Cover photo for Randall Dothan Sledge's Obituary
Randall Dothan Sledge Profile Photo

Randall Dothan Sledge

December 21, 1924 — April 17, 2024

Winston-Salem, NC

Randall Dothan Sledge

Randall Dothan Sledge died at Brookridge Retirement Community, Winston-Salem, NC, on April 17, 2024. He was 99 years old. 

He is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 74 years, Dorothy Lee Sewall Sledge; an infant son, Timothy Randall Sledge; his parents William Dothan Sledge and Ada Dixon Sledge; and 4 siblings, Eulava Sledge Dupree, Octava Sledge Deloney, Wayne Dixon Sledge, and Wilma Sledge Rittenhouse. 

He is survived by three children and their spouses, Jonathan Edward Sledge (Deborah Norton) of Raleigh, NC, Richard William Sledge (Molly Sledge) of Ft. Collins, CO, and Martha Lee Sledge (Steven Hornsby), of New York, NY; 9 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and countless friends and colleagues. 

Randall Sledge was born December 21, 1924, in the rural community of Martin, in Red River Parish, LA, where he lived until graduating from high school. Growing up on a farm, he was used to hard work: plowing fields with a mule, picking cotton by hand, milking cows. But he was also a prankster. He delighted in telling the story of how he and his brother caught a neighbor’s mule who was routinely eating their family stock’s feed, tied a can full of small rocks to its tail, and sent it kicking and braying down the road towards home. 

After graduating from Martin High School in 1941, he moved to Shreveport, LA, to study business in the evenings and work for a lawyer who was training him to eventually take over his law practice. And then the US entered WW2. In December 1941, Randall turned 17 and waited a year before he enlisted soon after his 18th birthday. He intended to enlist in the Army, but the recruiting officer sent him into the Navy instead. He was assigned to the USS Idaho, which supported amphibious battles in the Pacific, including the battles of Okinawa and Iwo Jima. WW2 changed the trajectory of Randall’s life; when he was discharged in 1946, he had decided to become a preacher and missionary. He enrolled in Bob Jones College (then located in Cleveland, TN), where he met Dorothy, who impressed him with her conversation over the college dinner table where she was the hostess and he was frequently the last diner. After his first year at Bob Jones, he transferred to Louisiana College in Pineville, LA, to complete his undergraduate degree. Dorothy had graduated and moved back to her home in Minnesota, and they began a 2-year epistolary courtship, with only a few visits. Randall and Dorothy married on August 12, 1949, in St. Paul, MN. He drove from Louisiana to Minnesota for his wedding with his mother, a sister, and 2 pre-teen nieces; years later he still bemoaned the frequent stops the nieces requested. 

After Randall and Dorothy married, they both entered the New Orleans Theological Seminary and began their ministry work together. While a seminary student, he and Dorothy lost their first son, and he served as pastor of small congregations in Meringouin and Iowa, LA. 

After graduating with a Doctor of Theology in 1954, he and Dorothy began a somewhat peripatetic life, alternating between national and international living. Through the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention, they went to Spanish Language school for a year in Costa Rica. While in Costa Rica, their son Jonathan was born. Then they moved to Peru to begin their missionary work, and added their son Richard to the family, while Randall pastored churches and helped start new churches. After four years in Peru, they returned to Louisiana, where their daughter Martha was born. In Louisiana, Randall served as a pastor for 20 years, first at Haynes Avenue Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA, and then Temple Baptist Church in Winnsboro, LA. During these years, he held leadership positions in the Louisiana Baptist Convention and co-edited a Spanish-language translation of the New Testament.

In 1979, Randall and Dorothy returned to work with the International Mission Board; Randall served as Professor of New Testament and Theology at the Seminario Teologico Bautista Internacional (International Baptist Theological Seminary), in Cali, Colombia, for over 10 years. They loved their missionary families in both Peru and Colombia and developed life-long friendships, praying daily for everyone they had known by name, every morning.

At retirement, most people seek a quiet life and settle down. Not Dorothy and Randall. During the first part of their retirement, they were based in Shreveport, LA, where Randall preached when asked, regularly taught Sunday School, and spoke about their work overseas; he and Dorothy also traveled extensively and volunteered in short-term positions with the IMB back in Colombia and in war-torn Bosnia. 

In addition to their travel for work, Dorothy and Randall traveled extensively for pleasure: they finished off their 50-state checklist with a trip to Hawaii for their 50th wedding anniversary, and traveled in the Middle East, Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, and Mexico. 

Dorothy and Randall moved to Brookridge Retirement Community, Winston-Salem, NC, in 2009, to live for their remaining years. They still travelled to see family and friends, welcoming grandchildren and great grandchildren with glee. COVID alone stopped their footloose traveling, though they still enjoyed shorter trips to the North Carolina mountains.

Randall had a great love for God and his family. Randall loved Dorothy so much and was heartbroken by her passing; he lived exactly one month after her death. 

He was beloved and respected by many and is already greatly missed. 

The family would also like to acknowledge those who cared for Randall and Dorothy as their health declined: the staffs of Brookridge Retirement Community, Piedmont Home Care, and Trellis Supportive Care. You took wonderful care of them and enabled them to stay living together. Thank you.

A service will be held on Friday, April 26, 2024, at 11 a.m. at Clear Springs Cemetery in the Martin community of Red River Parish, LA, with burial to follow. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering of the International Mission Board (imb.org) or a charitable organization of your choice. Written notes of condolence may be sent to their address at Brookridge or to any of the three children. Online condolences may be made at www.rose-neath.com

 

 

 

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Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, April 26, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Clear Springs Cemetery

, Martin, LA 71019

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Friday, April 26, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

Clear Springs Cemetery

, Martin, LA 71019

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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