From The Olio

17 Alice Ave., Merrick, New York
Prepared at W. C. Mephan High School
Phi Gamma Chi
Wrestling "1962", Co-Captain, "A", 2,3

Michael L. (Mike) Randall '62 died March 14, 2009.
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In Memory

The irrepressible Mike Randall is no longer with us. At 68, he succumbed in March to complications from liver disease.

Like most if not all of us, Mike came to Amherst, in 1958, with a sterling academic record. On top of that, he brought along a reputation as a championship wrestler on Long Island. Wrestling was not and probably still is not a top-echelon sport at Amherst, but done well, a match can be, for spectator and performer, an invigorating antidote to the chill of a winter afternoon in Western Massachusetts. Mike did it well. No one who watched him can forget his trademark leap to his feet, chest thrust out, after a pin. Like a pixie, one of his classmates said, but I always tended to think rooster.

Without taking things to extremes, Mike liked to push the envelope a bit. He had an adventuresome spirit and insatiable curiosity. Senior year, he and two classmates drove 36 hours straight from Amherst to New Orleans, just find out what Mardi Gras was like. Another time, when the question arose, how does it feel to ride the rails, Mike and a few other guys went down to the edge of campus, where the trains to Vermont rolled through, and tried to jump on. It wasn't easy, at 25 mph, so that question remained unanswered.

One thing that anyone who knew Mike would remember is his engaging personality. He was a charmer. This always played well with the women of course, and in the end was probably responsible for the 25 years of happy marriage he had with Virginia. Moreover, Mike could find the best in anybody. This brought him a circle of real friendships, over the whole course of his life, that was surely wider and fuller than most of us could hope for. Among his friends, he had his "go-to guys," the ones he had identified as possessing some particular expertise he could draw on when needing to find out something obscure. This was in the time before Google. There were the wordsmiths, the math whizzes, the baseball nuts. And Mike was deeply fond of the obscure. For many years, he ran a trivia contest among the denizens of a certain bar in New York, which was such a hit that he brought it to his last reunion.

Mike was also a lover of language, an instinct well nurtured at Amherst. He was careful in his own speech, and he pushed others to precision and accuracy. Mike was particularly partial to Walt Whitman. He admired Whitman's "barbaric yawp," and shared his antipathy to pigeonholing. In fact, if you'd asked Mike how he'd like to be remembered, he might well have replied, Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. He liked that phrase.

After Amherst, Mike experimented across the range of his interests. He joined the Air Force and worked in communications. He became a CPA and got an MBA from Columbia. He lived for a while in Italy. He always returned to his favorite place, New York City, where he eventually took over the top floor of walk-up on the Upper East Side and personally reshaped it into a cozy retreat. He did likewise with a property in Jersey City, in the early days of its revival, and was in the midst of reinventing his home in Florida at the time of his death. However, he made his living not as a property developer, but as an entrepreneur and software developer, in the world of finance. He started and ran a couple of firms marketing specialized applications he had developed.

No memory of Mike would be complete without mention of his abiding interest in rock-n-roll. Like Mike, we all of his vintage were there at the beginning, but few maintained quite the same affection for this music as Mike. He could be counted on for a dissertation at any time on the merits of the medium, and he was partial to quoting lyrics, familiar or obscure, to underscore a point he was making, whatever the subject. It could all seem a bit retro at times, but given the enduring popularity of the style, Mike just might have had his finger on the right pulse.

---DON ADAMS '62

And here is the link to a beautiful remembrance that Mike's wife has written about their life together (sensational pictures included) -----

Losing The Language of Love

Here is a short notice published in the TCPalm in Palm City, Florida----

Michael L. Randall, 68, died March 14, 2009, at Martin Memorial Medical Center in Stuart. He was born in Queens, N.Y., and lived in Palm City for two years, coming from New York City. He served in the Air Force as a communications specialist. Before retirement, he was a software programmer and creator of Paralease Software. He was a championship wrestler at Wellington C. Mepham High School, a member of Friends of Long Island Wrestling and an alumnus of Amherst College. Survivors include his wife, Virginia Randall of Palm City; and sister, Linda Klein of Scottsdale, Ariz. Memorial contributions may be made to the Florida Liver Fund, National Foundations for Transplants, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119.
SERVICES: Services will be private. Arrangements are by Aycock Funeral Home in Stuart.
Mike at our 45th ------


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Mike will be missed. When I think of him, I sense that empty space. We owe Mike a debt of gratitude for being our friend and we owe his wife, Virginia, our gratitude for taking good care of Mike.

The thing that impressed me most about Mike was his intellectual integrity. He had the courage to tell someone what he believed to be true in a forceful, but forgiving way. 

We are all the better for having known Mike.