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Randolph Alan Warden
November 16, 1926 ~ December 18, 2023 (age 97) 97 Years Old
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Randolph Alan Warden died from complications of COVID on December 18, 2023 at Cayuga Medical Center. He was 97. Throughout his life he was an ardent photographer; an amateur astronomer and an enthusiastic chess player while working as a lawyer and justice. He moved to the Ithaca area after his dear wife, Joy’s death in 1987.
Randy was born in Philadelphia, Pa on November 16, 1926 to Benjamin Tilford Warden and Kathleen McDonough Warden. He graduated from Schwenksville High School in Pennsylvania and during WWII served as a second lieutenant in the Merchant Marines. After the war, he attended Ursinus College majoring in philosophy, then went on to study law at the University of Chicago. It was in Chicago that he met and soon married Joyce E. Long. They had their first child, Anne Christine in 1951. Soon after, Randy had his law degree and the couple moved to Philadelphia. In 1953, their second child, David Scott was born.
Randy began working as a prosecutor in Montgomery County, PA and became Assistant District Attorney there. Subsequently he performed corporate law for Standard Pressed Steel. He found his niche however, when he went into private practice in Willow Grove, PA. He continued practicing family law until his retirement Throughout his time in Pennsylvanua Randy was active in Montgomery County’s Republican Party.
In 1960 Randy’s third child, Gregory Alan, was born. Tragically, Greg developed a brain tumor at the age of 2. After his death in 1965 Randy and Joy’s world was upended. Joy was an artist who sketched and painted their experience while Randy photographed. They travelled to Greece and on their return, they presented a show of their work in nearby Ambler, PA They also became Quakers who actively opposed the Vietnam War, attending the National Moratorium Against the War, a huge demonstration in Washington, DC in 1969.
Randy always felt close to his mother’s ancestorial country of Ireland. He travelled there 3 times – once with his son, David. He and David enjoyed meeting the McDonough relatives in County Donegal. More tragedy struck when Randy’s wife Joy was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1980. It proved to be inoperable and they spent the last days of her life together in Ouray, Colorado where she could ski, paint, and enjoy the mountains. Randy practiced law; photographed; and scanned the clear night skies with his telescopes.
After Joy’s death in 1986, Randy moved to Ithaca, NY to be close to David. He became a justice in Tompkin’s County and built a small observatory in his back yard while continuing to work on his photography. He never remarried. By 2002 Randy was diagnosed with macular degeneration which put an end to his visual pursuits. Always physically active, he loved hiking with his dogs near his home in Enfield. As he became less able, he moved into McGraw House in downtown Ithaca and finally Old Hundred.
Randy’s favorite poet was W.B. Yeats, but he loved this poem by Dylan Thomas
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Randy is survived by his son, David and his wife Patricia Forton; his daughter, Chris; and his grandson, Gregory. No services are planned at this time, but donations can be made in his name to the Defenders of Wildlife.