W. Randall Tyson

W. Randall “Randy” Tyson, 82, of Vero Beach, Fla., formerly of Jamestown, passed away peacefully at home Oct. 5 after a brief illness surrounded by his loving family.

Randy was born Jan. 24, 1941, in Ogden, Utah, to William Estel and Lottie (Randall) Tyson.

He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Rena (Pazienza) Tyson, his children Kerry Tyson (husband Zack King) of Portsmouth, R.I., and Kenneth Tyson (partner Kristin Frederickson) of Boston, and his grandchildren Finn and Loie King of Portsmouth.

Randy grew up in Brigham City, Utah, to a family of farmers and stockmen. He was a graduate of Box Elder

High School, where he played football against future Hall of Famer (and later actor) Merlin Olson. Later the two became teammates and fraternity brothers at Utah State University, where Randy played in two bowl games and was named MVP as center-linebacker in 1962.

After college, Randy spent one year with the Springfield Acorns (the Chicago Bears feeder team), where he was an Atlantic Coast Football League all-star defense linebacker. He returned to New England in 1965 as a player/ coach for the Rhode Island Indians in the old Atlantic Coast League. It was in Rhode Island where he met his future wife, Rena, a striking dark-haired Italian beauty from Cranston, R.I., who quickly fell for the 6’2” handsome football star.

The two were married in 1966 and moved back to Utah, where he returned to coach at his alma mater while earning his masters in physical education and sports psychology. All told, he spent a decade in coaching positions at Utah State, Idaho State (where his daughter was born) and the University of Rhode Island.

In 1972, Randy gave up coaching duties to make a move to NFL scouting, first with the scouting combine Quadra in Ohio (where his son was born) and then in 1977 with the Los Angeles Rams, where he took over their Eastern scouting duties from his new base in Rhode Island. His career with the Rams spanned nearly two decades, and he was most proud of his NFC Championship ring from the 1980 Super Bowl and his scouting profile of Eric Dickerson, whom the Rams drafted in 1983 and who still holds the record for most rushing yards in a single season. Never one to relax, following his “retirement” Randy and his wife Rena owned several businesses and properties, including Spinnakers Café and R&R Gallery in Jamestown.

As a New England transplant, Randy took up sailing, both cruising and racing at no fewer than four yacht clubs, as well as golf and tennis in Florida. He also continued to make trips out West to see his quarter horses and enjoy extended rides in the Utah backcountry.

A past commodore of the Jamestown Yacht Club, Randy and his family sailed their Pearson 30, and later a J/24 in the Tuesday night series and went on many yacht club cruises to Block Island and the Vineyard. Randy was an active member of New York Yacht Club, sailing in Maxi yacht championships in Europe, NYYC team races and more, including the 2001 America’s Cup Jubilee. He was a legacy member of the Moorings Yacht & Country Club in Vero Beach, Fla., for 30 years, where he was an ardent supporter of the Wheels & Keels Foundation. He also was a former member of Newport Yacht Club.

Never one to shy away from controversy, Randy was just a big guy with a big heart, always quick to lend a hand or join the fun. He will be remembered for his dedication to caring for his wife, who was severely injured in a 1988 car accident, his love of family and the outdoors and his passion and zest for living a big, full life. He was proud of his children, traveling to far-flung corners of the earth to see them in school and at work. He especially adored his two grandchildren, savoring every moment he spent with them.

Interment of ashes will be private in North Ogden, Utah. There will be a celebration of life for friends and family from 1-3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26 at Beech Restaurant, 13 Narragansett Ave., Jamestown and one in Vero Beach later in the fall. Please bring your stories and any photos to share.