David (Dave) A. W. Randall, Jr., 75, moved to heaven on December 27, 2019 at his home in Abilene, Texas.
A private graveside service will be held at the Texas State Veteran’s Cemetery in Abilene, on Thursday, January 2. A memorial service will follow at 1:00 pm at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church with Pastor Stan Allcorn and Brother Richard Darden officiating. Services are under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road.
Dave was born in Willimantic, Connecticut to David A.W. Randall, Sr. and Theresa Turgeon on August 24, 1944. He graduated from Windham Regional Technical School in 1964, where he was a state champion sharpshooter on the school rifle team.
Dave enlisted in the Air Force in December 1964, and after basic training, was assigned to Dover Air Force Base where he was a loadmaster on the C-133. He also served at Dyess Air Force Base, CCK Air Base in Taiwan and Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines as a loadmaster on the C-130 aircraft during the Vietnam war. He received two Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross while overseas. In 1972 he returned to Dyess Air Force Base where he spent the remainder of his Air Force career, retiring in 1984.
Dave married his sweetheart, Charlene Halbach, in Hampton, CT on April 20, 1968. He often told people that he knew from the eighth grade that she was the one for him. It just took a little while to convince her of the same! Many were the times he “slightly” exceeded the speed limit driving his 1961 Ford convertible from Dover AFB to Massachusetts where Charlene was a college student. In April of 2018, they were privileged to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends at the Mesquitarosa, the home they built in Potosi in 2012.
After his retirement from the Air Force, Dave worked as an event coordinator/maintenance supervisor at the Abilene Civic Center for 20 years. He was a real people person and made many friends in the community during his time there. Customer service was his forte, and he received numerous cards and letters of appreciation over the years for his helpfulness and problem-solving abilities.
Dave was a great dad to his two children, Jeffrey and Jennifer, teaching by example how to be responsible and to always give your best. He loved and was very proud of both of them and didn’t mind telling you so. He coached Little League when Jeff was playing and shared his love of fishing with him. One of his favorite memories was a fishing trip with Jeff in Alaska where he caught a 320-pound halibut. Needless to say, a lot of fish was consumed that year! He willingly attended Jenny’s little girl tea parties and let her dress him in silly outfits, a practice that continued as a Christmas tradition with more and crazier hats, wigs, glasses, etc. making for hilarious photo memories.
Dave loved cars, especially Ford Model A’s and Mustangs. As a teenager, he bought cheap cars and ran them until they could not go another mile. His favorite saying was, “It may be cheap, but it’s transportation”—a saying that didn’t necessarily hold true in later years! He was a Ford man, although he did cave in and own several Toyotas in his later years. He was always working on a car, either for himself or even more likely, for someone else. Dave was a perfectionist when it came to restoring cars, and rebuilt 1969 Mustangs for both of his kids – cars they still own today. He amassed a plethora of parts that filled his barn, prompting his kids to threaten to call American Pickers to reduce his inventory. He was a member of the Abilene Model A Ford Club and served as president for many years. He was the go-to guy if you needed help building or fixing a Model A. He loved driving his Model A’s in parades and giving people rides in the rumble seat. He was also a member of the Last Chance car club, a group of car aficionados who met every Thursday night to trade tall tales and advice on cars as well as other topics.
He was always helping someone, often to the detriment of getting his own projects done. If a friend or acquaintance had a problem or need, Dave was there. “Here he comes to save the day!” was a fitting motto. Dave could fix just about anything, and always had a several projects going. He dabbled in just about anything that caught his fancy, including stained glass. He spent innumerable hours building or making items for Charlene’s classroom and was her biggest cheerleader and silent partner during her career as a teacher.
Dave was a member of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church and the Jabez Sunday School class. Over the years he served on the Building and Grounds committee, the baptism committee, as an usher and at the Welcome Center. One year, he volunteered to fill in occasionally as a van driver for Shining Star Fellowship and ended up driving on Wednesday nights for the next five years. He also spent many hours at Shining Star as an unofficial maintenance man and worked to raise funds for building improvements.
Dave loved to laugh. He had a great sense of humor and always had a good joke to tell you—even if he’d told it to you before. He had a soft spot in his heart for animals. Somehow strays seemed to find him and then, of course, he brought them home. He also had a soft spot for people who were having a hard time and found ways to help them out either financially or in some other way. He loved little children, too, entertaining them by talking like Donald Duck or letting them push his “burp” button. He had an extensive collection of animated Christmas toys which he loved sharing with visiting kids. Most especially he loved his grandkids, Alyssa and Jaydon, of whom he was very proud.
Dave was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Charlene; son, Captain Jeffrey Randall, USCG and wife, Linda, of Mt. Pleasant, SC; daughter, Jennifer Egger and husband, Jason, of Okeechobee, FL; two sisters, Pauline Roller of Mt. Pleasant, SC and Elaine Staples of Vernon, CT; a brother, Denis Randall of Abilene, TX; two grandchildren, Alyssa Randall and Jaydon Egger, several nieces and nephews and many, many friends
Honorary pallbearers will be Dewayne Bear, Jack Fry, Terry Tacker, Brian Cargile, Tom Cowley, John Snyder, and Chris Carnohan.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, 701 South Pioneer Drive, Abilene, TX 79605 or Shining Star Fellowship, 301 Palm Street, Abilene, TX 79602.
The family wishes to extend our thanks to the doctors, nurses and aides of Hendrick Hospice for their compassionate care, the Home Instead and Kindred caregivers, and the many friends and neighbors who provided care and comfort when needed most.