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Reverend Dr. Randall Lee Saxon

October 28, 1947 June 12, 2021
Reverend Dr. Randall Lee Saxon
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Obituary for Reverend Dr. Randall Lee Saxon
On June 12, 2021 the Reverend Dr. Randall Lee Saxon, beloved husband and father, passed peacefully into God’s eternal embrace at the age of 73.

Pastor Randy was born in Waverly, NY on October 28, 1947 to Sherm and Velma Saxon and raised in the little town of Athens, nestled between the mountains in the beautiful Susquehanna River valley of northeastern Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. in English from Mansfield University, Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his Doctor of Ministry from Drew University. Twice Randy was invited to study at Oxford University in England and completed their Summer Religious Studies Program. Randy also earned certifications as a Master Gardener and Master Naturalist from the University of Illinois-Extension.

He diligently and faithfully served in the ministry for 40 years at churches in Gettysburg, PA, Southampton, NY, Port Arthur, TX, Wilmette, IL, First Presbyterian Church of Peoria, and ultimately retired Pastor Emeritus of United Presbyterian Church in Peoria. He taught philosophy at ICC and over 40 classes for the Bradley University Osher LIfe Long Learning program, as well as leading programs and guest speaking on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War throughout the nation. Randy had also been an active Mason and Rotarian who was thrice named Paul Harris Fellow. He achieved Eagle Scout in his youth and continued to serve the BSA as a troop leader, commissioner and council representative for many years and locally he was a chaplain at the Ingersoll Rand Boy Scout Camp. He formerly served as the President of the Illinois State Historical Society and as a docent for the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, IL. His knowledge and love for not only Lincoln but the values he defended led Randy to propose and spear-head the The Lincoln Party to erect the Lincoln statue in Peoria at the Courthouse site of his famous 1854 speech against slavery extension.

Though Randy received countless awards too numerous to name, nor would he have wanted us to do so, he was very proud to receive an Alumni Citation from his alma mater Mansfield University for civic and philanthropic work as well as honors from the Shinnecock Indian Tribe in NY for his mediation in a crisis that led to his own injury.

Randy had many passions in life, most of which centered around his family, his faith, teaching and learning, and God’s natural world. If not at the church, he could often be found outside tending to his garden, the church garden, or just out hiking and observing wildlife. He enjoyed spending time volunteering in the community in a wide variety of roles that led to many relationships he treasured to the end of his days. Pastor Randy had a truly gentle soul as well as a sharp, quick wit. He could always be counted on for a warm smile, a corny pun or a random, little known fact. In his own words, Randy’s favorite hobbies were “practicing what I preach, searching for answers to difficult questions, and spending time with my dear wife and family.”

Randy was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved stepmother Betty Saxon. He is survived by his soulmate and wife Anna, his four children Heather (John) Blase, David (Dawn) Saxon, Jennifer (Josh) Friedman, and Austin (Michelle Greenslate) Saxon, as well as brothers Jimmy, Kevin, and Shawn Saxon and sisters Peg Arnold and Nancy Brown. He greatly cherished each of his seven grandchildren Teslyn, Rhiannon, Riley, Aaliyah, Saxon, Lizzie and Jupiter.

After the devastating loss in 2000 of First Presbyterian Church downtown, Randy co-founded United Presbyterian Church on 2400 W. Northmoor Rd in Peoria. This church he dreamed into fruition will host his memorial service on June 19, 2021 at 10:00 AM with an outdoor reception to follow. Please bring your mask as the service will take place indoors; Randy’s wish was for everyone to be able to (safely) sing together. A memorial fund is being established in Randy’s name at United Presbyterian Church to maintain and further develop God’s natural sanctuary for the enjoyment of all who might find respite and renewal there.
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