Now" by Chicago, Renshaw's favorite band, a band he met in person five months before his death.
A sign next to his coffin on Saturday read, "I'd rather be at a Chicago concert."
For 25 years, Renshaw helped direct news coverage and hosted "Open Line" at KSCJ-AM 1360 in Sioux City. His daughter, Erin Lappe, of Wesley, Iowa, talked of Renshaw's pride in covering breaking news events in Sioux City, such as the explosion that rocked the Terra Industries plant near Port Neal in 1994.
His career began in the late 1960s as Randy served KAYL Radio as a high schooler in Storm Lake, where he graduated in 1969. His full-time career began in 1973 at KLGA in Algona, Iowa.
"I remember being with Dad in Council Bluffs on June 28, 1979, when the phone on the wall rang," Lappe recalled. "Dad answered the phone and was told a tornado had hit Algona. He left to go to work covering it and I didn't see him for three days."
Lappe said her father came by his conservative political streak honestly. For politics, that of the Republican persuasion, dominated conversation at Renshaw Plumbing, the business on Michigan Street in Storm Lake that was owned and operated by the Renshaw family.
Randy was the only child of the late Jack and Helen Renshaw. He spoke about Storm Lake and his family often, even as his career transitioned to Sioux City in the mid-1980s, a city he came to call his home through two stints of radio service.
Lappe talked of her dad's smile, his beautiful penmanship, and the soft spot he had in his heart for stray kittens. She also touched on his flaws: Going without socks, forgetting to get the oil checked in his vehicle, and not keeping up to speed on various changes in technology.
"He had a golden voice," Lappe said with a giggle, "even after two pots of coffee and who knows how many packs of cigarettes."
"Is it really work when you enjoy your job as much as Randy did?" Miller asked.
Despite being in the center of the public eye thanks to his years of work in radio, Miller said Renshaw eschewed the limelight. He rarely attended broadcasting conventions and preferred that any plaques or certificates he earned for news coverage simply be mailed to him.
It was fitting that a few boats dotted the horizon on Storm Lake on the day of Renshaw's burial. Some of his greatest memories, family members said, involved landing keepers and reliving tales of errant -- and painful -- casts, and the big ones that somehow slipped away. His funeral program featured a copy of "A Fisherman's Prayer" and a picture of an empty boat sitting along the lakeshore.
"Dad," Lappe concluded, "today we send you home to be with Grandpa and Grandma."