homepage logo


50-plus years in the making

By Staff | Jun 29, 2020

Accepting this replica of the U.S.S.Iowa from Lucy Renze (front center) is the Estherville VFW Honor Guard Mike Dalen, Gene Kaltvedt, Gilbert Amdahl, Steve Erickson and Mary Gray. At left, the flag on the battleship includes the name of the builder, L.V. (Loren) Renze. Photos by David Swartz

The storied history of the USS Iowa Battleship will be on display for all to see at the Estherville VFW. A model built by Loren Renze was donated to the local post home this last week.

Loren’s wife Lucy, presented the model of the ship to the local honor guard. Loren died in June 2019.

Lucy said it took Loren most of 50 years to put the model together-mostly because life got in the way.

Loren purchased the model in 1966 and began working on it almost immediately. However it was stored in the spring of 1967 when he welcomed his first child Mark.

The model stayed packed away until the winter of 2017-18 when he dug it back out to finish it.

Loren, with Lucy’s help, cut out, sanded and painted hundreds of balsa wood parts.

The gun turrets are completely movable, and on one sie of the signal bridge, the flags spell out USS Iowa, while on the other they say L.V. Renze.

Loren had a case built for the completed work and finished it with the help of his granddaughters.

About the USS Iowa

The USS Iowa was launched Augustt 1942 and commissioned in February 1943. It was decommissioned in 1990.

A retired battleship, the Iowa was the last lead ship of any class of U.S.battleships and was the only ship of its class to have served in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans during World War II.

The Iowa carried President Franklin Roosevelt across the Atlantic to Algeria en route to a meeting in 1943 with Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

She successfully returned Roosevelt to the U.S. and prior to his departure, Roosevelt addressed the crew. “From all I have seen and all I have heard, the Iowa is a ‘happy ship,’ and having served with the Navy for many years, I know, and you know, what that means.”

The USS Iowa also served during the Korean War, and welcomed President Ronald Reagan and President George HW. Bush aboard during her years of service.

The Iowa was officially donated to the Pacific Battleship center in Los Angeles in 2012. She now operates as a museum and is open to the public.