Reverend C. Corydon Randall
January 22, 1935 – April 16, 2021
The Rev. Chandler Corydon “Cory” Randall was born on January 22, 1935, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the son of the late Frederick Stewart and Leta Madeline (Snow) Randall. He grew up in Kalamazoo and in Duluth, MN, but he returned to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan on a baseball scholarship. Despite full time work and active membership in Chi Psi, he somehow managed to carry a full load of classes, earning an A.B. in History in 1957. He then studied for the priesthood in the Episcopal Church at Berkeley Divinity School (later part of the Yale Divinity School), obtaining an S.T.B. degree in 1960 and later an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Yale in 1985. He was ordained a deacon by Bishop Crowley in 1960 and a priest in 1961. Randall met his future wife, Marian Archias Montgomery, while he was a seminary student at Yale and she was an undergraduate at Cornell. He was fond of recounting that story, telling over and over of the moment when he walked across the room to introduce himself, feeling as though he’d been struck by lightning, not even able to feel his feet on the ground, already certain that this was “the one.” He did manage to get a date later that weekend, and they married on July 2, 1960, just days after his ordination. Years later, when asked in a job interview for St. Peter’s, Del Mar, what his greatest asset was, he responded, “My wife.” After sixty years of marriage, he was still eager to affirm that assessment. Following ordination, he and Marian moved to Cincinnati, OH, where he entered Hebrew Union - Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, earning a Ph.D. in 1969. His time there gave him a deep grounding in Old Testament studies and a strong sense of ecumenism between Judaism and Christianity. Between 1960 and 1965, he was curate of Grace Episcopal Church in College Hill, Cincinnati, Ohio, where he served an apprenticeship under its rector, the Rev. LeRoy Hall. The latter instilled in him an appreciation for a lay-empowered parish and the so-called commission system, through which members of the congregation had a voice in church governance. It would become the hallmark of his career. From 1964 to 1966 he was priest-in-charge of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Addyston, Ohio. He enjoyed his work with the Cincinnati Community Action Committee during these years as well. Randall moved his family to Richmond, Indiana, to serve as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church from 1967 to 1971, during which time he was an assistant professor of Old Testament Studies at Earlham College. There, putting the lay ministry program in place, he increased attendance dramatically, encouraged charismatic involvement in church work, and invited a variety of community groups to use its facilities. Working in civil rights towards eliminating redlining was of particular importance to him. After earning a regional reputation as a reformer and leader, Randall received a call to become rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Wayne in 1971. As he had at Richmond, he transformed the ministry of the church, creating commissions, inviting lay participation and women to serve on its vestry and preach from its pulpit. He welcomed girls to serve as acolytes, and he opened the communion rail to all baptized Christians, saying, “This is God’s altar; it does not belong to Episcopalians.” Randall worked to build the endowments of the church. He entered the building on the National Register of Historic Places, the first church in Fort Wayne to be so designated. He undertook two extensive restorations of the structure. He invited Homebound Meals to have an office there, and he also hosted many guest lecturers who helped initiate many ministries, including healing services. He was also involved extensively in the Diocese of Northern Indiana, chairing its Commission on Ministry from 1973 to 1987 and also serving in Diocesan Council and the Greater Cathedral Chapter. During his time in Fort Wayne, Randall volunteered in many ways to the community. He served on the Board of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Fine Arts Foundation, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, and the Quest Club. He added to these duties by agreeing to serve as Commissioner of the Fort Wayne Parks Commission, the Indiana Criminal Justice Planning Committee, the Indiana State Judicial Qualifications Commission, and president of the Fort Wayne City Plan Commission. While on the Parks board, he and others were instrumental in creating Johnny Appleseed Park and developing the trail system known as the Rivergreenway. He insisted that the Ewing Street Bridge over the St. Mary’s River be widened to allow for pedestrian traffic. In 1977, he was instrumental with others in founding Canterbury School, which met initially in the classroom buildings of the church. His family recalls those early years as an exciting, challenging time together; in