Randy Stallard’s nature to care for all living things went all the way back to his childhood, when he made it his boyhood mission to rescue and protect animals – even when they didn’t always want rescuing. While other kids his age carried the usual scrapes and bruises, Randy was more likely to sport animal bites and scratches from his rescue attempts.
He remained the same throughout adulthood, as evidenced by his alligator Fluffy and the numerous other creatures he considered worthy of his attention. One of his biggest moments of fame came when he and a partner rescued a cat from a tree using a blanket – a video that went viral and made national news. Some may have thought the act unusual. To those who knew him, it was “That’s just Randy.”
Randy carried the same compassion throughout his nearly 30 years as a police officer. To him, every human being was unique and special – even the ones who eventually had to wear his handcuffs. His ability to show care and respect to everyone he met made him a beloved person indeed to those who met him.
Randy’s service here on earth ended early Tuesday morning, Nov. 2 here in Lufkin. He passed away with his wife Lory holding his hand. The family hasn’t notified Fluffy yet.
Born on July 22, 1963 in Fort Worth, Texas, Randy spent his childhood with his siblings in Erwin, Tennessee. Randy left those mountains, but those mountains never left him. He’ll be buried there on Saturday in a spot allowing him to look out over his favorite place on this earth.
Randy spent four years in the United States Navy, serving aboard the USS Nimitz. After his discharge, he graduated the Police Academy and joined the Lufkin Police Department, where he would spend the next 28 years as a patrol cop. Rarely has any officer taken to heart the “Protect and Serve” mantra the way Randy did. Wherever he patrolled, people often came out to visit with “Officer Randy” – especially kids, who knew he’d probably have a bag of candy ready to pass around.
He was an avid guitar player, and for years offered free lessons to kids who wanted to learn from him. They thought he was being really nice. Randy really just wanted an excuse to jam. He’d eventually take his guitar skills to the Crime Stoppers Band, where he played and sang for public events. Randy also performed solo for several nursing homes. He claimed he loved doing it because most of those “old folks can’t hear me when I mess up.”
This year, Randy retired from Lufkin PD and joined Central ISD as a resource officer. Considering his love for kids, it was the perfect place for him. When he fell ill and had to leave the school after just a few weeks, the young students sent numerous tributes his way. They missed him, and so will the rest of us.
Randy is preceded in death by his father Kyle Gordon Stallard, mother Betty Capps and brother Dennis Polovina.
He is survived by his wife Lorena Faye Stallard; step-children Brooke Martin Ellis, Jennifer Martin Burnell and spouse Garrett; Seth Anthony Harrison and wife Kamie; grandchildren Austin and Sage Street, and Cora Burnell; brothers Jack Stallard and wife Rachel, and Gary Stallard and wife Susan; sisters Donna Lee and husband Bryan, Melissa Bryant and husband Darrell, Darlene Burton and husband Steve, and Janet Hensley; brother Bobby Epps and wife Debby; step-mother Carol Lee Price; step-father Don Capps; step-brother Greg Capps and wife Ruby; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Randy also leaves behind the numerous four-legged creatures – especially Trouble and Bella – who will have to find someone else from whom to mooch their meals now.
A private graveside service will take place on Saturday, Nov. 6 in Erwin, Tennessee. A memorial service will take place on Sunday, Nov. 14 at a location to be announced later.
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