Randall F. Harrell, Sr.

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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WEST POINT, VA – Randall (Randy) Forehand Harrell, Sr., formerly of Colerain, NC, passed away on June 17, 2023 in West Point, VA, at the age of 80.

To many, he was a favorite teacher, coach, or friend, and to his family, he was the best father and grandfather one could ask for. He was born on August 23, 1942, on his beloved farm in Bertie County, North Carolina, to the late Sibyl Forehand Harrell and Joseph Armster Harrell, Sr. After graduating from Colerain High School, he earned a BS in Physical Education from Frederick College in 1965, where he excelled in football.

Upon graduation, Dad taught history, geography, and physical education and coached football, basketball, baseball, and tennis in the Suffolk County (Forest Glen HS) and Newport News Public School Systems (Warwick HS). After leaving the teaching profession, Dad sold brick and other building materials in Williamsburg, VA. It was during this time that Dad formed many lasting relationships with builders and masons who knew that his word was his bond, and a handshake was just as meaningful as a signed contract.

Dad enjoyed many hobbies, most notably bird and duck hunting, gardening, woodworking, painting and photography, and working on his family farm, which gave him great joy and allowed him to always feel connected to the land and his parents and brothers. However, he found his greatest delights in spending time with his children and grandchildren and supporting them in the classroom, in athletics, and in their careers. He was always present to offer advice and guidance whenever needed and never ended a conversation or visit without saying “I love you,” especially after the Long Harrell Goodbye.

Dad was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Wesley Paul Harrell (Betty Lou) and Joseph Armster Harrell, Jr. (Joyce); and daughter-in-law, Elissa Earl Harrell.

He is survived by his loving children, Sibyl Harrell Wilson (Len) of West Point, VA; Randall Forehand Harrell, Jr. (Erica) of Hickory, NC; and Joseph Armster Harrell, II (Kathleen) of Hanover, VA. Dad loved his children-in-law as if they were his own, and he had a very special relationship with Len, who was truly a third son to him and whose caring for and devotion to was unmatched. He is also survived by his devoted grandchildren, John B. Murray, III, William H. Murray (Lauren), Margaret L. Wilson, Ryan C. Wilson (Brittney and daughter Amelia), Randall F. Harrell, III, Sarah Jane Harrell, Sibyl C. Harrell, J. Henry Harrell, Aidan H. Ross, Finnan K. Ross, and one beautiful great granddaughter, Tupper Grey Murray to all of whom he was a cheerleader, a coach, a comedian, a confidant, a magician, a mentor, a tap dancer and, most importantly, a friend. They will miss his warm smile, strong hug, humorous stories, and thoughtful messages. Furthermore, he is survived by a host of nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved dearly. The family would also like to thank Thomas Harrell, Brad Brown, and John Harrell for their years of friendship to our father.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2023 at 1 p.m. at Hillcrest Cemetery in Colerain, North Carolina, with the Rev. Gary Saffell officiating. Funeral arrangements were made by Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service in Ahoskie, NC.

In lieu of flowers, we ask that you please make a donation directly to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105; or the NC Wildlife Federation, 1024 Washington Street, Raleigh, NC, 27605; or you may donate online by visiting www.tmcfunding.com/search; type Randall Harrell.