Randall H. “Randy” Perna
November 10, 1941 – December 23, 2018
Preceded in death by wife, Patricia; parents, Raymond and Florence; and brother Raymond. Survived by sons, Michael (Louise) and Christopher (Erica); grandchildren: Gabrielle, CJ, Julia, Brady, and Matthew.
Randy was born in Brooklyn, NY, where he lived in an apartment across from Ebbets Field where his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers played. At age 14, he moved with his family to Oceanside, Long Island, New York—a suburb of NYC. Randy went to Oceanside High School, where he played soccer and wrestled. During High School he was also a member of a fraternity called the “Counts,” which he referred to as an organized group of “Hoods.” It was also in High School that Randy met and began dating his future wife, Pat.
After graduating High School in 1959, Randy joined the U.S. Navy serving on active duty from 1959 to 1963. During his service he was stationed at the Brooklyn Naval Yards and spent a lot time on ships in the area of Cuba. After his Naval Service, Randy went to college at New York University in NYC and continued dating Pat. Randy and Pat were married on September 7, 1966, at St Christopher’s Church in Baldwin, New York.
On Dec 10, 1967, Randy’s and Pat’s first child, Michael, was born, followed by Christopher’s birth on Nov 29, 1969. During this time Randy was employed by as a model/clothing salesman for a company called Merrell, based in Manhattan. This job led to Randy traveling throughout all of the United States and the world. In the late 1970s, as Mike and Chris were getting older, Randy took a job as a Liquor Salesman. Randy held this job for 25 years; every day, it took him to Manhattan where he had hundreds of accounts. Randy also always had a second job tending bar in NYC or in Oceanside at the Knights of Columbus.
As Mike and Chris grew older, Randy was their Soccer coach, Cub Scout leader, and Boy Scout leader. Randy was active in the Catholic Church where he was the leader of the Youth Group, CYO program and President of the Parish Council at St Anthony’s Church in Oceanside, NY. Randy was a very active member of the Knights of Columbus in Oceanside, where he was a past Grand Knight. Randy was also very active in the Republican Party on Long Island. Because he was such an active member of his Oceanside, NY community, Randy was often called the “Mayor” of Oceanside by his family; if there had actually been an election for mayor, he easily would have been a shoe in.
An avid reader, Randy would read three books a week. He enjoyed fishing and playing golf. He also was a sharp dresser and took pride in his wardrobe—jeans always had a crease!!
On December 3, 2005, Randy’s High School sweetheart and wife of 39 years, Pat, died of a heart attack. In April of 2012, Randy moved to Omaha, Nebraska to live near and eventually with Chris and Erica and their family. In August of 2012, Randy was diagnosed with colon cancer and was given two to five years to live. Randy took this news in stride and decided to fight his cancer and live the rest of his life having as much fun as he could have. An avid golfer, Randy enjoyed playing all courses in the Omaha area, especially with all the new friends he made in Omaha. Randy especially enjoyed playing golf and going to lunch with Erica’s stepfather, Art.
After Randy’s diagnosis he travelled to Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Belize, and to many warm places in the United States. One of his favorite trips and proudest moments was going to Citi Field this past May to watch Mike throw out the first pitch at a Mets game. Randy also became the number one fan of all the teams his grandsons played on and Chris coached, rarely ever missing a game. He also went to all football and basketball games where Gabby cheered. Randy was proud of all five of his grandchildren and loved seeing how successful each one became.
When told they have a terminal illness, many people make peace with it and let the disease take them. Randy would not have any of that. His plan was to fight as hard as he could and live as long as he could. Randy had a bucket list and checked off every box. Like everyone else, Randy was not perfect, but did his best to be as good a husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, and friend as possible.
VIGIL SERVICE: Sunday, December 30th at 5pm at the West Center Chapel, with family receiving friends from 3pm to 5pm. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Monday, December 31st at 10:30am at St. Columbkille Catholic Church, 200 E. 6th St., Papillion, NE. Private Burial.