Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Randolph Spotswood Knipp, 90, Lewisburg, West Virginia

Randolph Spotswood Knipp, 90, of Lewisburg, West Virginia, passed away on Tuesday, November 28th peacefully at home in his sleep. He was born in Hampton Roads, Virginia, during the height of the Great Depression, on February 18th, 1933. Herbert Hoover was still president. He attended Virginia Military Institute and graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and served two years as a tank commander in Fort Knox, Kentucky. In 1960, he met the Mississippi girl of his dreams, Ina Jean McCabe and the two were wed and moved to Littleton, Colorado. Both had high security clearances and worked for the missile defence program at Hughes Aircraft. Randolph as an engineer, Jean as a secretary. Only son, Chuck arrived in 1961. In 1963, the small family moved to Orange, Texas. Randolph attained his Master’s degree in mathematics from Lamar University, and worked as an engineer/consultant for Dupont SRW until his retirement. After his beloved Jean passed away in 2015 after 55 years of marriage, he reached out to long forgotten friends to fill the hours of his newfound loneliness. It was then he connected to his high school girlfriend, Julie (Gremmels) Ford, who had also just lost her husband. The two were a high school “item” in Lynchburg, Virginia from 1948-1952, after which they both graduated and went on to pursue their passions and careers. The romance with Julie was rekindled almost immediately, over 65 years since they’d last seen each other, and he moved to be with her in West Virginia. He fell in love with not only Julie, but also the town, the weather, and the social options. He was welcomed warmly by Julie’s daughters, Sarah and Charlotte, and their husbands, who nick-named him “Grandolph,” because he was so good around the grandchildren. The couple made the most of their time, traveling extensively, attending community events and enjoying every moment together. Julie passed away early last year. A short time later, he lost his beloved elderly poodle, “Coco.” Though bereaved, he continued with a very active social life and frequent road trips, often to Orange to visit old friends here. He will be remembered for his genuineness and generosity. His time, resources, counsel and help were always just a phone call away. He had a delightful gentlemanly manner, a mellifluous and charming Southern voice, and an extraordinary vocabulary and grasp of scientific concepts. A lifelong Presbyterian, Randolph was confirmed a member of the Anglican faith in 2021 and was very active in his and Julie’s church, St. James’ Episcopal in Lewisburg. A memorial service will be held there in the near future. In lieu of flowers, Randolph would have asked to be remembered by those who knew him by doing a good deed for someone (without telling them). He loved life and always felt he was extraordinarily blessed.


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