James Randall “Randy” Shanks, 71, of Mobile, AL, entered the presence of his Heavenly Father on March 16, 2020, peacefully surrounded by family. Randy is survived by his sister, Beverly Jones, daughter Meredith Shanks Jones and son-in-law Luke Jones. He also leaves behind two grandchildren, Dylan Jones and Kinley Jones, as well his former spouse, Marilyn Shanks and brother-in-law David Gunn. He is preceded in death by his father and mother, James “Jimmy” William Shanks and Winnie Merle Ward Shanks, and brother Tracy Shanks.
Randy was a decorated military veteran, serving in the Vietnam War with Company H, 75th Army Rangers attached to the 1st Cav, Air Mobile from 1967 to 1973. For his bravery and service, he was awarded a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge Air Medal.
Born and raised in Hattiesburg, MS, Randy graduated from Hattiesburg High, and proudly earned his Bachelors of Communications from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1974. His passion for Southern Miss was contagious, and over the years this passion was handed down and ultimately sparked our family legacy of USM graduates. He was a proud lifetime member of the USM Alumni Association and formerly served as President of the local Mobile County USM Alumni Association chapter, participating in as many alumni events as possible. He rarely missed a football game, was always the loudest fan in the stands and especially enjoyed competing in the USM golf tournaments. Randy’s heart truly did bleed black and gold.
Randy had a strong work ethic, traveling all over the Southeastern US as a sales and service representative for industrial supplies. He never met a stranger and was well respected among colleagues and acquaintances alike. When away from the job, Randy enjoyed golf, fishing, carpentry, gardening and anything that meant spending time with those he loved. His greatest loves and joy of his life were his two grandchildren, Dylan and Kinley Jones and his daughter, Meredith Shanks Jones.
Randy was a devout Christian and loyal family man. His love for children was a prominent theme throughout his life. In college, he and Marilyn served as youth pastors of Main Street United Methodist Church. Many of his youth group were still in contact with him until his death. Through the years, he continued his dedication to serve God as a Sunday School teacher, Children’s Church leader, girls’ softball coach and community event volunteer for various children’s activities. Randy not only ensured that his daughter was raised in a Godly church-going home, but he actually lived his life as an example of how Christ wants us to live. He was a man of bravery, honor, love, respect, character, humility, generosity and sacrifice and he will be greatly missed by all who had the honor of knowing him.
A celebration of his life will be held this Friday, August 14, 2020 at Mobile Memorial Gardens Funeral Home in Mobile, AL from 12:00pm – 1:30pm. Interment of Ashes with full Military Honors will be subsequently held at the Alabama VA Memorial Cemetery in Spanish Fort, AL at 2:30pm. Please join us in honoring the love, life and legacy of Randy Shanks.
To honor Randy's memory, please donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in lieu of flowers. He specifically asked for this and I know that any donations sent to St. Jude in his memory would fill his heart with joy.
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