The Life &Legacy of Randal Ray Robertson
By: Rachel Rocks & Randy’s Loved Ones
On August 5th our local music community lost a great man, Randy “Rockstar” Robertson. This article isn’t only written by me, I sat down with Molly, Randy’s wife, and Chris DellaPorta, Randy’s former employee, and long-time friend to help me come up with even more history about Randy’s life. I also scoured the internet and found plenty of great stories and videos to watch. I am starting this story with the obituary written by his daughters, Rachael and Rebecca with the help of their family:
Randy Rockstar Robertson, 57, of Camp Hill passed away from Bile Duct Cancer Friday, August 5th, 2016, in his home surrounded by his loving family. Born April 16, 1959 in Herington, Kansas, he was the son of Roberta (Bobbie) Kitzmiller and Gerald Robertson. Randy attended Cedar Cliff High School, but was known best as a much-loved musician and guitar player. In 1995, Randy opened his own business, a guitar shop proudly named after his family, “Triple R Guitar”. In this small, Lemoyne shop, The Rockstar took many new musicians under his wing and gave them a place to call home and often a man to call Dad. Randy thrived in repair work on guitars, his interesting and hilarious customer service, but, mostly, his amazing guitar playing. Though Randy worked night and day for his family, he never missed his daughters’ performances in their school musicals and plays, a great band’s show, or a chance to “krank” on his Harley. His daughters say you could always hear him in the audience, cheering and whistling as loud as he could–he always made a presence in any room. Whether it was with his jokes, his hilarious faces or his iconic rockstar beard, you couldn’t miss Randy. Later in life, Randy enjoyed working for West Shore Window and Door, who have been very supportive in Randy’s battle with cancer. Since his diagnoses in March of 2015, Randy became a strong activist for the legalization of medical cannabis. He changed the minds of many around him, including some of the representatives at the Capitol. Though still fighting and sick, Randy lived to see the passing of SB3 a day after his 57th birthday, April 17th, 2016. Loved dearly by everyone who knew him, Randy is and will always be known as “The King” and a dedicated soldier of Christ. He was predeceased by Ray and Faye Robertson as well as Bill and Florence Hinds. In addition to his mother and father, he is survived by his wife, Molly Landon Robertson; his sons, Randal Ray Robertson, Jr. and Brandon Brady; his twin daughters, Rachael and Rebecca Robertson; his brother, Steve Robertson; his sisters, Risa Armstrong and Robyn Sealover; his stepmother, Deborah Robertson; two granddaughters and his large extended family. A visitation was held for Randy Tuesday, August 9th, at Neill Funeral Home. The line wrapped around the building and was filled with everyone from politicians to rockers who came to show their respects to Randy. On Wednesday, August 10th at 1:00 pm, the family asked all riders to join them in a motorcycle escort from Neill Funeral Home to the Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, for a 2:00 pm service. The rough count of the bikes was 57 motorcycles, bittersweet since Randy was 57 years old. By the time the service started it was standing room only. Following the service, there was a celebration of life at Gullifty’s. The room was packed with people telling stories and remembering Randy, and the amazing man he was. Of course there was plenty of live music all night long.
Randy grew up in the New Cumberland area. Music was always a huge part of his life. It was only natural that in 1986 he got a job at Wray’s Music Store in Lemoyne. He worked hard at Wray’s for 9 years until he finally opened up his own shop, Triple R Guitar, right down the street on Market St. in Lemoyne. Through Triple R Guitar he quickly became known as “The King” pronounced “KingAHHH.” Regulars in his shop also gained their own special nicknames given to them by Randy, some of those nicknames made sense whereas others needed a little bit of explaining. There are so many crazy stories about “the one time in the shop” but one thing for sure he valued and respected all of his customers, as well as his employees. Randy would always go above and beyond to give you the best possible price, with the best possible piece of equipment. Randy was always volunteering to perform at benefits helping many people in the music community. If there was a musical event going on he was there to support with his presence and his time. Randy was gifted with charisma and a genuinely caring for others. Small business of any kind is not easy in today’s world, and unfortunately Randy had to close the shop after 17 years in business. It was a sad day for many people in the music community. But, Randy didn’t let it stop him. He quickly got a job at West Shore Window and Door and became an integral part of their sales team. Even though closing the shop was heart wrenching, it was actually a blessing in disguise as West Shore Window and Door played a key role for him and his family as they dealt with his future health issues.
Randy was a shop owner/salesman by day and a rocker by night. Throughout the years he was in so many bands it’s hard to keep track of them all, but some of the “more popular” ones were “Work Release”, “Tilted Uterus” (which only played at the practice sheds, but wow what a party!), “Cheron” and “F5”. In the early years of Triple R Guitar, he even hosted a blues jam at Mr. G’s. Many in the local music community looked up to him and respected him.
Unfortunately, in March of 2015 he was diagnosed with Stage IV Bile Duct Cancer, specifically cholangiocarcinoma, a very rare yet aggressive form of cancer. Randy underwent extensive surgery at Johns Hopkins Institute and endured a very long stretch of chemo. The music community immediately banned together and, with the help of Joanie Jones, started a Go Fund Me Page to help Randy and his family. Many bands and fans also put together benefits and even yard sales to raise funds. All of the support greatly helped Randy and his family get through this difficult time.
