Rand

Anthony Eden Rand died peacefully on May 1, 2020, at the age of 80 after a protracted fight against thyroid and hypopharyngeal squamous cell cancer. Though cancer eventually won, it was a split decision.

Anthony Eden Rand (who went by “Anky” or more often “Tony’ depending on who was doing the talking) was born on September 1, 1939, in Panther Branch Township (now part of Garner), North Carolina. He was the second of five children born to Walter Rand, Jr., and Geneva Yeargan (“Bebe”) Rand. Tony was named after Anthony Eden, who served as Britain’s Foreign Secretary, prior to resigning that position in 1938. The reasons behind this name choice have always been unclear, as there was no apparent connection between the Garner Rands and the British Conservative Party government of that time. Tony’s friend Bill Jordan wondered why, if Tony’s parents were inclined in that direction, they did not instead name him Neville Chamberlain Rand after the then-Prime Minister of Great Britain. If that had happened, this would likely be a very different obituary. (Though “Neville” would no doubt have gotten good value out of having the initials “NC.”)

Tony was a hard worker. As a child, he had farm responsibilities that included milking cows. He had a route delivering eggs door to door on his bicycle, and a route delivering the Raleigh Times newspaper throughout Garner. Through his paper route, Tony won a trip to the Indianapolis 500 for getting the most new subscriptions to the paper. As a high school student, he hopped cars at the Toot-N-Tell Restaurant on Garner Road, which he would continue to patronize throughout his life. Tony learned the value of hard work from his parents his mother taught piano in Garner for more than 60 years and his father was an electrician. Growing up, Tony often did electrical work alongside his father, and later worked on larger projects like wiring the newly-constructed Ehringhaus dormitory on UNCs campus during a summer break from law school. Tony knew from an early age that one person can have a huge impact on a community, and that hard work often is the difference in the kind of impact that a person has.

Tony loved North Carolina and, in particular, the University of North Carolina. After graduating Garner High School in 1957, Tony went to UNC-Chapel Hill, graduating in 1961 with a degree in Political Science. Tony formed many friendships through his membership in Alpha Tau Omega that lasted his entire life. He graduated from the UNC School of Law (alongside his brother Walt) in 1964. Tony and Walt both credit their mother with having indoctrinated them with a commitment to a good education and a love for Carolina; they later returned the favor by establishing a professorship at the UNC Law School in her name. Tony loved Chapel Hill and took every opportunity he could get to return there, whether through service to the University on various committees and boards (including a term as President of the Alumni Association and longtime service as its Treasurer) or through attendance at football and basketball games. Among his proudest moments were when he was awarded the William Richardson Davie Award from the University in recognition of extraordinary service and when he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Law School.

As much as Tony loved UNC, he did not like Duke. While this is old news to those who knew him, it is also a matter of public record. In a 2001 Proclamation about what was likely an overblown development related to Duke basketball, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley noted that “the Duke University Blue Devils have one of the most prestigious programs in all of college athletics, and the accomplishments of this years team have the respect and pride of all North {span}Carolinians{/span} (except for Tony Rand).”

Tony was a lawyer for over fifty-five years. After graduating from law school, he practiced in Washington, D.C. for two years before moving back home to North Carolina. His practice was mostly criminal defense with some personal injury and other civil work. He began his North Carolina legal career in Raleigh, and then moved to Fayetteville in 1968. After a period in the County Solicitors Office, Tony moved to the firm that would become Rose, Thorp, and Rand, which would later add Bob Ray and Randy Gregory (among others). One of the great joys of Tony’s life was his partnership with Randy Gregory, which lasted over 35 years. Tony was a lawyer with a keen legal mind and a lot of common sense. While his name does not appear often in the opinions of the appellate courts, Tony said that there was good reason for that he would win the cases that had favorable facts and work the rest of them out.

Tony loved Fayetteville. Tony often talked of his good luck in accepting the invitation of his law school classmate Charlie Rose to move to Fayetteville in 1968. Charlie was working in the County Solicitor’s Office, and told Tony (who was living in Raleigh at that time) that he would split his position and his salary with Tony if Tony moved to Fayetteville. Charlie planned on moving into private practice with his father and running for Congress later, and said that Tony could join his father’s law firm when he was ready to move to private practice. Tony took him up on it and lived in Fayetteville for over fifty years. He was involved in almost all parts of civic life in Fayetteville. One of his favorite things about living in Fayetteville was playing golf with his friends (including Lyndo Tippett, Bobby Bleecker, and others), where the level of golf was pretty good and the level of good-natured (but intense) trash talking was usually much higher. He also loved his time living in the Homeboys condominiums that he and Jim Yates built together. Tony worked with or served on the board of most of the local community groups at one point or another. He was involved in efforts to support Fort Bragg. He was a lay reader at St. John’s Episcopal Church. He was a proud member of the Fayetteville chapter of AHEPA. He was grateful to have received an honorary doctorate from Fayetteville State University and to have been a supporter of Fayetteville Tech and Methodist College. If something good was happening in Fayetteville, he wanted to help and be involved.

