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Remembering Randy Hargrave: A Man Who Loved and Was Loved

Posted by Joe Antle on April 21, 2019 7:10 AM EDT
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My blog post today is my full prepared remarks, a portion of which I was privileged to share at Randy Hargrave's funeral service on Saturday, April 20, 2019.  I loved Randy - he was at times bigger than life, a true friend, colleague, boss, mentor, sales expert and enthusiastic “liver of life and lover of all things”.  As I think of Randy and my time ...

...as a colleague of his with The Virginian-Pilot and Landmark Publishing Group, I realize that he may have been the most loved person in the company through generations of employees.

So, like the fabled “chicken or the egg”, which came first-Randy was loved deeply and so he loved.  Or was it that he loved and because of that, he was loved?  I wanted to explore that further and have listed the things that I think Randy loved the most-his “Randy’s Top 10 List of Things He Loved Most”.

10. A Great Meal-especially if it included fried shrimp…or any kind of shrimp.  I often think he was the inspiration behind the Bubba Gump character in the film “Forrest Gump”

9. A Great Deal-especially if it was a great deal on a great meal!  Randy was never cheap, but he always loved to get a great value-so he was a perfect fit for a job in promotional advertising.

8. Sports Fan-he loved all types of sports.  He loved to play sports and be a spectator.  He loved to “trash talk” about sports…he had a mind for sports trivia and intricate details.  He must have loved UVA’s NCAA basketball national championship and would have relished and rejoiced in Tiger Woods’ Masters victory comeback story.  He could have built amazing training from these team achievements and individual achievements-especially during this season of redemption and resurrection we know as Easter!

7. Loved to Organize Sports Events- For years he managed and played in The Virginian-Pilot’s basketball league which featured teams from every department.  He loved to organize an annual VPLS tennis tournament.  His sports events were great deals for participants, and they almost always featured great meals-shrimp! 

EXAMPLE: Tony Martinette Quote: “During my first year with The Pilot Randy encouraged me to sign up for the annual VP/LS tennis tournament.  He said it would be a great opportunity to meet some of the “big guys at The Pilot and LCI”.  Randy was responsible for developing the first-round match schedule and who do you think he scheduled me to play against in round 1-Frank Batten, SR!  For a 24-year old just starting to get started in his career, I’m saying to myself…do I do my best and try to win the match or do I put on a good show but tank the match in the end?  Well, I figure I should just do my best and I ended up winning the match.  I wonder if that’s why I’m writing this note from Shelbyville, KY?”

Postscript:  Tony is still with LCNI and in his 36th year of working with Landmark Publishing.  And on top of that, Tony has become a tournament level player and a member of a USTA league team that made the national USTA league tennis tournament last year (proving yet again that Randy’s transformational influence is enduring!).

6.  Lover of BHAGs-Big Hairy Audacious Goals-

·       Discover Hampton Roads special section-went from 20-page tab to 100+ pages with full color cover and inside double truck and TMC distribution.  Section ran for more than eight more years

·       PSR-Professional services registry

·       Coop advertising gang pages for VNG, VA Power, Stihl C/S, HVAC dealers of all makes

·       Coop Manager extraordinaire-remembering Randy’s outstanding and well-renown coop advertising seminars for advertisers.  Media General ad leaders annual conference.

5.  Lover of H.O.P.E-Helping Other People Excel

Consummate professional, landlord; sales manager; mentor; friend; role model; teacher; lunch buyer of shrimp (great meals for a great deal!).

4.  Lover of All People-Especially the Underprivileged-Volunteer and advocate for the needy

EXAMPLE:  NSU “Adjunct Professor of the Year”-Randy was honored with an amazing banquet and speakers included NSU President Marie McDermott, NSU Dean of Adjunct Faculty and a line of speakers of all ages and walks of life who lined up at the steps of the dais to give their tribute one-by-one.  There were several students and several of his tenants.  You see, Randy was a bit of an entrepreneur and in addition to his demanding and successful career at VP/LS he also was a NSU adjunct professor and he and Raynelle owned a number of rental houses.  Randy would sometimes tell me that be thought it was important to maintain his ability to “make change” at VP/LS and to “make change” on the side too-and then he’d wink.  On that night, I realized perhaps for the first time that “making change” for Randy had nothing to do with making money.  You see, for great people like Randy, “meaning means more than money”.

Postscript:  Randy ended his brief, and humble acceptance speech that night by reading one of his favorite scriptures about the power of love in “making change” and giving hope to other people’ lives. I’ll close my remarks today with the same scripture that he closed with then.

3. Lover of his Staff and of his Former Staff-consummate advocate for his people-forever.  And again, his influence endures the test of time.

EXAMPLE: Mike Herron Quote: “My 38-year career with Pilot Media was blessed mainly because it started with reporting to Randy Hargrave, who taught me to put the needs of others first.  He took me under his arm, and from then on treated me like his brother.  My admiration for him is unbounded.  He was an absolute gem of a man, and his broad talents were only exceeded by his big heart!”

2. A Legendary Family Man-Loved his kids and his wife, Raynelle.  Talked about them for over almost 40 years of knowing him.  Loved his kids’ successes, his wife’s courage and support.

EXAMPLE:  Mike’s and my visit with Randy at his home a few weeks ago…

1. A Lover of Scripture and his God-Build on the story of last visit-scripture, trust in God’s will and stories of his family (Raynelle, Kenesha and Michael) and their courage and unwavering support throughout his recent health ordeal, using scripture as context for all his remarks.

So, with great humility and love, I close my remarks today with the same scripture that Randy closed his final remarks with at the unforgettable tribute ceremony at NSU more than twenty years ago.  I believe he would say that he loved this scripture about love:


Matthew 25:34-40


34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’


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