Randy was struggling through chemo, some days barely able to function. Then, one day his old friend Sam stopped by and told him about Cannabis Oil. He even taught Molly how to make it herself. After Sam had been healed from Colon Cancer he was on a mission to help people who were also suffering from cancer, just like a medicine man. Within only a few months Randy still had cancer, but with the added help from Cannabis Oil, he was off all pharmaceuticals. He even managed to gain 22 lbs. and keep all of his amazing hair, something that is unheard of with most cancer patients. (One of his biggest fears was losing his hair.) It was a night and day difference using the Cannabis Oil. He was able to walk his dogs again, ride his Harley, and basically have his life back. When Randy was asked, “Doesn’t Cannabis make you feel high?” His response was, “Yes it does, but so does Morphine and Oxycodone.” For the most part, all of the pharmaceuticals Randy was prescribed made him feel pretty awful. “The difference is,” Randy would often explain, “Cannabis gives you a high that still allows you to function in your everyday life.” The pharmaceuticals did not do that.
Even though Cannabis Oil had been a banned substance in Pennsylvania, Randy decided, like Sam, that he wanted to make sure everyone knew about this amazing medicinal oil. Randy even went to ABC27 News to tell his story. During his first interview, Randy hid his identity. After getting amazing, healing results, he revealed himself, as well as his progress, so the world could see what this incredible, natural drug was doing in his life. On September 22, 2015, while Randy was undergoing yet another round of chemo, Molly decided to go check out a #stillwaiting rally at the capitol in Harrisburg. Needless to say, it got her a bit fired up hearing so many stories about the people suffering and still waiting to make medical marijuana legal in the state of PA. Molly and Randy quickly became huge Cannabis Oil and Medical Marijuana advocates, along with the rest of their family and friends. Throughout the following month, Randy and Molly attended many rallies on the capitol. Sometimes, Randy would be so sick he would practically be crawling up the steps of the capitol, wearing his pajamas, so he could beg, plead, and knock on the doors of our State Representatives. No matter what, he didn’t miss an opportunity to get in the politicians faces to make sure they realized how bad people were suffering. In February of 2016 they delivered a petition with 18,000 signatures to legalize marijuana.
Finally, after months of rallies, phone calls, letters, etc… on April 17th, 2016, one day after Randy’s 57th birthday, Act 16 (SB3) was signed and Medical Marijuana is now legal in the state of Pennsylvania. We were the 24th state to legalize Medical Marijuana, but the fight still continues.
Sadly, on August 5th, Randy lost his battle with cancer. Inspired by Randy’s commitment to all patients regardless of diagnosis, age or preferred delivery method of relief, we have decided to lend our collective voice to the fight to DECRIMINALIZE CANNABIS IN PENNSYLVANIA. We will continue to boldly tell his story and honor his memory by ensuring NO ONE will ever be jailed for finding relief in this amazing plant again! To get this movement started please join our Facebook group cannabiscuRRRes and use the hashtag #cannabiscuRRRes on all your Facebook posts.Inspired by Randy’s commitment to all patients regardless of diagnosis, age or preferred delivery method of relief, we have decided to lend our collective voice to the fight to DECRIMINALIZE CANNABIS IN PENNSYLVANIA. We will continue to boldly tell his story and honor his memory by ensuring NO ONE will ever be jailed for finding relief in this amazing plant again! To get this movement started please join our Facebook group cannabiscuRRRes and use the hashtag #cannabiscuRRRes on all your Facebook posts.Shortly afterwards, Molly started a Facebook Page #cannabiscuRRRes. In the About section of the page Molly explains, that even though Act 16 was passed, it still never protected Randy from prosecution or arrest. Regardless, Randy used his voice anyway, always wanting to speak for those that couldn’t speak for themselves. Inspired by Randy’s commitment to all patients regardless of diagnosis, age or preferred delivery method of relief, we will now fight to Decriminalize Cannabis in Pennsylvania. We will continue to boldly tell his story and honor his memory by ensuring no one will ever be jailed for finding relief in this amazing plant again. Please, join the Facebook group cannabiscuRRRes and help us to continue the fight!
Another amazing charity organization that helped Randy and his family in his fight against cancer was the Vickie’s Angel Foundation. They reach out to families in our community that have someone battling cancer and they provide financial support for the everyday expenses, like groceries, gas, electric bills, etc. They helped out the Robertson family in their time of need and now, it’s time to give back. On October 8th there will be a Randy Robertson Ride, starting at 9am. It will start at Hellion Custom Cycles located at 6384 Brandy Lane in Mechanicsburg, PA. They are asking for a minimum of $10 per person to be given directly to the Vickie’s Angel Foundation at the first stop. Please, come out and support this foundation so they can continue to help people in our community. You can find out more about it and find out how you can donate at www.vickiesangelfoundation.org.
Even though we continue to fight on in Randy’s memory it’s still not an easy task. But I think David D. Buell said it best, “He didn’t allow an unexpected shock to stun or silence him. Instead he turned a setback into a victory, a challenge into a victory tale and you have us all cheering for you. The music of you will never die and all of us will love the sound of your song playing in our head always. I love you brother. God Speed and rock on!”