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Randolph Sebastian James

June 16, 1961 July 6, 2022
Randolph Sebastian James
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Obituary for Randolph Sebastian James

Randolph was born June 16, 1961 in Washington, NC, the only child of Bobby and Loretta Turner James. He first heard an organ played in church at age two, and was playing it by age four. He began his career in church music at the age of 12 as Organist and Choirmaster in the church where his father served as Senior Minister.

Randolph discovered the Episcopal Church in high school and has been an Organist and Director of Music in the Church since 1979. He served as Organist and Master of the Choirs at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Birmingham, Alabama, 1979 - 1983; Church of the Holy Comforter, Tallahassee, Florida, 1983 - 1988; Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, Atlanta, Georgia, 1989 - 2000; All Saints Church (Interim), Worcester, Massachusetts, 2000 - 2002; Grace Episcopal Church (Interim), Newton Corner, Massachusetts, 2002 – 2003; Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church, Falmouth, Massachusetts, 2003-2011; and at Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Cartersville, Georgia, 2012-2018. He served most recently as Organist at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Quincy, Florida.

A force of nature, Randolph masterfully built the skills and repertoire of (mostly) volunteer choirs that flourished under his leadership. His mastery of integrating music and worship led to transcendent experiences of God while his temperament, humor, irreverence, and generous heart generated a devoted choir family everywhere he served.

In 1993, Randolph met Gordon Ganter in Atlanta. They committed themselves to one another among family and friends on Nov. 3, 1995 and later married in Concord, MA on August 17, 2004. Gordon’s extraordinary gifts of hospitality expanded the beauty and joy of choir family and church community.

Randolph was preceded in death by his mother Loretta; and his husband Gordon and their three exceptional standard poodles: Sebastian, Johann, and Widor. He is survived by his parents Bob and Carol James and sisters Freela Hudson and Jennifer Kirk. He is also survived by a multitude of friends, gathered along the way, who are, in turn, devoted friends of one another.

More than 50 choristers from Randolph’s choir families will lead in singing him heavenward at a Celebration of Life with Holy Eucharist on Saturday, August 6 at 1:00 pm at the Church of the Ascension in Cartersville, GA. The committal of ashes–both Randolph and Gordon’s–will follow outside in the memorial garden. A festive reception will be held in the parish hall where laughter and tears will flow and all will raise a glass, so glad to have been along for the ride with Randolph Sebastian James.

The August 6th Celebration of Life service can be watched on Ascension's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpDKoOXQY0jnuBGSAR-3Zpg/featured

Memorial gifts can be made online https://secure.myvanco.com/YP4C/campaign/C-12QEJ or sent to The Church of the Ascension at 205 W. Cherokee Avenue, Cartersville GA 30120. Gifts in memory of Randolph may also be sent to any of the music programs where he served.

A Randolph S. James Memorial group has been created on Facebook and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/764055238054210

Charles McClellan Funeral Home, Quincy, FL., 850-627-7677.

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