While Ruth Frances Randall never formally obtained a teaching degree, she was a natural in that field and through her work she touched the lives of countless children and adult students in York County.

Mrs. Randall served for many years as an aide in the Sanford schools and in the city’s Head Start program. She was the longtime head of Christian education at North Parish Congregational Church in Sanford.

In retirement she volunteered in the schools and tutored students in her home.

Mrs. Randall also taught crafts to adults, and she was particularly skilled at sewing.

“Her patience was probably the thing she was best known for,” said Nancy Harnett, the oldest of Mrs. Randall’s seven children.

Mrs. Randall died Aug. 6 at the Greenwood Center in Sanford. She was 87. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Thursday at the North Parish Congregational Church.

Harnett said her mother was able to balance her many interests and activities while raising seven children, and keeping her sense of humor along the way. She had a quick wit that she passed on to her children.

“She had four very lovely girls and three very naughty boys,” Harnett quipped.

Mrs. Randall and the man she would later marry, Emerson Earl Randall, grew up together in North Berwick and married in 1943.

Mr. Randall served during World War II in the Army Air Force.

He made his career as a control room operator at Schiller Station for New Hampshire Public Service Co. in Portsmouth, N.H. He died in 2005.

From their home on Mount Hope Road in Sanford, Mrs. Randall often led her children and their friends on adventures into the woods. She was a lover of nature and was an avid bird-watcher.

“That is the reason today that I can identify bird songs. She taught them all to us,” Harnett said.

Mrs. Randall was involved on the local and national levels of the Audubon Society. She was a member of the Bluebird Society and the Jocelyn Botanical Society.

Mrs. Randall also loved to travel.

Through Elderhostel, Mr. and Mrs. Randall enjoyed several trips around the world, including trips to the Caribbean, South America, Scotland and Ireland, Newfoundland and various spots in Canada. During a 10-year period in which Harnett and her husband lived in Alaska, Mr. and Mrs. Randall visited them four times.

The large extended family will miss traditional get-togethers at Mrs. Randall’s home, her daughter said. Mrs. Randall prepared the main dishes and gave out assignments to other family members. Often there would be 30 people at Easter and Thanksgiving dinners.

“Everyone who didn’t have a place to go, she would invite them,” Harnett said. “She was a giving person. Constantly giving.”


Staff writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.