Cover photo for Captain Jim Randle, (USCG) ret.'s Obituary
Captain Jim Randle, (USCG) ret. Profile Photo
Captain Jim

Captain Jim Randle, (USCG) ret.

d. June 9, 2024


A retired U.S. Coast Guard officer who rescued commercial fishing boats in winter storms in the North Atlantic, saved Cuban refugees from tropical waters, taught navigation to prospective officers, and helped plan President Kennedy’s funeral in Washington, died of heart failure on June 9th in Frederick, Maryland.

Captain Jim Randle, USCG (ret.),  was born in Gonzales, Texas.  He had lived in Frederick, Maryland since 1994, where he was president of the Worman’s Mill Homeowners Association and a member of All Saints Episcopal Church.  He moved to Frederick after retiring from the USCG and a second career at the University of Maryland. 

Randle enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1945 and graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1951.  He was a member of the Academy’s football team and captain of the track team.

Cadet Randle helped sail the Academy’s three-masted sailing ship Eagle on training voyages across the Atlantic.  His sail station on the tall ship was out on t’gallant spar high up the 150-foot tall mainmast where cadet crew members “made sail” (hauled in or spread out the 1600-ton ship’s massive square sails with muscle power). 

After graduation, Ensign Randle served on the USCGC Courier, a ship filled with transmitters and bristling with antennas to broadcast the Voice of America from international waters near Greece.  Cold War tensions sparked concern that Soviet agents might attack or sabotage the ship, so the Courier’s captain assigned Randle to devise a plan to “repel boarders” with small arms. 

Some family members accompanied the Courier crew on the voyage from the United States to its new home port in Rhodes, Greece.  Jim’s wife, Mrs. Jeanne Flanigan Randle, was among them.  While on this overseas assignment she gave birth to the first of the couple’s three sons, James Polk Randle, in 1952.  Brothers Russell Vance Randle and Jonathan Bruce Randle were born after the family returned to the U.S. 

Back home, Randle served on ships based in Massachusetts, Florida, and North Carolina, starting with the very old 125-foot patrol ship Frederick Lee and ending with command of the 378-foot gas-turbine-powered Sherman, a fast, modern ship with a five-inch gun, torpedoes, and a flight deck for helicopters. He also had administrative assignments ashore, usually in Washington, where he also earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from George Washington University. 

Captain Jim Randle retired from the Coast Guard in 1981 after three decades of service.  He became an administrator at the University of Maryland in College Park.  As Bursar he helped streamline processes for registration and made it easier for students to use credit cards to pay school bills.

After retiring from the university, Randle moved with his wife Jeanne from Silver Spring to Frederick.  Jeanne died in 1995.
Jim married Carol Clark in 1997.  The couple was active in civic and church affairs and traveled to Hawaii, Canada, San Francisco, and elsewhere.  Carol’s three children and seven grandchildren often joined Jim’s sons and five grandchildren on vacations and holidays.  Carol died in 2013.

Jim’s older brother, Vance King Randle, was also a native of Gonzales, and a U.S. Coast Guard captain.  Vance flew seaplanes, helicopters, and C-130 transports and commanded shore stations.  He died in 1997 and was buried at sea in the Pacific. 

Late in his long life, Randle wrote a family history, where he described the trauma of losing his father to a heart attack in 1936 when Jim was just eight.  The death during the turmoil of the depression put the family in serious financial difficulty that was managed with help from uncles, aunts, and others. 

He described his hometown of Gonzales as a warm, supportive place where neighbors looked out for each other, phone numbers needed only three digits, and people rarely locked their doors. 

Randle had warm memories of 1930s and 40s Gonzales where he learned to shoot, ride a bike, went to school and church, and had Huck Finn adventures with good friends on nearby rivers.   

He also admired the spirit and history of the place and urged his sons to take lessons from the decent and thoughtful people in his old hometown.  He is survived by sons Jim and daughter-in-law Joyce of Millville, Delaware; Russ and daughter-in-law Julie of Arlington, Virginia; and Jonathan of Silver Spring, Maryland.  Carol's children include son Rich and daughter-in-law Susan of Seattle, Washington; daughter Carol Clark Embrey of Frederick, Maryland; and son David and daughter-in-law Lagenia of Houston, Texas.   
The celebration of Jim's life includes: a visitation at Stauffer Funeral Home on Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, at 7 p.m. on August 7th;  a funeral service at All Saints Episcopal Church on August 8th at 11 a.m.; and interment at Mount Olivet Cemetery on August 9th at nine a.m.  Jim asked that in lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Wounded Warrior Project or All Saints Episcopal Church.  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Captain Jim Randle, (USCG) ret., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services


Wednesday, August 7, 2024

7:00 - 9:00 pm (Eastern time)

Stauffer Funeral Home-Frederick

1621 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, MD 21702

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Funeral Service

Thursday, August 8, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

All Saints Episcopal Church

106 W Church St, Frederick, MD 21701

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Graveside Service

Friday, August 9, 2024

9:00 - 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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