While Tony’s allegiances would always be to Fayetteville, he also loved Blowing Rock. In the 1980’s, Tony came to the conclusion that he was (at least in part) a mountain person and Blowing Rock became his favorite get away location. In his later years, he spent more and more time in Blowing Rock, where he loved looking out over the gorge and playing golf in the mountains. He enjoyed his memberships in the Blowing Rock Civic Association and Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, and appreciated the opportunity to go to court in Boone whenever someone from home got a speeding ticket up there while on vacation.

Tony was an entrepreneur. After his stints with the egg and paper routes, one of his earliest grown-up efforts in this regard was as a rock music promoter. Tony was part of the promotional team that put on rock and roll shows throughout North Carolina, including the 1974 Peachtree Festival held at the Rockingham Motor Speedway. Tens of thousands of people attended North Carolina’s answer to Woodstock, where 70’s superstars like Fleetwood Mac and Three Dog Night performed. Tony was responsible for collecting the cash proceeds from the show by riding his motorcycle around the speedway from gate to gate, and Tony’s law license came in handy when he interceded with a local police department after Alice Cooper’s python got loose in the hotel pool. It was a different time. Later in his legal career, Tony took on the role of in-house counsel to Lithotripters, Inc., a Fayetteville health care company that brought cutting edge kidney stone treatment to the Southeast. Tony relished working with lawyers and doctors from across the country on novel legal, medical, and business issues.

Tony loved politics. Tony served as a page in the North Carolina Senate when he was in the eighth grade and his father later served two terms as the Mayor of Garner, so Tony’s interest in politics started early. After moving to Fayetteville, Tony became active in local politics, serving for a period as chair of the Cumberland County Democratic Party. He was involved in local, state, and national political campaigns for the rest of his life; he particularly enjoyed his service with the Senate Democratic Caucus, working on strategies for races all over the state. He loved both the art and the combat of politics, and he loved the history of political figures and political movements. His bookshelves were filled with biographies, memoirs, and historical reviews about most of the significant political figures and issues from both America’s and North Carolina’s history.

Tony was a public servant. North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt appointed Tony to a vacancy in the North Carolina Senate in 1981. Tony won his first election by five votes (later increased to eight votes after a recount), an experience that cemented his belief in the mantra that every vote counts. He went on to serve more than eleven terms in the Senate, several of which were as the Majority Leader; he served in the Senate from 1981-1988 and 1995-2009. He loved the Senate for several reasons. He loved using his legal experience to inform the work of the General Assembly. He loved working on issues that benefited North Carolina, particularly in public education and economic development, and being able to help Fayetteville, the University system, and the UNC Law School. He loved the relationships he formed with legislators like Aaron Plyler, Marc Basnight, Tom Apodaca, and many others. He loved working with and knowing the legislative staff, the sergeants-at-arms, the cafeteria workers, and others who make the legislature a functional part of state government. And he loved the unique camaraderie of the Senate as a workplace. One of Tony’s most enjoyed roles was awarding (and sometimes being awarded) the Oxmeter, which was frequently bestowed upon the Senator who had become “intoxicated with the exuberance of their own verbosity” during a speech on the Senate floor.

In 2009, Tony left the General Assembly and became Chair of the North Carolina Parole and Post-Release Supervision Commission, where he served until 2014. Tony enjoyed working with familiar legal issues from a new perspective, and his love of a good meal quickly became useful in his role as the resident expert in the offerings of the state’s prison test kitchen, where cooks finalized new recipes before they were deployed to prisons throughout the state. When Tony left the Parole Commission, he moved back to Fayetteville full-time to serve a term as an Associate Vice President at Fayetteville Technical Community College. In this role, he coordinated the college’s workforce development program, working with federal and state governments, the private sector, and the military to provide job training to those in search of employment opportunities. He enjoyed being able to use his knowledge of governmental operations to help the Fayetteville community in a different way. Tony later also served on the North Carolina Lottery Commission for several years, including a period as the Chair. And all the while he continued to practice law with Randy Gregory, which he did until his death.

Tony loved to laugh. Some of you reading this are recalling his boisterous laugh, which came out of him frequently and naturally (and loudly) at anything that he thought was funny. Others are recalling how hard or how often you laughed at something funny that Tony said (these kinds of remarks also came out of him frequently and naturally, occasionally loudly). Many of you are recalling both. Tony was quick to find wit in all aspects of life, including himself. Humor was one of the great sources of happiness for Tony and he was eager to enjoy it and to pass it on at every opportunity.

