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Randy S. Black passed away peacefully at home on April 2, 2023 surrounded by his wife and daughters after a brief but valiant fight against pancreatic cancer. Known for his positivity, determination, and enduring optimism, Randy met life with joy and vigor and will be deeply missed by his family and friends.
The beloved partner of his high school sweetheart Nancy (Shea) Black for over 52 years, with nearly 47 spent as husband and wife; father of Tracy and Catie; father-in-law of Steven and Scott; and Grandy to Aubrey, Jackson, and Callum, Randy loved his family with all of his heart and will forever be loved by them.
As much as he enjoyed relaxing with a good book (fantasy novels were particular favorites), Randy was always on the move. From activities as mundane as home, lawn, and carpentry projects (but never painting) to cheering for his Cleveland Browns, New York Yankees, and UConn Huskies; eating delicious restaurant meals; weekends away; and time spent laughing with family and friends, Randy filled his life with adventures large and small. But he and Nancy’s greatest adventure together was as parents and grandparents.
Randy loved his girls fiercely and made a commitment during their high school years to never miss a cheerleading event, track meet, or soccer match. No matter what happened in their lives, Randy wanted his girls to know, “I’m proud of you, and you know what proud means.” When Tracy and Catie met their husbands, Randy welcomed them into the family with open arms -- sharing whiskeys with both, golf adventures with Steve, and running with Scott.
In 2015, Randy became Grandy when he welcomed his granddaughter Aubrey into the world, followed by Jackson in 2018 and Callum in 2021. Grandy was a specialist in inspiring smiles, giggles, and an excellent taste in music in all three kids. As a special treat, he set up indoor and outdoor swings (because there can never be enough swinging) and each grandbaby had a special Grandy song. Grandy called Aubrey his “Angel”; Jack refers to Grandy as his “best friend”; and Callum’s face would light up as he poked his head around the corner to say “hi” and blow Grandy a kiss.
Outside his family life, Randy was an avid golfer. Always eager to traverse the fairway on foot, if possible, Randy golfed 595 courses around the world venturing onto greens in 18 countries, 27 states, and every public course in the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island.
At the age of 59, Randy took up running. Beginning with 1-milers, he eventually conquered 5ks, 10ks, and a half-marathon. In 2016, Randy joined the Run 169 Towns Society and has completed races in 71 of Connecticut’s 169 towns.
Around the same time, Randy started to join his brother Barry on biking escapades – locally at first and then culminating in their own Tour de New York covering the five bridges and five boroughs. In 2022, the brothers transitioned to hiking Connecticut’s state parks and completed the Sky’s the Limit challenge, visiting 20 state parks and state forests within the year. Their treks, talks, and hilltop teas made up some of Randy’s favorite memories during his last year.
Known to those who loved him as the “world traveler,” Randy visited 53 countries around the globe and 38 states during his lifetime. He often traveled for work, venturing to California, Texas, Virginia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, India, and beyond on various projects. More importantly though, Randy traveled for leisure. On their own or accompanied by family and friends (especially their favorite travel companions Bob and Paula), Randy and Nancy explored the globe. They embarked on 19 cruises to far-flung destinations including Western and Eastern Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and the Danube River; countless road trips along the eastern coast and into Canada; long weekends in Iceland, Ireland, and France; and frequent North Carolina Shea family beach trips.
In addition to his other hobbies, Randy was a great collector. Throughout his life, Randy collected golf balls from the courses he played, DC comic books, Dr. Fate memorabilia, music, and great Scotch whiskeys, but above all else, he collected treasured friends and memories. Wherever he went in the world, Randy sought out good people with whom he developed relationships that lasted a lifetime.
Born and raised in Norwich, Connecticut, Randy spent his summers by the sea at Roy Carpenter’s Beach in Matunuck, Rhode Island. He graduated from Norwich Free Academy in 1973; it was also at NFA where Randy first developed his love for computers and began his lengthy Information Technologies career as a 16-year-old student programmer. After graduating from NFA, Randy obtained his associate’s degree from Thames Valley State Technical College, his bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams University, and his MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Randy spent the majority of his career working as a Project Manager for General Dynamics and Global Services Director for Computer Sciences Corporation before ultimately retiring as the Information Technology Manager for Norwich Public Utilities in July 2020.
Randy is survived by his wife, Nancy (Shea) Black; his daughters and sons-in-law Tracy & Steven Kunkel and Catie & Scott Hulgan: and his three grandchildren, Aubrey, Jackson, and Callum. Randy is also survived by his mother-in-law Patricia Shea Sticht (Ronald Sticht); his brothers Brad and Barry Black (Leisha Black); his sister Nancy (Black) Maynard (Mark Maynard); his sister-in-law Pat (Shea) Orzechowski (Michael Orzechowski); his brothers-in-law Ed Shea (Carolyn Shea), Michael Shea (Jean Shea), and David Shea (Alicia Shea); and many nieces and nephews. Randy was predeceased by his parents Robert and Doris (Boyd) Black; father-in-law Edward Shea; uncle-in-law Father Robert F. Shea; and sister-in-law Deborah (Hey) Black.
Calling hours for Randy will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at Gagne-Piechowski Funeral Home; 490 Voluntown Road; Griswold, CT 06351. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 13, 2023 at Gagne-Piechowski Funeral Home.
Randy’s family would like to extend a special thank you to the Hospice caregivers who provided us with such comfort and care during his final days, especially Kat, RN; Beverly, PCT; and Sara, LCSW. In lieu of flowers, please consider mailing a donation in Randy’s name directly to Hartford HealthCare at Home’s Center for Hospice Care at 227 Dunham St; Norwich, CT 06360.
Hartford Healthcare at Home's Center for Hospice Care
227 Dunham Street, Norwich CT 06360