"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth…..|
Put out my hand and touched the face of God"
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Lando John, "Randy" Randolph died peacefully in his Acampo home on March 23rd 2013, surrounded by the family who adored him.
He was an unassuming gentleman, who lived a remarkable life; one of patriotism, passion and ingenuity, and an extraordinary sense of adventure. He was born on Valentines Day 1924 in Guymon, Oklahoma to Jessie and Katie Randolph. A child of the dust bowl, he migrated with his family to California at the age of 10 in pursuit of opportunity. They settled in Lodi. He attended Lodi High School, playing forward on the varsity basketball team, and meeting his future bride, Charlotte Marie Peirano.
World War II erupted, and following graduation, Randy enlisted in the Army Air Corps and attended flight school. He trained to be a bomber pilot, earning the distinction of flying all of the multi-engine bombers; the B-24 and the challenging B-17 as well as the B-29 "Super Fortress", but his favorite was the Mitchell B-25 because "it flew like a sports car" and he "loved the sound of its engines." While still a cadet, he hitchhiked back to Lodi to marry his sweetheart on August 27, 1944. He returned with his bride, to his base in Arizona to complete flight school, receiving his wings and the honor of Lieutenant at the age of 20.
Upon returning to civilian life, the passion for flight and adventure had not ceased. That passion and an entrepreneurial spirit led Randy and Charlotte to Bijou, Lake Tahoe, where he planned to purchase a sea plane to fly lake excursions and perform mail runs between the central valley and the lake. They became friends with renowned pilot Tex Rankin, who was promoting the Seabee amphibian, and were near purchase of that type of aircraft, when a tragic crash in one of the planes took the life of Rankin and dampened the couple's spirits. In light of this catastrophe, they decided it was best to halt the flying plans and return to Lodi.
Charlotte's family owned vineyards in Acampo, and with the Peirano brothers aging, Randy was chosen to take up the family business, learning the art and science of caring for a vineyard from Uncle George. From his early 20's to his late 70's, Randy managed and grew the business, now known as Peirano Estate. Though not from Lodi farming lineage, Randy became a highly respected grower by his fellow farmers and by the winemaking community of California, enjoying successful relationships with all the major wineries, because of his gentlemanly manner and fine negotiation skills. As an extension of his role in the grape growing community, Randy served many years on the Board of Directors for the Lodi Grape and Wine Festival. While managing the vineyard, he and Charlotte, always on the lookout for new adventures, owned and operated fireworks stands and Christmas tree lots, where they produced some of the first flocked trees in northern California.
Amongst all of this he raised a family of 5 children, instilling in them creativity, and the love of outdoors and travel. Along with his father in law, and one craftsman, he built the family home that now sits amid the vines, reclaiming timber and bricks from the Victorian era house that sat where Highway 99 now travels. Some in the community may remember "treasure hunts" in the vineyards that Randy created for family celebrations, or the many entries he inspired and helped his children build for the Grape Festival "Kiddies Parade." Travels across the United States with the kids in the motor home developed into travel passion once the children were grown. Randy and Charlotte loved to see new places and people and their travels, including numerous cruises, took them to Alaska, Hawaii, Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Greece, to name some of their destinations. By far, their favorite adventure was to the Cook Islands.
Throughout his life, the love of flying never left him. He piloted his beloved Beechcraft Bonanza V-Tail out of Lodi, touring his family, including the mutt, Chili, all over California. Even his grandchildren recall flights to the Nut Tree for breakfast. With friends he flew to Mexico and adventures beyond, the tales of which probably only the late Les Calkins, his best buddy in misadventure, would be able to recall. He was a superb and respected pilot, and flying was second nature to him and one of his greatest joys.
Randy is survived by his wife Charlotte; his daughter Landa and son- in- law Dennis Durrell; his son Lance and daughter-in-law Cornelia, their children Sonja, her husband Bradley Heintz, Erik and wife Katherine Randolph, and Alexis Randolph; his daughter Lacey and son-in-law Howard Arnaiz; daughter Laddie and son-in-law Brian Erbele; son Layne Randolph; and great grandchildren, Keaton and Oliver Heintz, and Hannah, Alexander and Sophia Randolph.
A private mass was held for family at St Joachim's church on April 1st, 2013. A Celebration of Randy's Life is planned for Saturday, April the 27th at Peirano Estate Winery. Friends and members of the community, who wish to attend, please call 209 369-9463 for details of the event.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to Hospice of San Joaquin County or
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Apr. 11 to Apr. 18, 2013