Although America was slowly inching towards a turning point in the Great Depression in 1934, political changes around the world eventually led the U.S. into the next world war. Droughts in the Midwest and relentless dust storms wreaked havoc on millions of acres of farmland, yet hope was on the horizon. Everyday folks found joy in the little things in life and families stuck together through these challenging, yet hopeful times.
Life for Richard Randall was far removed from the conventional family bonds and unconditional love which a child is entitled to. Born on February 5, 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Richard was the son of Dean Elmendorf and Ruth (Stansbury Morehouse) Randall. His father worked as a department store clerk, a Junior High School music teacher, and as their church organist and choir director, to support the family, which included Richard’s brothers, Robert and William, while his mother was a homemaker. Perhaps it was these everyday pressures of hard economic times that gave cause for Richard’s lack of nurturing during the precious, formative years of his early life. In any event, it affected Richard for the rest of his life.
Like many little boys, Richard became a handful, possibly in an effort to receive some sort of recognition in his young life. At the age of five he allegedly tried to burn their house down, and sadly for him, there were no second chances. On the advice of mother’s psychiatrist, Richard’s parents gave him to a clergyman and his wife to raise, but was soon sent to a local Christian orphanage and boarding school in Delafield, Wisconsin where he remained until he became of age. Sadly, not much was known about Richard during these years other than he enjoyed working in the garden at the orphanage and boarding school. He occasionally saw his family during the holidays.
Once Richard was out on his own, he took a job as a motel clerk and put himself through school attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. An intelligent fellow, he excelled in his studies and went on to receive his BS in the field of social work around 1970. For approximately 20 years, he made an integral difference helping runaway and troubled teens at Pathfinders on Milwaukee’s eastside. He lived a rather simple life while enjoying his love of psychology and sociology, and sang in the choir at St. James Church. He never married, and occassionally would traveled to Chicago to enjoy the sights.
For better or for worse, Richard Randall was a product of his upbringing. Although he overcame much and had much to be proud of, he tended to be quite fiesty at times. He acquired the intelligence of an educated man, was a very good conversationalist, and was considered to be very cool and hip. Having endured abandonment and abuse growing up, he rose above it all and succeeded. In the end, Richard provided countless at-risk teens the help and guidance he wasn’t fortunate to have received.
At the age of 78, Richard Randall died on Sunday, February 26, 2012. He is survived by his sister’s-in-law, Margaret Randall and Mary Randall; nieces and nephews, Tom, Sarah, Susan, and Mark; great-nieces and nephews, Lexi, Chloe, Matthew, Dylan, Althea, Ursula, and John. No funeral services are planned. If you had the opportunity to be touched by this remarkable man, please visit www.lifestorynet.com to leave a memory and to sign his online guest book. Suminski Family Life Story Funeral Homes-Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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