James Elbert Randles
James Elbert Randles was born in Hutchinson, Kan. Dec. 10, 1925, to James and Irma (Lewis) Randles. He passed away at Vista Grande Inn on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at age 87.
He was the third of eight children. The family moved to Montezuma County in 1935 during the Dust Bowl. The Randles’ kids grew up moving from place to place. As a result, Elbert always had a good memory of places and friends along the way. He was an independent-minded young man, and lived largely on his own from the time he was 13 years old.
On March 2, 1949, Elbert married Norma Jean McKinney. The couple lived and loved in Leota, Kan., and had two children, Arthur and Mary. Norma Jean died of a heart attack when Arthur was 2 and Mary was 3 months old. Rather than let such a tragedy defeat him, he resolved to be the best father he could be and was a role model of hard work and determination. His family, including his sister, Viola, helped him with the kids as they transitioned to their new lives. He married Marvel Easton on April 9, 1954, and became a father to her son, Larry. The family lived in Monticello, Utah, Elbert working various jobs. Elbert and Marvel raised Larry, Arthur, and Mary, then the couple divorced.
On April 27, 1974, Elbert married Florence Wilson Hill. The two had met while attending elementary school in Yellow Jacket, Colo. Florence remembered he colored funny because he was color-blind; Elbert remembered her sweet smile. They met again when Florence was waiting tables at the Ponderosa Café in Dolores. Florence had four daughters, with the two youngest, Janet and Ellen, still living at home. He raised them as his own, working as a tire-man for Montezuma County.
Elbert loved to drive. He traveled coast to coast and from the northern border to the southern border. He and Florence enjoyed nine winter seasons in Quartzite, Ariz., after retirement, and continued to travel to visit family, friends, and special places. He loved to bowl, play pool, marbles, and dice; throw horseshoes, tell stories, sing country tunes, and dance.
Elbert was preceded in death by his first wife, Norma Jean McKinney; his second wife, Marvel Easton; his brothers, Glen, George, Floyd, and John Randles; his daughter, Mary Perkins; grandsons, Micheal Garcia and Darren Darby; and great grandsons, Cameron Darby and Dalton Lalonde. Left to mourn are his wife, Florence of Cortez; his son, Arthur ‘Art’ and Trina Randles of Richfield, Utah; his step children, Larry and Barbara Darby of Winnemucca, Nev., Glenna Hill of Dolores; Judy and Ed Sanders of Bloomfield, N.M., Janet and Charlie Otero of Farmington, N.M., and Ellen and Steve Robinson of Arvada, Colo.; his sisters, Viola Denny of Cortez, and Exia Harding of Fresno, Calif.; his brother, Clifford and Sharon Randles of Naturita, Colo.; 20 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, and countless friends and relatives.
A memorial reception was held Oct. 26, with a graveside service Monday, Oct. 28. Pallbearers were grandsons Aaron and Erik Randles, Nicholas Perkins, Mark Sanders, Jeremy Otero, and Thomas and Will Robinson.
It was Elbert’s philosophy of life that was perhaps most inspirational: Live every day. Live with as much gusto and laughter and dancing and kindness as you can muster. Work to make your way. Work hard. And live hard, too. Life is a blessing every single day, he would say. So make the most of it. It’s good to know the world is a better place because he shared it with us.
The family thanks everyone for the flowers, food, cards, hugs and kind words through this trying time.
Services were under the direction of Ertel Funeral Home. To send condolences, go to www.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section.