WWII hero Randolph dies
By Chris Edwards
– One of “The Greatest Generation” and a longtime Tyler County resident has died. WOODVILLE
Alonzo Herbert Randolph, who celebrated his 103rd birthday in February, died last Thursday.
Randolph, who lived in Colmesneil, was a World War II Army combat veteran. He served in the Army as a Staff Sergeant and was a combat engineer who served in the China-Burma-India Theater.
Randolph, in recent years, received commendations from the county, state and federal government for his service. He was also honored at the 79th annual Dogwood Festival last year, as the parade marshal for the Queen’s Weekend parade.
Last year, for his 102nd birthday, the county’s veterans’ service office hosted a birthday party for him, and he was presented with a medal that honored his work in helping to build the Burma Road from India to China.
The Burma Road campaign was key in helping China resist Japanese invasion, as it was essential in getting supplies to the country.
Jose Narvaez, a Marine Corps veteran who volunteers his time to give elderly veterans birthday parties, presented Randolph with the medal.
Narvaez said that when he first met Randolph, he was amazed at what he told him, about his service, as he’d not met many veterans who’d been a part of the Burma campaign. When he presented Randolph with the medal, the birthday celebrant was visibly moved and said he had been looking for, and waiting to receive, such a medal for more than 60 years.
Randolph was a Florida native who, after the war, settled down as a cattle rancher. Randolph, according to his obituary, worked, and was an independent-minded man since he was 12 years of age, and became a skilled automotive professional.
He and his wife Rosemary owned and operated the Randolph Ranch in Colmesneil, and according to his obituary, he was a skilled outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing, hunting and spending time among nature, and sharing his knowledge with his family and friends.
Anecdotally, many who encountered the tall, strapping centenarian, who appeared decades younger than he actually was, would not have guessed him to be anywhere near 100 years of age. He was soft-spoken, friendly and according to Tina Cleberg, who serves as the county’s veterans’ service officer, “just a great guy.”
Rep. Brian Babin, who was present at Randolph’s 100th birthday, in February of 2020, when he was honored at the Tyler County Courthouse, said that it is a great privilege to represent and American hero like Randolph in Congress.
Randolph is survived by his wife, Rosemary, his three children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at the Randolph Ranch, located at 2601 North Wheeler in Colmesneil. Services will be conducted under the direction of Coleman’s Family Mortuary, of Woodville.
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