Randall (“Randy”) Scott McKeeman


Randall (“Randy”) Scott McKeeman, 68, of Alexandria, Virginia passed away on November 11, 2023 in Rochester, Minnesota, the place he called home for 30 years. He left this earth surrounded by loved ones. He was greatly touched by the kindness of so many people during his seven-month battle with cancer.

Born on June 3, 1955 in Norwood, Massachusetts, he was the third son of two Unitarian Universalist leaders, Rev. Dr. Gordon and Phyllis McKeeman. Randy spent most of his childhood near Akron, Ohio where he formed lifelong friendships. He was elected Class President of Revere High School and earned degrees from Miami University (Art Education) and Wheelock College (M.Ed – Child Life).

He met his wife of 43 years, Anita DeAngelis, in Connecticut and their marriage was built upon a strong base of mutual respect and trust, affection and laughter. They married in Bethesda, Maryland in 1980, subsequently moving to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1983, they moved to Newton, Massachusetts where their daughter Alanna was born in 1985. Their son Leland was born in 1990, while they lived near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Randy started his Child Life career at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and volunteered with the American Cancer Society’s children’s programs.  In 1991, they moved to Rochester, Minnesota.

Randy had a fulfilling career that included leading the Mayo Clinic’s Child Life Program for 24 years. In that time, he set the foundation for the program’s significant growth, extending education and life-enhancing services for children seeking medical care and their families. He was the President of the Association of Child Life Professionals from 2004 to 2006. Randy returned for five years to direct patient care at the new Proton Beam Center prior to retirement, working with children receiving cancer treatment. One of his patients famously said that he wanted to return to Mayo to “play at ‘Randy’s House’.” He kept his patients’ spirits up in difficult times by—among many other strategies—donning a tutu, using a “fart gun,” and hiding goldfish in IV bags. When faced with his own cancer diagnosis, he thought of the many children he had seen bravely battle cancer as his role models.

Randy’s career came second, however, to his family. He attended every milestone in his children’s lives and they always knew he loved them unconditionally. In 2021, he and Anita moved to Virginia and experienced much joy from time spent with grandchildren Isla (3 years old) and Hugo (18 months). He also created a “chosen family” of friends and was a godfather and honorary grandpa to several more kids.

Randy was stubbornly determined, evidenced by the 13 marathons he completed. In 2009, he ran the Boston Marathon, a long-time goal. He served the running community through the Rochester Track Club, organizing water stops and cheering on his teammates. He also enjoyed hiking, playing tennis, traveling, and origami. In his short retirement, he enjoyed yard work and home improvement, volunteering at INOVA Children’s Hospital, winning in fantasy football, and camping in his teardrop trailer.

Randy believed in the importance of gratitude and kindness—taking time to practice daily—as well as the principles of his UU faith. He saw the importance of finding joy in ways large and small. To situations that frustrated others, he brought a perspective based on remarkable compassion and grace.

Randy provided a written statement for the 50th reunion of his Revere High School class, which contained his life lessons:

  • The important things in life are not things.
  • Life is meant to be enjoyed.
  • Happiness is linked to strong ties to friends and family.

He is survived by Anita, daughter Alanna McKeeman (Kevin Sigwart) of Washington, DC, son Leland McKeeman (Cherie) of Anchorage, AK, grandchildren Isla and Hugo, brothers Bruce (Georjean) McKeeman of Prescott, AZ and Glenn (Carol) McKeeman of Cuyahoga Falls, OH, aunt Gloria King of Saugus, MA, many other relatives, and a wide network of chosen family, friends, and colleagues. He was preceded in death by his parents.

A celebration of his life will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 19, 2023 at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Rochester (1727 Walden Ln SW), the place he considered his spiritual home.

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the First UU Church of Rochester’s Building Our Future Fund at https://uurochmn.org/store/  (or via check sent to 1727 Walden Ln SW, Rochester, MN 55902 with his name and the Building Our Future Fund in the memo line) or the Child Life Program of the Mayo Clinic at https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/donateMC (under “Other Designation,” you may add “Child Life Program”/”Tribute donation”). If sending a check for the Mayo Clinic Child Life Program, please indicate “In memory of Randy McKeeman – Child Life Program at Saint Marys Hospital” and mail check to Mayo Clinic, Department of Development, 200 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55905.

Memories and condolences of Randy may be shared at rochestercremationservicesmn.com

7 thoughts on “Randall (“Randy”) Scott McKeeman

  1. I always loved working with Randy. We started the Pre-op education program in the basement of the Siebens building. We spent many hours educating children on their upcoming surgery and just talking when we were waiting for families. I would always call him, Rand-man, the Rand-O-Rama, the Rand-Meister, Rand-the man. It was so silly, but we would both laugh out loud. He had a true calling to work with children and their families. The 3 P’s of working with children and their families: Preparation, Play and Praise. He had a gift. I always admired his relationship with his wife Anita and their two children. I babysat their children a few times. There were times in my career that Randy and Anita were both in our division. They both were giving people and dedicated to their careers and those they served. Randy will truly be missed but not forgotten. Prayers to the family.

  2. Sending our deepest sympathy for the loss of Randy to Anita Alanna Kevin Leland Cherie Isla and Hugo. So sorry to hear this terrible news.. We are sending our love prayers and thoughts to all of you at this difficult time. Keeping you in our heart Love Diane and Bernie

  3. We are grateful for the caring service Randy provided our Pediatric Orthopedic patients here at Mayo for so many years. Randy’s wonderful influence on our Mayo culture and staff will continue to benefit patients for decades to come.
    My sincere condolences to his family,
    Anthony Stans, MD

  4. We met Randy and his family first through our shared UU church ministry in Rochester. Our children grew up not far from Alanna & Lee in the church family.

    During my 30+ year career at Mayo Clinic I came to work in surgical care for children and discovered the role that Randy played at the Eugenia Litta Children’s Hospital on the St Marys campus there. Randy helped to coordinate the grand opening ceremony of the hospital with Olympic gold medalist Dorothy Hammill on the impromptu ice rink at the hospital entrance. Following that, he was a dedicated servant to the children in the Mayo Clinic practice and the staff that served them.

    Randy and Anita have been inspirational members of our church, and I had the good fortune to connect with Randy’s parents during their time in Rochester. Gordon was an inspirational faith leader from the (my era) 1960s and I was so fortunate to connect with him regarding his service during the anti-war effort in the Vietnam era.

    Sarah and I extend our heartfelt regards and warm wishes to the family, and admiration for Randy’s legacy in Rochester and beyond.

  5. Randy made care for children in Pediatrics at Mayo so much more complete. Our Pediatric Oncology patients spent long days in the hospital. Randy and his team created a loving, supportive and most of all fun experience for children during those long hospital days. The play room was off limits to rounds-an early rule set by Randy for the benefit of the kids. Also parents could take a break.
    Randy made time to attend our sit down rounds to discuss patient care and always provided valuable insights that helped our decision making.
    I got to know Randy as a friend and we did some running together. He was faster.
    I know his legacy at Mayo and nationally will endure. I will miss him.

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