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