July 1, 1949 - June 2, 2020
Well mom, today is the day that you read your name in the paper as you are reading the obituaries and sipping your coffee (unless of course it’s the Chronicle you are reading in which case it is Thursday and the only night of the week that you would stay up five minutes after you finished eating supper in order to read the obituaries to see if anyone you knew had died). I will try to not take up the whole page because I know how you hated a “brag session,” but mom I don’t know how to start but once I do I don’t know how it could ever end because the wonders of you could fill pages. I love you mom and I hope you are sitting down and reading this and that for once your mug of instant coffee that you don’t know why you drink actually tastes good.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved mother, Alice Randall of Troy. Alice was a wonderful mother, a good friend, and as countless people have said the hardest working person you could ever meet. She was a dairy farmer through and through and to me she was the definition of a farmer and she showed me that yes, a woman could be a farmer and she could excel at it too. You do not need to be a man to be a farmer, my guidance counselor in grade school may have tried to say otherwise but mom showed it clearly that that was not the case and that my dream of becoming a farmer could become a reality.
Alice was born July 1, 1949, to Alton and Elsie Gilman of Lyndonville, Vt. The fifth of six children, Alice was raised on a dairy farm and this is what set the trajectory of her life. While there were many domestic pursuits being taught in her home growing up and Alice enjoyed knitting and spent hours doing it (the only time she could sit was when she was knitting especially her socks that she knit for her kids, grandkids, or any child she thought needed a pair of socks) her true love was being in the barn working at her father’s side.
On September 3, 1971, Alice married Dexter Randall and the following year their daughter Lisa was born and would be raised to be a second mother to the siblings that were to come and then an excellent mother and teacher to her own children. Shortly after this they started renting a dairy farm in Sheffield, Vt., where they went on to welcome two more children, Justin, who ended up taking on the role of a grown man long before he was grown and then 19 months later Jordan, the boy who never wanted his mother to work alone and stayed until he knew others were old enough to fill the gap.
In 1978 when Jordan was 2 months old they moved to Troy, Vt., to the farm that would become Alice’s home and her life for the next 42 years. Another child would be welcomed, Irene a daughter much to the delight of Lisa who so wished for a sister but was always her mother’s little girl and happily farmed at her mothers side to the very last day and then finally Jason, born on their wedding anniversary to round the family out at five children, he was her baby whether she wanted him to be babied or not. This was the last of the birth children but not the last of the kids that mom would consider family for along would come Travis and then Tyler Judd who mom thought of as her own and they in turn called mom their second mom. But that was mom, opening her door and heart (and freezer and all its ice cream) to any and all children who came and treating them as if they were her own.
What a kind and loving way that she treated children too for her love of children and her incredible in my mind patience with children was evident in her actions with a child. She loved you and treated you with such kindness but also knew how to lay down the law because she may have been small but you were NOT going to run over the top of that woman. You best not back talk her, I learned that quickly in watching my older brother with her and while she may have swore like a sailor when a cow slapped her with a dirty tail or kicked her you better not do so yourself or you would have your mouth washed out with soap. Never tasted it myself but I always thought Ivory soap looked disgusting to eat regardless if a certain brother said yum yum as his mouth was scrubbed clean! There was never any fear of mom though, for as tough as she could be she was a softy and you knew that she loved you and you could go to her and talk about anything. And talk we did as we worked with her side by side because no matter what, mom would not sit by and watch you work instead she would work with you and together you would get whatever job on the farm done. She never could sit while someone else worked. Never.
She took time off for childbirth if milking cows while in labor and returning to the barn the next day with her new infant could be considered taking time off and she did have a couple of vacations in her life and as she aged a few days here and there for illnesses. She literally had to be in a hospital bed sick in order for her to not work. Except for one time in her life that is, she did stay away from the farm for a day as she sat by her dearest friend Mary Judd as she lay in a hospital bed and she stayed with her until the very end. But Mary was family for the Judd family was all family to her and she loved Mary and she was not going to be anywhere else. Alice continued to work on the farm seven days a week with her alarm going off at 4:00 a.m right up until her last day. She was the first one up and to the barn and if Justin ever beat her there it would not happen the next morning I will tell you because she would be up at 3:45 and gone. Her feet would hit the floor and you knew it because she was off and moving. You were not going to keep her from that barn even as she aged and had the sore joints and aching body of a woman who had worked hard all her life.
Her granddaughter Ava tried to give her some rest as she milked side by side with her these last few years and oh how she loved milking with Ava. Such pride in her granddaughter and the fact that she was milking those cows and working with her and such happiness that it brought. She knew Ava could milk those cows and she talked about how great she was at it but she would never go and mow her lawn or heaven forbid take a nap and let Ava milk all those cows for her. But I think the joy she received from milking with Ava was better for her than any rest could ever have been. For her grandchildren gave her such joy each and every one of them.
