Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Saint of a Different Sort: Richard "Dick" Randel, 1944-2013

Nikki Fox DNR file photo, used by permission
I felt a special sadness when I heard of Dick Randel’s death last Friday. Unfortunately, we were in  Rochester, NY, with our daughter and family and couldn’t meet with his family at the funeral home.

Our paths crossed in the early nineties when our house church frequently met at the former Star Gables Motel, which Dick and Laurie managed as a rundown kind of homeless shelter for the down and out.

Dick was a complex man. He claimed to be unable to read or write, but was remarkably articulate and seemed good at dealing with finances. While our concerns for offering a hand up to needy families were much the same, our personality styles and ways of relating to people sometimes put us at odds.

Dick had strong opinions about what people should do, and didn’t hesitate to make strong demands of people, in a way we felt sometimes bordered on being presumptious or overbearing. But his heart was in the right place, and he freely spoke out against injustice and as an advocate of the homeless poor and especially of children in the foster care system, which he felt was insufficiently responsive to the rights of both parents and children.

In spite of his ability to irritate and offend pretty much everyone at times, I always believed there was something of the voice of God in this man, the God of wild, unpolished and unpopular prophets throughout history.

Our community needs people like this. He was truly one of a kind.
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