Frame of mind

Friday, July 30, 2010

In the late '60s, there was a linebacker who played football for the Nevada Tigers. Head Coach Chuck Shelton had the following words to say about this player. "He is not the strongest, the fastest, or the most talented player we have on our team, but when he sees where the football is going, he tends to arrive there very quickly, in a BAD FRAME OF MIND!"

This past Monday, we lost this Tiger of old in a contest he was not able to conquer. This article is one of the most difficult I have ever had to write, because that fellow player, was also a life-long friend. This story includes my most vivid memories of Randy Fellows.

Our friendship dates back to our childhood. We were both Milo boys born in the year 1949. That was back in a time, when kids like us played a lot outside everyday, and those are my first memories of Randy.

My home was about six miles from Milo. One cold winter night, we noticed a big fire to the north. My parents loaded my sister and me in the car and we drove to Milo. There we sadly witnessed the Fellows' family home, burn to the ground. There were no rural fire departments in the '50s, and the home was a total loss.

People in those days did things a little differently. They had a big get together where people brought all kinds of things to help the family rebuild their lives.

Randy and I found ourselves involved in many of the same activities over the years. We both played baseball in the summer leagues. For a short time we were both in the high school band, but our real common interest was in football.

I have written many times about our championship team from the fall of 1966. There were so many friends and stories about that team, but Randy Fellows held a special place in all of our memories.

Once again, there were players on that team that had more ability, speed, and were better athletes, but in my humble opinion there was no player that symbolized what our team was all about more than Randy.

He was first and foremost, a cantankerous individual. He just had a need to be constantly agitating everyone around him. Practical jokes were his forte. In fact, if you had not been the object of one of his famous jokes, you had not yet arrived.

Besides being a great linebacker and offensive guard, Randy was a team leader. He was someone you looked to when something either good or bad happened. As with any good leader, Randy was the first in line for whatever we had to face.

One standing joke about those days had to do with his practice uniform. The rest of us took our gear home for washing every few days, but not Randy. His uniform would become so grungy, that we all claimed he only had to enter the locker room, whistle, and the uniform would literally jump onto his body.

Randy took particular pleasure in the way he hit as a linebacker. One play became a legend among us players. We had to punt the ball in a game. The punt was not caught by the other team, and it was bouncing around. The referees had not blown a whistle to stop play, and the rest of our team had surrounded the ball until it was blown dead.

Suddenly out of nowhere, here comes Randy flying through the air and he makes a perfect hit on one of the opponents. We did not have to even ask him why, we knew what his answer would be, "coach has always said to keep playing until the whistle blows, and that is just what I did!"

Randy went to work for the post office after high school, and eventually became the post master for the Nevada office. He and his wife Joyce raised two kids, Andrea and Adam.

In our young adult years, Randy and I used to go quail hunting a lot. Once again, his quick and aggressive nature was displayed. He was a crack shot, and I often chided him for shooting the birds too soon. "Randy if you don't let them get out a ways, we won't be able to tell if they are quail or tenderized round steak!"

For a number of years, he was a member of a fast pitch softball team that included several of our friends. Randy played mostly as a catcher. Just like in our football days, he longed for his favorite play, when a runner would try to bowl him over on a close play at the plate. He would arise from the collision with that same gleam in his eyes that I have seen so many times.

If I had to use one word to describe Randy, it would be simply, dependable. Whether in sports, work, or raising a family, you knew you could count on him when things got tough.

Back in the '70s, I needed to move my family from one home to another. It was the dead of winter, and the wind made you think it was going to cut you in half.

Randy showed up with his pickup and it was just him and me completing the entire job that day. I still have a picture of him standing outside, and he was obviously about to freeze to death. Not one word of complaint did he utter. Quitting was not an option for him.

Randy joins team members Larry Householder, Larry Kerr, Jim Olson, Doug Pettibon, Steve Jadlot, Roger Tyre, and former assistant coach Virgil McKenzie on the list, lost from that championship team. In my mind they are getting ready for two a days together, "EVEN LET'S GET SET!"

Below is the obituary from the Daily Mail today

Randall Lynn Fellows

July 26, 2010

Services Information

Randall Lynn Fellows, 60, Nevada, MO, passed away on Monday, July 26, 2010 at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, following a lengthy illness. He was born October 19, 1949 in Nevada , MO, to Merl D. Fellows and Louella Ruth Eaton Fellows. He married Joyce Kay Wilcox on May 26, 1979 in Nevada , MO, and she survives of the home.

Randy was a lifelong resident of Nevada . He graduated from Nevada High School in 1967. He worked for 36 years for the U. S. Postal Service in Nevada and retired as Postmaster after 16 years in 2004. He raised Black Angus cattle, was active in Nevada Youth Baseball, Vernon County 4-H, past Nevada Tiger Booster Club President and board member of Marvin Chapel Cemetery . He was a member of the National League of Postmasters, the Sheldon Masonic Lodge #371, and the BPO Elks Lodge #564 in Nevada .

Survivors in addition to his wife Joyce, include one son, Adam Fellows and his wife Tiffany and their daughter Peyton, Lee's Summit, MO; one daughter, Andrea Fellows, Brooklyn, NY; two sisters, Linda Rodarmel, Bronaugh, MO, and Paula Matherly, Nevada, MO, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 29, 2010 at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada , MO, with Dr. William Cox officiating. Interment with Masonic services will follow in Marvin Chapel Cemetery, Milo , MO.

Friends may call now and until the hour of service and the family receives friends between 7-8:00 p.m. Wednesday evening at the funeral home

Those who wish may contribute to "Blue Monday" benefiting families affected by cancer c/o Ferry Funeral Home, 301 S. Washington, Nevada, MO 64772.