Randy Benesh

Born in Cedar Rapids, IA
Born on Aug 15, 1956
Departed on Mar 20, 2023


In the immortal words of John Wayne, “there are some things a man just can’t run away from.” On March 20, 2023, Randy Jay Benesh, 66, of Marion, Iowa, formerly Cedar Rapids, stood his ground and re-watched his last western.

Born in Cedar Rapids on August 15, 1956 to Louis and Marjorie Benesh, Randy was outfitted with a Davy Crockett coon-skinned cap and leather-fringed jacket from an early age. Though the get-up may have changed, his life was never far from the inspiration provided by cinematic frontier heroes—his passion for the outdoors, his uncompromising character, and his love for family.  

As resourceful an outdoorsman as there is, Randy was an avid fisherman, hunter, trapper, gardener, amateur prospector, and more. Spending time in nature and sharing it with friends and family was his greatest joy. From childhood fishing adventures with his father and grandparents, to annual fishing trips to his beloved Wabaskang Lake in Ontario, to local fishing trips with his grandchildren and wife at Lake McBride, Randy was happiest as a guide to the wonder of the outdoors. If boats are the measure of a life well-lived, Randy was among the most fortunate, owning at least seventeen over his fishing “career” and always dreaming up and meticulously outfitting the Ranger or Lund best suited for his next fishing adventure.

Randy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Iowa State University. He returned to Cedar Rapids following college and had an accomplished career as a logistics manager, becoming the fourth generation of his family to work at Penick and Ford (Penford Products). In recent years, Randy was privileged to make his passion for the outdoors and his family the focus of his life. Providing care for those he loved, pursuing a variety of hobbies, and taking delight in frequent family vacations to Walt Disney World where he could share his particular fondness for Big Al (from The Country Bear Jamboree), Figment, and Tigger with his grandchildren. 

Stubborn, meticulous, and devoted, Randy will be remembered as a protective, gentle giant with the integrity of a John Ford hero. He shared with the world a resourcefulness befitting Jeremiah Johnson, an ability to find humor in hard times befitting McLintock, and an unyielding devotion to family befitting “The Sons of Katie Elder”—and would want his strong preference for the1966 version of "Stagecoach" over its 1939 counterpart to not go unmentioned.

Left to organize his fishing gear are his wife of 39 years and lifelong sweetie, Kristine Benesh; son, Joshua (Rebecca) Benesh; daughter, Mickena (Nathan) Guillaume; grandchildren, Evelyn Guillaume (“Evy-Lou-Who”), Emilia Guillaume (“Smalls”), Seraphine Benesh (“Pebbles”), and Louis Benesh (“Baba Louie”); adored dog, Dug; sisters, Judy McLaskey and Wendy Walton; and many much-loved nieces and nephews.

Randy was beat to the lake by some of his fondest fishing buddies, including his Grandpa Jerry Kosina, parents Louis and Marjorie Benesh, and brothers-in-law Francis (Mac) McLaskey and Clarence Walton. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Eastern Iowa or to the Iowa DNR. However, Randy would instead ask that you prioritize spending time celebrating what you love with those you love.