John Randall: A true champion for teens
Sonoma lost a true champion for teens in the Valley with the passing of John Randall from this life on Saturday, June 4.
John gave his heart and unflagging energy to the cause of helping all teens, but especially troubled ones, to find a place of belonging and safety to allow their true selves to emerge and flower. An entrepreneur himself, John helped ignite that spark in many young people when he saw potential and promise where others saw just another teen. To hear him tell of a young person who was making it, changing and growing into a responsible adult, well, you couldn't help but catch his fatherly pride in each one's accomplishments.
Beyond his determination and dedication to serving teens, John was a man of many interests. He appreciated classic race cars, which he formerly drove and in which he even won some races. He had a wide-ranging love of music, including his absolute joy in singing everything from church choral music to improvised jazz.
He loved to dance, was a consummate gentleman, and devoted husband to his beloved Jenny. Few probably knew of his command of complex business interests, such as the multi-year development of a geothermal project he put together along with his friend and business partner, Chuck Harris.
John seemed comfortable in any setting, equally adept at relating with awkward teens and speaking in flourishing tones to Sonoma Valley sophisticates. Once, on one of his regular visits to see his mother in western Michigan, he and Jenny stopped to visit me while I was in my home town of Holland for a family reunion. I swear John endeared himself with a good swatch of my conservative, Dutch-blood relatives, enthusiastically joining in our volleyball game and sharing heartily in our picnic. He was genuinely gregarious and easily let his hair down.
Even while he battled the disease that ultimately felled him, John gave so much of himself to help put legs underneath the merger of his beloved Operation Youth and the Valley of the Moon Teen Center.
It is so gratifying and heartening to have seen his absolute joy when the newly birthed organization recently received the Impact 100 grant. I see it is as a fitting reward for his years of working on behalf of teens, often behind the scenes, to build a foundation upon which young people could launch their lives.
My fellow board members and I at Sonoma Valley Teen Services, are feeling John's loss with deep sadness, yet true satisfaction in having known and been associated with him.
There is no way we can replace John, but we will honor his memory by doing our best to carry on his legacy of caring for teens and seeking to make a positive difference in their lives. If you want to help us make that difference, either by volunteering or making a donation in his memory we - in the spirit of John Randall - unashamedly invite to you do so. To reach us you can email: Cristin_Lawrence@comcast.net, write to SVTS, c/o P.O. Box 530, Sonoma or call Chuck at 938-3654.
Rest in peace John, you are loved and will be dearly missed.
• • •
Tim Boeve is president of Sonoma Valley Teen Services.