As much as Tony loved his friends (which was a lot), he also loved his family. He loved the history of his family: He loved that the first Rand in America came over from England before the Revolutionary War and that there were Rands in the first state General Assembly after the writing of the North Carolina Constitution. He was rarely more excited than when he learned while watching a documentary on CNN that he had a large group of African-American Rand cousins whom he had never known about he was thrilled to learn new history about the family of Rands. He loved his parents and his brother and sisters; he enjoyed the opportunities later in life to work with Walt at the Senate and to spend more time with Josephine after she moved back to North Carolina from California. He very much loved Karen, his wife of almost forty years, and delighted in the many adventures they had throughout the state and all over the world. He loved his children and his grandchildren; he enjoyed learning who they were as they grew older and making sure that they had his support (and his well-informed opinions and advice) whenever the occasion called for it. And he made sure that his grandchildren were raised correctly to be Carolina fans right out of the gate.

The last few years of Tony’s life were harder than most of the others. He battled cancer multiple times. Cancer took the baritone register of his voice, then it took his ability to eat normally, then it took his ability to breathe normally. It failed to take his spirit or his sense of humor, though. Tony fought cancer with the kind of vigor and spirit with which he did everything else, and he continued to do the things he loved: spend time with his family and friends; pull for the Tar Heels; and work hard at the tasks before him.

Tony led an interesting and colorful life he believed in enjoying life every day and living with a sense of exuberance. He was always grateful that life gave him so many intriguing opportunities and afforded him the best friends that one could have — he loved to eat (nearly everything) and drink (usually greyhounds) and be merry (again, nearly everything) with his friends as often as he could. While it is sad that he is no longer with us, he did not want people to be sad about his passing, especially in this time when there is so much sadness to be found. He preferred that people remember him by spending time with friends and loved ones and by doing things that bring about joy in their lives and the lives of others. He wanted people to enjoy the memories of all the funny things that happened, all the great times that they had together, and all the National Championships that Carolina has won (so far). And he wanted people to vote: He died with few regrets, but one of them was that he didn’t live long enough to vote against Donald Trump in November as many times as he would be legally allowed. Toward the end he promised to haunt those who did not follow his wishes, so you all have been warned.

During Tony’s first couple of years in the Senate, his then-teenaged sons learned about the legislative page program and Tony’s earlier service as a page. High school students selected for this program take a week off from school, work at the General Assembly in Raleigh staffing the legislative committee meetings and sessions, and at that time got paid $100. This kind of deal sounded like it had a lot to offer a teenager, so Tony’s sons went to him and asked if they could be pages. “I don’t want you to be a page,” he responded with a knowing grin.

“I want you to be a whole book.”

Those who knew Tony know that he said things like this all the time, but this was how Tony lived. He wanted to participate fully in life. He wanted to be involved with people and things that were important to him and to make a difference in whatever he did. Like they sang in Hamilton, he wanted to be in the room where it happened. He wanted a life and, in fact, had a life that was a whole book.

Tony was predeceased by his parents, Walter Rand, Jr., and Geneva Yeargan Rand of Garner; his brother, Walter Rand III; his sister, Mary Parker Rand; and his sister Rhea Rand, who died in infancy.

Tony is survived by his wife, Karen Skarda Rand; his sister Josephine Rand of Pittsboro; his children, Ripley Rand of Raleigh and Craven Rand of Washington, D.C.; his grandchildren, Greene Rand and Arden Rand of Raleigh; and many, many treasured friends from all over: Garner; Carolina; the ATO House; UNC Law School; the UNC Alumni Association; Raleigh; Fayetteville; the rock and roll promotion universe; Highland Country Club; numerous courthouses; the North Carolina Bar; the General Assembly; the Lithotripters family; the Parole Commission; state government; the Wake County Chitlin Club; the Senate Presidents Forum; Fayetteville Tech; Blowing Rock and Blowing Rock Country Club; the Lottery Commission; political campaigns dating back fifty years; and on and on and on and on. You know who you are.

The family would like to thank the staff of the North Carolina Cancer Hospital and UNC Hospitals, Blue Ridge ENT, the Watauga Medical Center, and the many other doctors and health care workers for the care that Tony received as he battled cancer, and would like to thank all of Ton’ys friends who were such a great source of energy and enthusiasm for him not only while he was battling cancer, but throughout his life.

Arrangements are being made by Colvin Funeral Home of Fayetteville. Details on a future memorial service will be announced as the state of the world allows. Condolences may be shared with the family through www.hmcolvin.com. Memories of funny stories, pithy sayings, or tales of intrigue would be received by Ripley or Craven with great appreciation.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the University of North Carolina Geneva Yeargan Rand Distinguished Professorship Fund, UNC Law School, Campus Box 3380, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3380; The Fayetteville Technical Community College Foundation, 2201 Hull Road, Room 114, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28303; or the most effective effort to defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election.

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