Randall Laverne Nickel, affectionately known as Randy to his friends and family, passed away peacefully in his hometown of Guthrie Center after a courageous battle with cancer. Born to Oliver and Laura Nickel, Randy was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend who left an indelible mark on the hearts of those he touched. Randy’s journey began in Guthrie Center where he was born and raised, and where he attended Guthrie Center High School with the class of 1971. His sense of duty and patriotism led him to join the Marine Corps in 1970, where he started his career during the evacuation of the Vietnam War. Over the years, Randy’s exceptional leadership and dedication saw him rise through the ranks, taking on roles such as Ammunition Tech, Drill Instructor, Company Gunnery Sergeant and, eventually, retiring as a Company First Sergeant in 1990 in Quantico, Virginia.
After a distinguished military career, Randy continued to serve his country as a security manager, special police officer and firearms instructor for the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. His commitment to public safety was unwavering, and he approached his work with the same passion and integrity that he did in the Marines.
In 2005, Randy’s love for his roots brought him back to Guthrie Center, where he became a self-employed carpenter. His craftsmanship and attention to detail were evident in his work restoring historic buildings, contributing significantly to the communities revitalization. His efforts did not go unnoticed, as he was honored with the Main Street Guthrie Center Volunteer of the Year award in April 2018, presented by the Governor in recognition of his dedication to his hometown. Randy was not only a committed serviceman and community advocate but also a successful businessman. Alongside his loving wife Kathleen, he opened a business in 2011, which further demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit and his desire to give back to the place he called home.
Randy’s life was rich with interests and hobbies. He had a passion for restoring old trucks, a testament to his mechanical ingenuity and creative vision. He was also a true master of all trades, a skill he applied to every facet of his life. His two goldendoodles, Rifle and Remmington, were a source of joy and companionship, and his adventurous spirit was matched by his courageous and passionate approach to life.
Randy’s legacy is carried on by his loving wife, Kathleen Nickel; his children, Andria Nickel of Hobe Sound, Florida, Gwen Nickel of Guthrie Center, and Randy (Billie) Lueder, Bridget (Walter) Oba, Beverly (Shanna) Lueder of Oahu, Hawaii, and April (Joseph) Hansman of Waukee. His grandchildren, Layla Greene Devonne Bell, Reef Alban, Tehya Lueder, Randi Lueder, Reese Lueder, Autumn Boyd, Ellamae Boyd and Tate Hansman will miss his guidance and warmth. He is also survived by his brother, Clayton (Lineen) Nickel, and sisters, Della Rutherford and Debbie Waits, as well as many extended relatives and close friends who will cherish his memory. Preceded in death by his parents, Oliver and Laura Nickel, and brothers-in-law, Bill Rutherford and Mark D. Waits, Randy’s spirit will continue to inspire those who had the privilege of knowing him. His adventurous nature, courageous heart and passionate soul will remain a guiding light for all who loved him.
As we bid farewell to a remarkable man, we remember Randy’s life not with sorrow but with gratitude for the time we shared and the lessons he taught us. His legacy will live on through the lives he touched, the community he helped build, and the memories etched in the hearts of his family and friends. Rest in peace, Randy, your journey was one of honor, love and unwavering commitment, and you will be deeply missed.
Services were Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, at 11 a.m. at Twigg Funeral Home in Guthrie Center with visitation one hour prior to services. Inurnment immediately followed memorial services at Seeley Township Cemetery.