Love and Laughter: A Tribute to Randy King

Love and Laughter: A Tribute to Randy King

A Celebration of the Life of Randy King
August 5th, 2014 – San Antonio, Texas

Good morning family and friends. We are here to mourn the loss of but also celebrate the life of Randy King who lived a life of faith and who died with confident hope and assurance of the new life with God in the everlasting Kingdom of perfect peace.

Your presence here today is a testimony to that.

Randy’s family and I wish to express our appreciation for your presence at this memorial service.

No doubt, many fond memories of Randy will come to mind as we reflect upon the life of this remarkable daughter of God who was known for her adventuresome spirit, zest for life, big heart, generous spirit, appreciation of small and big animals, and deep love for family and friends.

We are all here because of our personal relationship directly with Randy or indirectly through her family and friends.

It is a normal thing for us now to reflect and treasure both personally and collectively the profound significance of the life of Randy King.

We are here to remember Randy and her significant life and in so doing to learn about ourselves and encourage each other to reach for higher spiritual levels of peace, joy, and righteousness.

God has given us souls and in our souls we store up memories. And also it is in our hearts that we inscribe the wealth of memories and experiences we’ve shared and share with our loved ones. It is this collection of rich memories and experiences that we may call upon to define who we ourselves are.

Family and friends, even when they have departed this earthly life, they continue to remain a part of us. Their present absence is felt. And in memory we visit them. Like Oleg, his parents, and I did yesterday in the den room. Oleg reminded me that the especially “empty” chair with pillows with horses was where Randy sat as she joined in our conversation.

People, we inscribe each other on each other’s hearts. We co-define each other as products of interactions, shared memories, and common experiences.

As we reflect on the life of Randy this morning, she is in our midst.

Heavenly Father we come before you with a spirit of gratitude. We thank you for Randy. A remarkable woman of noble character. We thank you for the rich memories and meaningful experiences we’ve shared with her. And we thank you for the direct or indirect positive impact she’s had on our lives. Bless now this time of mourning. This time of reflections This time of celebration. This time of crying. This time of rejoicing. In Jesus name. Amen.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-4, 6, 7 NIV)

I believe there is tremendous value in remembering a life. Especially the life of a vibrant woman who has, directly or indirectly, positively and lovingly touched all of us in this chapel and many others in circles outside this building, beyond the city and beyond the state. We are here to remember the life of Randy. And we will remember her not just today but also tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that… and the day after that…

Randalin “Randy” King was born in Shell Lake, Wisconsin to Rai and Lorraine Stouffer on May 15, 1941. She passed away on August 1, 2014 after a brutal 37-day battle in the ICU due to complications from bypass surgery. Her husband Don and daughter Teresa were at her side physically during the month and a week long battle. And all other family members and many friends were there as well in spirit through their thoughts and prayers.

The wise teacher in the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time to mourn and there is a time to rejoice. Today is a time to do both.

On the one hand we mourn in sorrow the loss of a loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother, and friend. And, on the other hand, we celebrate in joy the life of our beloved Randy.

Randy had a passionate heart. Randy had a compassionate spirit.

Randy loved God. She loved her Lord and Savior, Jesus. Faith was not just important but central to who she was. And it was that faith that informed her loving heart and vibrant spirit.

Randy had a passionate heart. Randy had a compassionate spirit.

Randy loved her family. She loved Don her husband, her true love, her travelmate, her adventure companion, her partner, and her friend. She loved her family.

She loved her tender-hearted son Robert. She loved her late son, the handsome, athletic, Don. And she loved her bright and beautiful and brilliant daughter Teresa.

She loved her beloved daughter-in-law Edith. She also loved her son-in-law Seth whom no matter how much steak and potatoes fed into him, she just could not change that slender, svelte physique.

Randy had a passionate heart. Randy had a compassionate spirit.

And she loved her grandchildren, oh yeah, she loved you so very much. She loved Cody, Prince among men. She loved Elizabeth, or Liz, Princess among maidens. And she loved Oleg, her bright & handsome sailor and golden-hearted martial artist.

Randy had a passionate heart. Randy had a compassionate spirit.

She loved her late parents, her late sister Karen, her sisters Shirley and Gwen, and her brothers Albert and Rai. She loved her nieces and nephews.

She loved people. She loved children. She loved babies. She loved animals. The small ones like Precious who barked around the dinner table last night. And the big ones like her quarter horses who provide substance for one of her great passions, horse breeding and horse racing. She especially loved Girl, the mare, the only one she kept until the end. She was the broodmare and lived to be at least 30. She died right before Randy went in for surgery. Randy had even made a comment about joining Girl in heaven. And I believe she did. Randy loved everyone. She loved nature. She just loved.

Randy had a passionate heart. Randy had a compassionate spirit.

Also, Randy loved to travel. She loved to fish. She loved good food. She loved laughter. She loved much. And she was much loved.

And… today… she is also much and sorely missed.

Randy had a passionate heart. Randy had a compassionate spirit.

And today she’s entered the place of shalom. The place of peace.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

William Shakespeare – “good bye, good bye, parting is such sweet sorrow.” Hard to depart and say farewell. But sweet because someday we will see our loved ones again plus we see them now through shared memories.

Albert Einstein – for physicists, time or the distinction between past and present and future is a mere illusion, albeit a stubbornly persistent one.

“You close your eyes and you miss it.” Teresa, Randy’s daughter, commented last night as we were watching the slideshow, the mosaic of memories reflecting Randy’s rich life experiences. The slides were rolling in, rolling out, fading in, and fading out in a beautiful loop. There was a rhythm. But any distracted moment led to missing a slide that was noticed only a few minutes later in the subsequent runs. There is a life lesson in Teresa’s comment. Be mindful. Slow down. De-accelerate. Pay attention. Don’t miss the slideshow.

My friend Julianne recently reminded me: “life is too short to be small and hard-hearted.” Her husband James drew from the experiences of Viktor Frankle, the Jewish psychologist who survived the horrors of the Nazi holocaust. Dr. Frankle encouraged his logotherapy clients to imagine being on their deathbed and looking back on their lives. He asked them to draw meaning from all experiences including the painful ones. Where there was love, there was substance and meaning.

Time is life. Life is experiences and memories woven together against the backdrop of time. Time is not money. Time is irreplaceable and priceless. Savor it. Don’t rush. Don’t miss the slides. Don’t miss the experiences.

Meet people. Love people. Give the seven-second handshakes and hugs. Look into their eyes. Be generous like Randy’s life reminds us. And love with a deep love. Love family and friends the way Randy loved.

We want to be large, expansive, generous, and authentic in our love for all. We want to love from the heart. We want to live from the heart. A life full of love, laughter, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and generosity is a life without regrets. Remember Randy, her big heart, generosity, zest for life, and deep love for God, family, and friends.

As a parting thought, imagine a completely healed and 100% renewed Randy riding the mare Girl. With the wind in her hair, sowing laughter and love on sun-kissed, lushly green heavenly plains and rolling hills.

And as she dismounts the horse and meets our Heavenly Father, I believe Randy will echo the words of the apostle Paul and say:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which YOU the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on THIS day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8 NIV)

Live well. Love much. And remember Randy. Today and tomorrow and the day after and the day after.


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