fact, the 1979-1980 school year saw all three daughters in attendance and Marian on the faculty, with Cory just around the corner in the office. In 1988, Randall left Fort Wayne to become rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar, California, serving until 2000. While there, he led the expansion of its Parish Hall, and added a library, nursery, and youth room. He and his wife retired to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he served as Theologian-in-Residence at Christ Church Cranbrook before returning to Fort Wayne in 2012, becoming Rector Emeritus of Trinity Church and teaching classes on the Old Testament. As a life-long enthusiastic supporter of the University of Michigan, Randall helped to recruit players for its sports teams, later conducting both the second marriage and the funeral of his long-time friend, Bo Schembechler. He was also an avid genealogist, a strong supporter of the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library, and he delighted in identifying distant cousins among his friends. For a time, he served as national chaplain of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. He led many pilgrimages to the Holy Land, had deep knowledge of its historic sites, and had friendships among the Orthodox clergy and patriarchs there. He was also widely known within the national Episcopal Church for his extensive circle of friends and contacts, his ecumenical work, and his leadership in implementing lay-empowered ministry in the parishes he served. When revisions were underway to the Book of Common Prayer in the 1970s, he and another priest were responsible for reworking the language of the Decalogue, especially the third commandment, “You shall not invoke with malice the Name of the Lord your God.” He joked that he and God shared co-authorship. Randall is survived by his wife, Marian; his daughters, the Rev. Sr. Sarah Randall, SSM of Duxbury, MA, Elizabeth (Patrick) Delaney of Fort Wayne, and Rebekah Randall of Mishawaka; grandchildren, Corey, Carter (Sarah), Riley, and Molley Delaney; great-grandchildren, Liam and Charlotte Delaney; brother, Stewart (Emily); many nieces, nephews; and Godchildren. He was also preceded in death by his brother, Harry (Lillian). A private service will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, May 1, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Wayne, IN, which will be livestreamed on the church’s YouTube channel, https://youtu.be/h2x5Las3Hn4. Interment will be in Sedalia, MO, and a public celebration of life will be held in Fort Wayne at a later date.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Reverend C. Corydon Randall
May 7, 2021
A dedicated priest and wonderful colleague. I shall miss his presence -- my memory of his remarkable teaching and preaching will linger forever. So long, my friend.
May 4, 2021
I was fortunate to spend some time working for the Randall's. I will remember fondly Father Randall's great sense of humor and great stories. He bought a lot of my daughter's girl scout cookies and would tease me about bringing more, even when he knew they weren't in season. I'm certain I will think of him every time I see GS cookies and smile.
May 1, 2021
My thoughts and prayers are with Father Randall and his family. He was a major part of the lives of my parents and me as members of Trinity Episcopal. Sending our Love, John & Lisa Sinks
April 28, 2021
We send our most sincere sympathy to Marien and family. It was my great fortune to have worked with Cory while he served on the Park Board. A loss to the entire community.
April 27, 2021
Cory, into paradise May the angels lead you. Jonathan+ and Nancy Irey-Sams
April 27, 2021
I am so sorry to hear of Cory’s passing. He truly helped me through some very rough times in the past
Love to the family
Nina Sutton Sperry
April 19, 2021
My condolences on the death of Cory. We worked on the board of directors of the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research years ago. I have only fond memories of Cory and the positive influence he had on the DSGR and his relationships with other people.
April 19, 2021
The Society of Mayflower Descendants in Michigan offers prayers and condolences for Cory's family. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Cory was a strong Governor and Historian of our society and immensely proud of his ties to Mayflower families. He helped many applicants prove their Mayflower lineage, provided leadership with grace and aplomb, and mentored many.
April 19, 2021
Please accept the condolences of the Oakland County Genealogical Society and its membership. We received a message of Cory's passing and remember his support for the society and genealogy in the SE Michigan community. Many of our members are also members of the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research and we note that he was also a guiding force in that society as well. His contributions and support of the genealogical and family history community will be greatly missed. And we offer our prayers and sympathy to the entire family.