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Randy Layne, 1936–2007

Carl Randolph “Randy” Layne was born November 8, 1936, in Smith County, Texas. Horses played a significant role in his life, from riding for pleasure to riding in the Smith County Sheriffs Posse. He was a businessman—owner and operator of Randy’s Paint & Body Shop in Tyler, Texas, and served 12 years as Deputy Sheriff of Smith County.

Randy bought his first Appaloosa from David Feagin in 1987 and became an Appaloosa Horse Club member in 1988. His first Appaloosa, DF Bold Dynasty, “Bodie,” produced several outstanding foals. Randy trained Bodie himself, and participated in breakaway roping for the National Old Time Ropers Association and a lot of trail riding.

Randy and his wife, Frances, joined the regional East Texas Appaloosa Horse Club in 1998 and have been active members since that time. Randy was elected president of ETAHC in 2003, served a two-year term and later served as club director. Always very active in promoting Appaloosas, he continually helped organize activities for the club such as benefit rides for members with medical bills. In 2004–05 Randy headed up the Trail of Tears ride which benefited the New London Museum and School. The ride raised funds that were divided between the museum and school, and filtered into scholarships for students.

Randy and Frances seldom missed a meeting. Whether it was strictly business, a hard days work preparing for one of the club events, or a busy day in the saddle, he always gave to support the club.
“Randy was always generous with his time for anybody that needed him,” David says. Randy provided encouragement for those who were down on their luck, and suggested they work with horses. He personally knew it was good therapy and always said, “It helps to get your mind off your troubles.”

His last trail ride was in November of 2006 along the beautiful Mineola Nature Preserve. No more than a week later he was diagnosed with pneumonia and never fully recovered. While his immune system was low, leukemia slipped in, leaving him weak and unable to work for more than two or three hours at a time. In January 2007 he was halter-training foals, but on February 5, he was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. Refusing to go directly to the hospital, he returned home to discuss the proposed treatment with his family and by early on February 10, Randy passed away with his two sons at his side in prayer.

Randy is survived by Frances, his wife of 40 years, two sons, four daughters, several grand and great-grandchildren and several horses. His first Appaloosa, Bodie, is now a 20-year-old gelding. As part of Randy’s final ceremony, Bodie was led around the gravesite, saddled, with boots in the stirrups and hat and lariat on the saddle horn—symbolizing this beloved cowboy’s last ride.

Randy’s passing was a great loss to East Texas, the area police departments, and especially to his friends and members of the ETAHC; his funeral was standing room only. Though Randy is sorely missed, his life and legacy leave all who knew him with a sense of pride and fulfillment for having such a close and loyal friend.

1 Comment

  1. Lisa Reed Said,

    April 1, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

    I was one of the many people to have been touched deeply by this man. He and Frances were one of the first members of the ETAPHC that drew us to become members of this club. We naturally are saddened by his passing, but he is in a better place, and probably on an Appy riding the trails unlike any that he had ever ridden here. Til we see each other in heaven!!

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