Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ode to a Curmudgeon- John Randel "Randy" Dorn- 52 Ancestors #5

Today is a difficult day in my family. It's a day to celebrate a birth and mourn a loss. My grandfather, John Randel "Randy" Dorn, was born 2 February 1925 to Charles (Szodry) Dorn and Elizabeth Eleanor Randel(l). He would die 86 years later in 2011 on his birthday. The title was taken from the eulogy my mother gave at his memorial service and I believe is perfect for this post as well. He was a man of MANY words, not all of which made sense to anyone, including himself.

"Randy" with brother "Dutch" and cousin Randel Fridge.
Randy grew up in Queens county, New York surrounded by family. He often talked of his siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and his grandmother.
Randy (right) with brother "Dutch"
When the U.S. entered World War II he decided he wanted to be a Navy man. He would enlist when he was 17 years 11 months old. He served on the SS Cape Bon, SS Exilona, SS Edwin W. Moore, and the SS Angus Mc Donald. There were fond stories of trying to swim the Firth of Forth in Scotland to get to an all girls school and throwing whiskey overboard. The memories of the coast of Sicily were not too fond.

He came home after the war and would soon see a young woman, Jean Teresa Primavera, in a church choir. Grandpa said it was "love at first sight." He would somehow convince her to marry him in February of 1948 at "the Little Church Around the Corner," in NYC. If you knew them you realized if two people were made to be together it was them.
Randy and Jean's wedding. 1948

In 1950 Grandpa re-enlisted in the Navy to serve in Korea. He served 7 months in the USS Essex.
Randy and Jean with daughter Christie. 1950
Outside of the military Randy worked for Grumman. He even was chosen to work on the LEM in the 1960s.

After retirement Randy and Jean moved to South Carolina where they would live for the rest of their lives. Grandma Jean died in 2002 and until he passed away Randy missed her every day.
One of my favorite pictures of Randy and Jean.

A man who loved golf he was often found playing a round with friends. Vocal to begin with he got worse as his playing did. "I couldn't hit a bull in the ass with a 3 dollar bill" was heard often and loudly.

His sayings were stuff of legends and there were times he would quiet a room. Not due to anything other than people trying to figure out what he meant. "Hypotenuse on a dead man's flea." Can anyone explain that? I don't think even he could.

One of my favorites was partly due to him being a Navy man. He could not remember the word boat and he was getting frustrated. "The floaty thing" eventually came out which resulted in a LOT of laughter. For Christmas the next year my brother and sister-in-law bought a model boat and painted "S.S. Floaty thing" on it. He loved it.

One of the biggest things about Randy was his voice. He had this loud booming baritone and a very nice singing voice. When he sang he would drown out everyone within a fairly big radius. I can still hear it every time something happens I know he would rant about. And boy could he rant!

To know him was to love him. Every person who met him had some story to tell that would bring a laugh.

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