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When Shad Raps become Dad Raps: With love, ashes and memories

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A Shad Rap containing ashes of Richard Quagliano, bringing back memories.
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You’ve seen Richard Quagliano, even if you didn’t know it. He was a field lead for law enforcement in one of Chicago’s most notorious crimes, and he can be seen working in the old clips regularly shown.

Good reason for him to be fishing from ‘‘Alaska to Venezuela and every lake and pond in between.’’

‘‘On his Mass card, we have a picture of him fishing,’’ said his son Dick Quagliano, who for years kept a photo of his father with a peacock bass.

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Mass card for Richard Quagliano.
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Last Sunday, I wrote about the Commemorative Creations and Customs booth — ‘‘Commemorating your loved one’s ashes in a creative way’’ — at ‘‘The Schaumburg Show.’’

Quagliano read it and called with the story of his father’s ashes. (Quagliano, a packaging salesman, has covered high school sports on the side for more than 40 years. We met when we both were covering preps at the Sun-Times. He now does preps for the Daily Herald.)

‘‘He was big, burly guy, not afraid of anything, but he didn’t want to be buried,’’ Quagliano said. ‘‘He was claustrophobic.’’

After Mr. Quagliano died Feb. 7, 2008, he was cremated. Some of his ashes were put inside of bunch of Rapala Shad Raps and given to family and friends at a memorial service.

‘‘Tim Egan, my brother-in-law, spotted something in a fishing magazine,’’ Quagliano said.

Egan did the work of drilling holes in the Shad Raps, then put the ashes inside and plugged the holes. I find it an incredibly loving gesture, but then I helped my siblings build coffins for our parents.

‘‘We always said out father was about the four F’s: family, friends, food and fishing,’’ Quagliano said. ‘‘My dad loved to cook.’’

Both of Quagliano’s sons, Michael and Anthony, have Shad Raps of their own. Quagliano’s sister, Alene Egan, called when her sons, Marty and Brian, caught northern pike with their Shad Raps.

‘‘My father was OK with it as long as you don’t leave him up in the tree or on a log,’’ Quagliano said. ‘‘You would be duty-bound to go get Papa. Everybody knows this story. Everybody knows you can’t lose it and you gotta go get Papa.’’

Quagliano has an easy solution for that: He keeps his Shad Rap in his office.

‘‘I would be crazy enough [to] lose it and would be searching everywhere for it and driving myself crazy,’’ Quagliano said. ‘‘I like having it in my office. It reminds me of my dad.’’

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Box and top of Shad Rap containing ashes of Richard Quagliano.
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