James Elbert Randles was born in Hutchinson, KS, December 10, 1925 to James and Irma (Lewis) Randles. He passed away at Vista Grande Inn on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at the age of 87. He was the third of eight children.
The family moved to Montezuma County, CO in 1935 during the dust bowl period.
The Randles kids grew up moving from place to place.
As a result, Elbert always had a good memory of places and names of classmates and friends he met 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, KS and had two children, Arthur and Mary.
Norma Jean died suddenly of a heart attack when Arthur was two and Mary was three 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 whole life.
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, UT, Elbert working various jobs, including foreman of the lumberyard.
Elbert and Marvel raised Larry, Arthur, and Mary until they were grown, then the couple divorced.
On April 27, 1974, Elbert married Florence Wilson Hill.
The two had actually met much earlier while attending elementary school in Yellow Jacket, CO, when they were eight and 11 years old.
Florence remembered that he colored funny because he was colorblind; Elbert remembered her sweet smile. They met again when Florence was waitressing 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 lived a full life and shared his passion for living with all who knew him. He loved to drive. He traveled from coast to coast, from the northern border to the southern border and down into Mexico.
He and Florence enjoyed nine winter seasons in Quartzite, AZ after retirement, and continued to travel to visit family, friends, and special places along the way.
Elbert loved to bowl, play pool, marbles, and dice; throw horseshoes, tell stories, sing country tunes, and dance.
He figured he’d danced enough to dance across the country and back more than a couple times.
Elbert is preceded in death by his first wife, Norma Jean McKinney; second wife, Marvel Easton; brothers Glen, George, Floyd, and John Randles; 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; son Arthur ‘Art’ (Trina) Randles of Richfield, UT; step children Larry (Barbara) Darby of Winnemucca, NV, Glenna Hill of Dolores; Judy (Ed) Sanders of Bloomfield, NM, Janet (Charlie) Otero of Farmington, NM, and Ellen )Steve) Robinson of Arvada, CO; sisters Viola Denny of Cortez, and Exia Harding of Fresno, CA; brother Clifford (Sharon) Randles of Naturita, CO; 20 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, and countless friends and relatives.
A memorial reception was held October 26, with a graveside service Monday, October 28.
Pallbearers were grandsons Aaron and Erik Randles, Nicholas Perkins, Mark Sanders, Jeremy Otero, and Thomas and Will Robinson.
Honorary pallbearers were Bill Raey, Don Talent, Bill Griffin, Martin Bussard, Homer Maslin, Larry and David Darby, and Rustin Saul.
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.
Services were under the direction of Ertel Funeral Home.
For further information or to send condolences, log on towww.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section.
Card of thanks
The family would like to thank everyone for the flowers, food, cards, hugs and kind words through this trying time.