Randy was a man with heart and courage as he confronted his brief eighteenth month journey with ALS. While our family is so proud of how he faced the incomprehensible challenges and losses from ALS we also want others to know and remember the man Randy was before ALS entered the scene, the man ALS was powerless to destroy.
One of the qualities that made Randy Randy was the range of interests he pursued in the course of his life and how in every one of them he would become totally focused and highly skilled. His early love for photography led him to build a darkroom in the family basement where he developed remarkable black and white portraits and close-up images found in nature. When air flight caught his interest he became Instrument Flight Certified, piloting his own single-engine plane. When his attention turned from the skies to the seas he enjoyed scuba diving excursions to picturesque island and coastal destinations. Randy followed his passions and interests; he was compelled to be continually exploring and learning something new.
The developing field of computer technology was one such area that captivated Randy’s attention. Before anyone else in our family knew how to turn a computer on, Randy was building them. Along with building hardware he taught himself computer programming and developed software that is still utilized within our family business. Nearly every person in our family turned to Randy for help with their computer at one time or another. He amazed us all when he would drop what he was doing to help; whether it was leaving a weekend at the beach to retrieve a lost file on his aunt’s computer or flying to the next state to set up his sister’s computer for graduate school, Randy was as dependable as the sunrise.
Randy was a brilliant, talented man who allowed his heart and love for people to lead him. Despite his interest and talents in so many diverse areas of life, the place where Randy gave the better part of himself was in his relationships with family and friends. He was a loyal and constant friend and his compassion and caring for others was shown time and again. We'll never know all that Randy did for others because his acts of kindness and generosity were never done for the purpose of drawing attention to himself, but rather to lend a hand to ease another's suffering.
One story that speaks to Randy’s admirable character was in his care for our Mother in the five years between our Father's death and her own passing. Every Sunday morning during those years Randy would phone her at 9:00 a.m. to make certain she was awake, even though she had an alarm clock to wake her. An hour later, along with his wife DeeAnn, Randy would show up at the front door to take Mom to church and out to lunch with friends. Even while waiting for confirmation of his own diagnosis with ALS, Randy continued to take the lead role in watching over Mom as her health deteriorated. Hardly a day passed that Randy wasn’t driving her to a doctor’s appointment, taking her on errands, counting out her pills, or just sitting and keeping her company at home.
Randy was so many things. He was charming, brilliant, and caring. His sharp wit was as sure to make you laugh, as his kind heart would make you feel loved. There were times he was complicated; full of emotions and thoughts he struggled to express, and there were times he was as open and vulnerable as a child, his eyes sparkling with a playful sense of how he could cause mischief. He had a laugh and a twinkle in his eyes that will always be remembered and cherished.
Randy was a loving husband, a remarkable brother, a devoted uncle, and a faithful friend. He always was and will continue to be loved and admired by every member of our family. Each one of us gives thanks for the gift of having had him in our lives. We're equally grateful to the ALS Association for this opportunity to speak more about this man who we miss each day more than all our collective words could ever express.
-Barb, Anita, Carl, DeeAnn