Rose “Posey” Randall
Rose Johnson Randall, affectionately “Posey” to all, passed away peacefully on 9/24/22 at the age of 97. She was born in Baltimore Maryland in 1925 to Rose Haxall Johnson and Dr. Robert W. Johnson and continues to be loved and cherished by her four children – Deborah, Peter, Julia, and Susanna, their spouses, six grandchildren and two great grands. Posey attended the Calvert and Bryn Mawr Schools and the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, where she was Captain of the Foxes. She earned her BA degree in Biology and Chemistry from Bryn Mawr College. She worked for five years in pharmacology research at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and at Washington University in St. Louis where she was co-author of a seminal paper on a lab procedure which became so widely used, it continues to be the most cited scientific publication in the world.
During her post college days, Posey joined a ski trip to Stowe VT with her brother Jerry and a cohort of fellow students at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Upon breaking her leg, one of the budding doctors volunteered to accompany her on the train back to Baltimore and thus began the happiest, most rewarding adventure of her life. Peter Randall and Posey were married on May 1, 1948, and it is the partnership created that day and the family that ensued which became Posey’s greatest joy.
After Peter’s medical residency in St. Louis, the Randall family moved back to Chestnut Hill and into the family home on Laughlin Lane. While Peter advanced his medical career, Posey covered the home front. With patience and a firm hand, she navigated all school, church and extracurricular activities. She found a cohort of friends through her work with the Wissahickon Garden Club, St. Paul’s Church, and Bryn Mawr College. She was an excellent tennis player, and enjoyed her regular tennis group on Wednesdays. She also pursued her talents in financial management by volunteering during tax season for H&R Block, serving on the Board of Stratton Management Company, and especially enjoyed meeting with her casual investment group of friends. In her retirement years she volunteered at the Wissahickon Hospice.
Laughlin Lane became the launching pad for many family adventures and “projects”. After Church and Sunday lunch with Granny Min, Sunday afternoons were always dedicated to trips to Hawk Mountain, the Ringing Rocks or the Art Museum, and regular hikes in the Wissahickon. Multiyear family projects included building and outfitting a life-size replica of a clipper ship in the backyard and filling the basement with an extensive landscape for HO trains that included a mountain, a farm, a town and train depot. Every winter, we created a forest in the backyard with discarded Christmas trees to shelter the birds who came to our feeders. There were work crews too – planting the vegetable garden, picking beans, raking the leaves, trimming the hollies, and cutting the ivy. Laughlin Lane was a gathering place for neighborhood kids and center of extended family holidays and celebrations. Posey was the overseer and the consummate host. Peter may have created the map, but Posey steered the ship, looked after the crew, and kept the boat afloat.
Outside the home, Posey and Peter planned several family adventures starting with our first camping trip across the country in 1961 (when the youngest was 5) visiting National Parks throughout the American West. We learned to work as a team pitching camp and breaking it down in the middle of the night at the slightest drop of rain. We learned to build fires and cook on a camp stove. We learned to read maps and climb mountains and most importantly, after spending hours upon hours traveling in the car, we learned how to get along.
Many more camping trips were interspersed with sailing adventures in the Caribbean, Alaska and the friendly waters of Narragansett Bay. Summers were spent in the Shack in Saunderstown RI where Posey was not allowed in the kitchen. Dad would cook scrambled eggs with olives and okra for breakfast, and the kids took turns making lunch and burning dinner until Posey couldn’t stand it, and took over the reins. It was an idyllic summer retreat where we continue to gather with friends and family.
A highpoint and important part of Posey’s life was traveling with Peter and accompanying him on many of his medical trips and missions abroad. Medical conferences and meetings offered adventure and the companionship of other doctors’ wives many of whom became lifelong friends. Posey was a bright, voluble companion who was full of cheer and could light up a room. She also traveled with Peter to remote medical hospitals and clinics in India, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia where she stepped into several roles – as nurse, scheduler, registrar and provisioner. Her expertise in science and medicine, her management skills and drive enabled her to address whatever problems or needs arose.. She was able to use her talents, intelligence, and compassion to help many children and families in remote and desperate places. Being able to participate in these trips was a very meaningful and substantive part of Posey’s life.
After Peter retired, they moved to Foulkeways and continued to travel all over the world while returning every summer to Rhode Island. After Peter died, Posey kept up with their friends and family and lived with the comfort of knowing that they had lived a good life of happiness and charity and that together, they had seen the world with their dearest friend and the love of their lives.