In Loving Memory of "Rockin' Randy Cane"
Randy Cecil Burkhart left this world on March 27, 2002 after a four and a half year battle with cancer. He was born on a Sunday just before just 1 AM, and died on a Sunday just after 1 AM.
He was born on January 5, 1964 in Chinon, France from the unlikely union of a Kentucky “mountain man,” Kenneth Burkhart (now deceased), and a French city girl, Eliane Picard. His father was a US Army soldier stationed in France where he met and married Eliane in 1962. Randy was the eldest of the three children born of this union. His sister Corinne and brother Eric followed soon after. Because of his father’s military occupation, his family moved often, spending 10 years of Randy’s childhood in Germany in 3 different assignments. As a young boy in Germany, Randy loved drawing, was an active Scout membe, and enjoyed daredevil antics such as jumping home-made ramps with his bicycle (his hero being Evel Knievel at the time) and performing whatever feat he could once he got his skateboard. Randy also played football for which he received trophies. Once he was introduced to pinball from his French uncle, he was “hooked,” and his passion for pinball continued throughout his adolescence and young adult life.
Following his father’s unexpected and sudden heart attack requiring immediate med-evac to BAMC at Fort Sam Houston for bypass surgery. Randy, his mother, and siblings were also med-evaced within 3 days from Germany. Leaving Germany and losing proximity to France always left a hole in Randy’s heart.
The family arrived in San Antonio in April 1977, and after a long hospital stay upon which his dad recovered, the family found a house in Converse just prior to Randy’s 8th grade year. He attended Kirby Jr. High and was a member of the 1982 graduating class of Judson High School. His favorite classes were history and theatre arts. Randy loved acting and participated in theatre arts classes from 8th grade throughout his senior year, having performed in several plays and UIL thespian competitions.
His paternal family from Kentucky had music in their hearts, his grandparents playing banjo, guitar, mandolin, and harmonica; his grandfather playing bluegrass. His grandmother, aunts, and several cousins played and sang, mostly old hymns. Randy expressed amazement and admiration for these talents, and it has often been said that he “must have gotten music in his soul” from the Kentucky family.
Randy could not contain his excitement when he received his Christmas dream-gift: an electric guitar at 14. He immediately began teaching himself chords to many songs from his favorite bands, namely KISS in the beginning. He would practice for hours. It was at this time Randy felt he found his true calling, that of being a musician, specifically a guitarist.
Randy very much enjoyed making others laugh, and he was known for his wickedly witty sense of humor. As much as he would have enjoyed becoming an actor, playing music ultimately took precedence over this initial passion. In Randy’s mind, playing music live on stage simultaneously fulfilled both of these desires. In early high school, he became the rhythm guitarist of rock band Fallen Angel along with his classmate band members. He helped form and became a member of rock band AZIZ post- high school where he played the club circuit. He maintained love and admiration for all of his bandmates throughout his lifetime.
Because of his interest in all things historical, Randy was quite the history-buff and remained astute in this knowledge throughout his life to include his deep interest in geopolitical affairs, documentaries, and science fiction. He also loved discussing art and film.
One of Randy’s most profound qualities was his empathy and compassion for others’ suffering. He was known to defend and assist the underdog, the downtrodden, the neglected, be it child, adult, or animal. He befriended those he found neglected or lonely, and rescued 2 dogs in his lifetime. Young children naturally flocked to him for he was patient with them and enjoyed their antics. He was an extremely loving member of our family and consistently expressed love for his friends to us.
As he worked various jobs (primarily DJing at local clubs) between musician gigs, he was known to be a very conscientious, punctual hard worker. He truly gave all of his passions in life as much gusto and bravado as he could.
Randy was also fortunately blessed with having had a daughter and granddaughter whom he loved very much.
Although Randy faced difficult challenges in his life, he maintained a deeply moral and ethical code in his heart. He was honest and generous, often giving when he himself had none. He maintained his belief and faith in Jesus and God throughout his life.
If Randy were alive today, he would be wishing everyone nothing but happiness. He would want all of you to be smiling, and he would thank you for being here today. One of the last things Randy said to us was, “All I ever wanted to do was play music and make people happy.” These words will forever be etched in our hearts.
Randy is survived by his mother, Eliane Burkhart, sister Corinne, brother Eric, daughter Randi Marie, granddaughter Payton, and numerous members of his Kentucky and French family.
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