As an only child and first grandchild, Randi was loved by all. She was surrounded and mentored by adults as an only child. As soon as she could talk she would do almost anything to maintain the attention of those that mentored her. Randi forever smiled and always sent the message of happiness and love for her life.
Randi loved Winnie the Pooh and stuff bears. As a child she tap danced, twirled the baton, and was the champion tumbler in her gymnastics class. She earned a number of badges as a Brownie and Girl Scout, and was a 4-H’er. She played and practiced playing her flute from fourth until twelfth grade. She loved to play board games, loved to dance, and cherished her Winnie the Pooh collection.
I especially remember how she loved musicals. She would march around the room and sing to the ballads of the “Music Man”, danced with John Travolta in “Grease” and with Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. She would cry when she sang the words to “best friends” with Bette Midler in the movie “Beaches”. No one would drive her attention from those movies. This was Randi’s comfort zone.
We were a team, and my plans always included my daughter. I kept my promise to her that I would take her away from the physical, mental, and verbal abuse that she witnessed for so many years as a child. We struggled as a single parent family. Money was scarce. Although my parents were always there to support me, I was determined to make it right on my own. I got a job with the state, worked a part-time job and went to school at night.
When Randi was in the fourth grade, she became very interested in singing and wanting to play an instrument like many of her fellow students. I always wanted her to play the piano, but she was determined to follow in my footsteps and play the flute as I did many years ago in school. She practiced every day and was determined to place well in the concert and marching bands in school.
In ninth grade, Randi attended Trinity High School, a private Catholic high school in Camp Hill. It was there she transitioned into becoming a very serious student. She changed her study habits and excelled in her studies. She challenged herself in leadership roles and was involved in school plays, chorus, and the marching band. She tried out and got the position as drum major and held that position for three years at Trinity High School. She even went on to compete for the Harrisburg Brass and Drum Core drum major.
As Randi matured, she realized even more so how much we supported each other. We both looked at our education as our success. I finished my graduate studies at Penn State in 1991 after going to school at night for 15 years. Randi’s goal was to go to college and secure a stable job. I worked two or three jobs to support her education at Bloomsburg University where she studied speech therapy. Randi never neglected her responsibilities to her education. She did not see the partying scene as something she wanted to partake in. Randi never let me down.
It was tough for both of us when Randi went to college. I worried about Randi, and she worried more about me being alone. We would talk to each other once or twice a day. That open communication line between mother and daughter helped us to support and grow together.
Randi continued her love for music as the drum major at Bloomsburg University for three years. Music complemented her studies and increased her self-esteem. Randi maintained a GPA of 3.8 and then received a full scholarship for graduate school at Bloomsburg University and graduated in 1999.
Randi’s love to practice speech therapy grew. She loved performing research and getting involved in panel discussions. She met her goal to work with children and completed an internship at Hershey Medical Center. After a few years working at the Knights of Columbus Homes and expanding her knowledge base, she landed a full-time position at the Hershey Medical Center.
Randi’s work ethic was exactly what I taught her…work hard and work smart. It was nothing for her to work two to three jobs during the summers through college. Her goal was to maintain a financial cushion for her upcoming marriage. She bought her first home on her own at the age of twenty-five. Her dream of finding her knight in shining armor came true. She married in September 2000 after a five-year courtship. Unfortunately, a dream came to an end when her husband planned her murder about the same time they were trying to start a family.