Randolph Lewis, Sr., was born October 30, 1927, in Hughesville, Missouri, to Richard Daniel Lewis and Marie Dolby Lewis. He was the youngest of 6 siblings (George, Maudelle, Larkin, Everett, and Leroy), all of whom preceded him in death.
Randolph’s family owned a hog farm in Hughesville until moving to Sedalia, Missouri, in 1932. He was baptized at Taylor Chapel Methodist Church, and graduated from Lincoln Elementary and Lincoln High School in Sedalia. Joining the army in 1946 after graduating, Randolph served as a telephone lineman during his two years of service. Shortly afterwards, he followed his sister, Maudelle, to Chicago and stayed with their Aunt Maude Gray. Randolph and Maudelle credited their aunt for bringing them to Chicago. For a short time, he worked at the US Post Office before being hired by the Chicago Transit Authority as a bus driver in 1950. He married Clara Beatrice Lofton in 1954, and together they had three boys.
During this time, Randolph earned his carpentry certification after taking night classes at Dunbar High School. He began working as a self-employed carpenter, and was committed to excellence, as evidenced by his receiving requests for his carpentry work well into his eighties, many, many years after he had ceased working for clients.
Randolph retired from CTA after driving for 32 years, during which he was the recipient of the Million Mile Award, having driven 1,000,000 miles with no accidents. Up until 1980, when he was honored, only 155 out of 5,000 bus drivers had ever been eligible for this award.
Randolph joined Avalon Park Community Church in 1965 and served in many roles, notably as a church Trustee for more than 35 years. He generously volunteered his carpentry services to both the church and many of its members for decades.
Amazingly, while working at his two careers, Randolph found time to join the Diamond Squares, the group that introduced him to square dancing during its annual square dances at Avalon Park Church. Randolph had an engaging smile that he used to charm the fairer sex, and a love of the Lincoln Town Car above all other cars.
Randolph was fiercely independent and industrious, working as a carpenter during the day, and driving for CTA during the night. He taught his three sons carpentry skills, and the importance of hard work and achievement. He began buying residential properties in the 1960s, which he maintained himself until three years ago, shortly before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; many of the garages of these properties were filled with the tools and materials of his trade.
He is survived by his sons, Randolph, Jr., Ronald (MaryPaul), and Roderick (Arlene); his nephews, nieces, and church family.
Randolph will be remembered for his trustworthiness. His word was his honor.
Chicago, IL 60649
Chicago, Illinois 60619
Evergreen Park, IL 60805