Randall Kent Bland, 66, of Blackjack, , passed away at his home Saturday, July 18, 2020, while members of his family sang “Beulah Land.” He was born July 10, 1954, in Humansville, the third son of Ewing Joseph and Lena Jane (Sumner) Bland. His two brothers, Lacel and Dwight, were 20 and 15 years older than him.
Randy grew up in the fields of Blackjack, working on the family farm and making memories with his cousins, Kathy and Karen. He worked for local rancher, Charlie Vilhauer, before going to work at the Beam Factory as a teenager. He attended and graduated from Fort Scott Christian Heights in 1972. He then went one semester to Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, before transferring to Kansas City College and Bible School in Overland Park, KS.
While at KCCBS, he met Iris Simpson, the love of his life. They were married Aug. 9, 1974, at Gregory Hills Church of God (Holiness) in Kansas City, MO. Randy often liked to say that President Nixon would have come to the ceremony if he hadn’t been so busy that day. Randy and Iris were working on their forty-sixth year of marriage.
Randy brought Iris home to Blackjack, where he began to work with his father in the construction business. Before long, he built the beautiful home in which they have lived for the past forty-four years. Shortly before he died, he had begun working on plans for an addition to make room for the expanding family.
For the first several years of his marriage, he claimed that he didn’t want children, but he finally gave in and the rest was history. He ended up with six children and 14 grandchildren with two more on the way.
He took over his father’s construction business and worked at that for many years. During that time he was also running cattle on the family farm and owned a laundromat and carwash in Stockton with Don Moomaw for a few years. He later bought Hackleman & Sons Funeral Home in El Dorado Springs, MO, fulfilling a lifelong dream to become a funeral director. He also bought Brumback Funeral Home in Stockton. He poured his heart and soul into the funeral homes and was still making improvements on them up to the day he had his stroke.
Randy also was the pastor of a couple of small churches early in his life and continued in pulpit supply until the end. He believed that his work in the funeral business was an extension of this ministry.
He attended the Blackjack Church of God (Holiness), where his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents had all attended. He faithfully supported and served there, including as chairman of the church board. He also loved and served the wider Churches of God (Holiness), including time as the treasurer of Herriman Chapel Camp, which he attended as long as he could. He had been serving for many years on the board of Herald & Banner Press at the time of his death.
He loved sports, especially the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs. He went to countless games that his children played and occasionally was able to serve as coach. He also enjoyed playing softball, which he did into his late fifties in order to play with his sons. In the last game he played, he hit a game-tying triple in the final inning. He thought about trying to make it an inside the park homerun, but his oldest son, Randy, was coaching third and was ready to tackle him if he tried. He scored the winning run when the next batter got a single.
Randy was an avid coon hunter and turkey hunter. He loved coon hunting with his Dad, his brother, Lacel, his son, Travis, and his best friend, Bob Clouse. Many other cousins, nephews, and friends looked forward to going coon hunting with him. He also passed this passion on to some of his children. Later in life he developed a passion for turkey hunting. He never had to use a call, he just used his mouth. Even this year, when most people struggled to get one turkey, he bagged both of his birds.
Randy loved his family very much, though all the noise sometimes got the better of him. He was fond of saying that his two favorite times were seeing his grandchildren coming down the road to visit and seeing them going back down the road when they left. He also often said how blessed he was that all of his children lived so close to home.
His legacy is best seen in the fact that all of his children are following the same Jesus that he followed and are all actively involved in various forms of ministry in their local churches.
Preceding Randy in death were his parents, Ewing and Lena; his brother, Lacel; his sister-in-law, Barb; and his father and mother-in-law, Willis and Mary Simpson.
Survivors include his wife, Iris, of the home; his children: Randall J. Bland and wife, Mandi, Casandra Sayler and husband, Tysen, Travis Bland and wife, Lindsay, Trent Bland, Quinton Bland and wife, Leah, and Laurie Rapp and husband, Layne; 14 grandchildren – Paityn, Emma, Bella, Travis, Audrey, Daniel, Tyten, Eleanor, Karsen, Thaddeus, Sawyer, Lizzie, Sutton, and Josie, as well as two more on the way; his brother, Dwight Bland, of Cheyenne, WY; his aunt, Nadine Winters, of San Antonio, TX; sisters-in-laws – Earnestine Bland, of Reno, NV, Glenda Marrs, of El Dorado Springs, Laura Pegram, of Eudora, KS, and Becky Johansen and husband, Rodney, of Lawrence, KS; brother-in-law, Willis Simpson and wife, Elaine, of Mission, KS; nieces, Chrissy Scionti, of Reno, NV, and Denise Moreira, of Kansas City, KS, who both came to visit every summer; numerous other nieces and nephews; and too many cousins to count.
A funeral service will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, July 31, in the El Dorado Springs Church of God (Holiness) with Rev. Joe Dodson and Rev. Brent Bland officiating. The service will be live-streamed on the church YouTube channel and Facebook page. Music will be provided by David Henley, Faith Trussell, Jeremy Oehring and Curtis Biswell. Interment will follow at Love Cemetery under the direction of Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home.
Pallbearers will be: Randall J. Bland, Travis Bland, Trent Bland, Quinton Bland, Tysen Sayler and Layne Rapp. Honorary pallbearers will be: Dwight Bland, Bob Clouse, Willis Simpson, Rodney Johansen, Ralph Bland, Ronald Bland, Dwain Witt, Don Witt, Todd Leonard, Robin Fischer, Kenny Hubbard, Rusty Norval and Charles Cross.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 29, from 6-7 at Bland-Brumback Funeral Home in Stockton. A second visitation will be held on Thursday, July 30, from 6-7 at Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home in El Dorado Springs.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Herald & Banner Press and left at the funeral home.
Online condolences may be left at www.blandhackleman.com.