Sunday, February 19, 2012

McKercher John Randall (1872-1918)

Portrait from the Iowa Red Book, 1917-18 edition.

   A one term member of the Iowa State house of Representatives, McKercher J. "Mac" Randall was born on May 17, 1872 in Hartland, Iowa, being the son of John and Almeda Randall. The Randall family removed to Nebraska in the year following their son's birth, and returned to Iowa in 1879. "Mac", as he was familiarly known, attended schools local to the Worth County area and went on to study at several colleges, including the Iowa State College in Ames, the Cornell University in Mt. Vernon and University at Iowa City. 
   Randall earned his law degree from the last named school in 1901 and opened a law practice in the town of Lisbon, practicing here for several years. He would also serve a term as Mayor of Lisbon beginning in 1905. He married Katharine Stahl (1870-1970) in February 1897 and this union produced two sons, John David and Milo, the latter dying nine years before his fatherMcKercher Randall's obituary in the Lisbon Herald gives note that he was engaged as a minister for the United Evangelical Church while residing in Lisbon, and that "he was strength in itself in this profession, being deep and ready in the pulpit and tactful and sympathetic in the pastorate."
   Mac Randall left Lisbon in 1908 and soon after resettled in Cedar Rapids. He established another law practice here and also became active in civic affairs in that city, serving as the president of the Cedar Rapids school board and later was the grand master of the grand lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows from 1914-1915. 
    In November 1916 Mac Randall won election as a Republican to the Iowa State House of Representatives from Linn County, being one of two representatives from that county to be elected that year. Taking his seat at the start of the 1917 session, Randall sat on the committees on Commerce and Trade, Judiciary, the State University, Public Utilities, Municipal Corporations, Labor and the Soldier's Home.
   With a bright future in state government before him, Randall's service in the state legislature was cut short by his death on May 9, 1918, shortly before his 46th birthday. His obituary lists the cause of his demise as an attack of apoplexy, and that he "passed away two hours later". His sudden passing was acknowledged in the following assessment given by his fellow legislators shortly after his death:
"As a member of the legislature he was always ready to listen, to investigate, to discuss, and to give and take when it was fair and right, but never willing to comprise with wrong. He was an untiring worker and a man of broad vision and generous sympathies, and he easily ranked as one of the ablest and most popular members of the House of Representatives."
   McKercher J.Randall was subsequently interred in the Lisbon Cemetery in Lisbon, Iowa. He was survived by his son John and wife Katharine, who died in 1970 at the age of 100.
  
           This picture of McKercher J. Randall appeared in his obituary in the Lisbon Herald in May 1918.

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