Garrett the oldest and his love of everything old and especially the love of “junk” delighted her for she could never throw anything out. If you need a watch part I’m certain she could find one and any size screw or nut or the parts to eyeglasses or just random things that could fill drawers and drawers and did. Then there was Ava and all the joy she brought in the barn and elsewhere helping her make Christmas wreaths because yes, there is nothing that Alice couldn’t do. And Olivia and the delights she brought with her deciding she could do it and feed those calves and be her Uncle Justin and Aunt I’s helper so maybe Grammy could “retire”. Oh how Olivia brought laughter too, especially the day Grammy hid in the pantry to surprise Olivia as she rushed in to go straight for the fruit roll ups. (Speaking of hiding, we are now thinking of you Mike and you know what we mean!) Then there was Sam her first grandson with the Randall name. Oh Sam, how Grammy loved you and having you ride with her in the tractor as she put up your cows feed. She made certain I packed plenty of oatmeal cream pies in her lunch because you and your brothers were going to get one. She also loved your hugs even if she did sometimes think you may knock her off her feet in your exuberance. Michael, she talked about you much and how you rode with her as she chopped grass here and you jabbered away about the muddy field she was on. She also talked about how much you reminded her of your uncle Jordan with the mischievous twinkle in your eye and she talked about how serious you could be and how great your drawings were.
Daniel, you were little Daniel to her even as you shot up so rapidly. Then suddenly it was how did he grow up so fast? Especially after the night that you decided that you would help her milk. Then there is Gabe and how tiny you are but how fast you can move. Am I right? And your talking, boy when Gabe started in he really got going. Such a cute little one and the little one in the family you were until the recent birth of Joseph. Mom was so looking forward to meeting Joseph and to hold him and she was so happy that Jordan and Alaina had a little baby. I know she would have adored Joseph and having him here and oh how she was looking forward to loving on him. I will make certain he knows all about you mom. Alice also loved being a mother-in-law though I believe she considered herself mom to Maurice, Ashley, and Alaina. She did have a special relationship with her son-in-law Maurice with whom countless hours were spent laughing. She never forgot the time we all took turns sitting on the hot radiator in Lisa’s room in a competition to see who could outlast the other and how Maurice could not believe that her backside wasn’t getting hot as his was burning up. Oh how we laughed when she stood and it was discovered that a thick catalog had been slipped in her pants! That was mom though making you laugh and feel part of the family even if she just met you, right Alaina? Or treating you like her own child and helping you when you needed it by listening and giving her advice.
Alice was super woman to us all for she could do anything and she did. From hefting those heavy square bales into the wagon like they weighed nothing to driving a tractor for hours on the bunk or being in one of the big John Deere’s that she so loved and chopping the feed. And she did it with a smile upon her face because she was doing what she loved. She would be telling me now that the past is the past and there is no reason to dwell on it. Her death was a tragic accident and we must see that and move on and honor her legacy and take care of the farm. Her shoes are huge shoes to fill and one person can not do it because she was one of a kind but together we will all work and try. Alice was a hero to many (and it shocked her to hear you thought of her as your hero and that you admired her so Laini) and she was a hero to me. She could never see it though and she would say she could never see how we could be so smart with her as a mother. It always pained me that she couldn’t see herself as the rest of us did. I hope you do now mom and I know, its time for me to end this now because it is looking dangerously like a brag session in your eyes. I love you mom, please know we all do and that we will take care of this farm and fight to make it even better than it is today if that could be possible. We had the best teacher though and we will remember and live the way you taught us.
Alice is survived by Dexter, and their children: Lisa Guillette and Maurice, Justin Randall, Jordan Randall and Alaina, Irene Randall, and Jason Randall and Ashley. She is also survived by eight grandchildren: Garrett, Ava, and Olivia Guillette. Samuel, Michael, Daniel, and Gabriel Randall and by Joseph Randall. Alice is also survived by three sisters: Bonnie Francis and Terry, Betty Lund, and Susan LaBree and Robert. She is also survived by her sister-in-laws Judy Gilman, Carolyn Gadapee whom she loved like a sister and Patricia Jaquith as well as her brother-in-law Walt Bickford. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews with a special mention of Kelly Ingalls and by many cousins as well. She leaves behind her special extended family members, The Judd Family as well as her son-in-law’s parents Gary and Evelyn Guillette with whom they shared a love for those first-born grandchildren. Alice was predeceased by her parents Alton and Elsie Gilman, her father and mother-in-law Edward and June Randall, a brother William Gilman, a sister Barbara Bickford and her brother-in-law Paul Gadapee Sr.
Funeral services will be held at a later date.
On-line condolences at curtis-britch.com. Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Curtis-Britch & Bouffard Funeral Home, locally family owned and operated.