Texas elementary named in honor of Southern grad

KATY, Texas – An elementary school here has been named in honor of a former Salineville, Ohio resident.

The Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees voted Monday to name the new school James E. Randolph Elementary, in honor of the 1972 Southern Local High School graduate.

Jim Randolph, who died of cancer in April 2013, was a coach in the school district and a teacher at Alexander Elementary.

Randolph was born in Canton, Ohio and moved to Salineville in 1964. During his Southern Local years, he was a starter on both the basketball and football teams and was named to both the All-County and Buckeye Border Conference all-star teams. He was the son of the late Harry Nick Randolph and Dolores Lockley Randolph, who both grew up in Salineville.

A 1978 graduate of West Liberty (W.Va.) State University, Randolph had lived in Texas 35 years.

In approving the naming of the district’s 37th elementary school, located at 5303 Flewellen Oaks Lane, trustees said Randolph was known for his “exuberance, compassion and dedication in the classroom,” according to a press release from Katy ISD.

Randolph’s widow Janet, who became emotional during the event, said she felt proud and honored by the board’s recognition of her husband’s contributions.

“My husband touched the lives of many of our community,” she said. “He had a huge heart and a smile to match for the love of all his students. Jim will certainly be missed, but knowing his legacy will continue for future generations makes me, my family and many friends blessed. I could not imagine a more fitting tribute to his memory.”

Randolph, who remained a loyal Ohio State Buckeye fan through more than three decades of living in Texas, was affectionately called “One Tough Buckeye” by his students. His devotion to Ohio State drew the attention of Dr. E. Gordon Gee, then OSU president, who sent a condolence letter to his widow, even though Randolph was not an OSU graduate or a large money donor.

During an appreciation rally held in January 2013 before his death, the elementary school students learned to sing the Ohio State “Fight Song” so they could perform it in his honor.