Randall Antonio Stevenson, beloved son of Claudia Elizabeth Castillo of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Randall Allen Stevenson of Leawood, Kansas, passed away in his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday April 5, 2016. Relatives and friends are invited to meet with the family at Resthaven Funeral Home at 11817 Jefferson Hwy, Baton Rouge, LA 70816 during the wake from 4:00-9:00 PM on Thursday, April 7, 2016 and also at St. George Catholic Church at 7808 St. George Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70809 on Friday, April 8, 2016, for visitation from 1:00-2:00PM, followed by the funeral service at 2:00PM. Burial will immediately follow in the church's cemetery. Besides his parents, Randall was survived by his two grandmothers, Carmen Castillo and Sybil Stevenson, his brother, Christian Stevenson, and his sister, Carmen Stevenson. He was preceded in death by his two grandfathers, Rodolfo Castillo Claramont and LeRoy Stevenson. Randall was born April 2, 1991, at Women's Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before school age, he showed a sense of responsibility. Although he loved the taste of turtle eggs, a delicacy sold on the beaches of El Salvador, as soon as he learned that the turtles were endangered, he would only shake his head if someone offered any to him. He attended Wildwood and St. Jude Elementary and Jr. High Schools. He was a passionate runner in Jr. High, twice setting a new school record for the mile. He frequently served as an altar boy at the Spanish Mass as St. George. He attended St. Michael the Archangel High School, graduating in May, 2009. Although he liked to have mischievous fun, he always considered how things affected other people and reacted kindly. Also during these years he developed a love of Celtic music and heritage. Shortly before graduation he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and entered active duty in August, 2009. He went through recruit training at MCRD, San Diego, and then basic and advanced infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California. After an intensely-selective process, he was sent to Reconnaissance School and then was stationed in Okinawa, Japan in 3rd Recon Bn. He trained as a Paratrooper at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, where he saw frequent combat in the Sangeen Valley of Helmand Province and earned a reputation as a SAW gunner, saving the lives of at least two of his buddies. After the tour, he was transferred to the 3rd Force Recon Platoon and then trained as a Scout-Sniper in Hawaii. He was known by many as "Stevo" and was promoted to Sargent just as he completed his active duty in 2013. He often said, "I never shot a round at anyone I did not know was an enemy combatant. I can face God for every round I fired." After active duty, Randall returned to Baton Rouge and attended BRCC, where he was about to complete an Associate in Business, with plans to continue studies at LSU, eventually marry his girlfriend, Sara-Ann Pierson, and be an entrepreneur. He had the ability to find humor in situations, such as when he was changing a flat tire it began to rain and he responded by laughing. He was dedicated, loyal and passionate, whether it involved running track, his family, his girlfriend, his Marine brothers, his friends, or the ideals which governed his life. Although usually easy-going and humble, when his values were challenged, he inflexibly stood his ground. Although very gregarious and loved by many, he struggled with PTSD accompanied with anxiety. He was tender-hearted, generous, and quick to apologize if he realized he had wronged someone. He saw in each person a potential friend, intrinsic value and someone deserving respect, unless they proved otherwise. He was quick to share what he had with family, friends and strangers, often helping the homeless he met on the streets. Even if he did not give them money, he recognized them to acknowledge their dignity as a human instead of ignoring them. He will be missed, as a grandson, son, brother, Marine, and friend. The hole he has left in the world is an invitation to those who knew him to let love for others reach out and touch suffering wherever it is found.
Published in The Advocate from Apr. 7 to Apr. 8, 2016.