Randall Neilson

Obituary of Randall K. Neilson

Obituary of Randall K. Neilson On May 21, 2021, just four days after turning 69, Randall K. (Randy) Neilson, loving father of Samantha (newly married to Joseph Walker); dear brother of Blake (and wife Susan), Brent (and wife Leslie), Scott (and wife Janine), and late sister Cynthia, beloved son of Lois and the late Vernon Neilson, also survived by Samantha’s mother Tina Lienenkamper and many other dear friends and extended family, passed away in Salisbury, MD. Randy graduated from Andover High School in Linthicum, MD in 1970. He pursued an A.A. degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Anne Arundel Community College in 1972 followed by a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Univ. of Md, College Park in 1976. His first job out of college was at Westinghouse Electric. He would earn his master’s degree in Computer Science from Loyola University of Maryland while working there in 1982. Northrup Grumman, which absorbed Westinghouse Electric in the 90s bestowed upon Randy an Invention award for adding capabilities to their ASR-12, next-generation radar in 1997. In the 2000s he made vast contributions to the US Naval Defense systems as well as for US Postal System automation equipment. In 2006 he became technical lead of the Flats Sortation System production contract--the largest single contract ($800m) that USPS had ever issued to date. He was awarded 3 US patents and one international patent. Randy retired from Northrop Grumman after 30+ years in 2010 as a Senior Engineer, never having been lulled into a management or senior leadership track--always dedicated to the design and manufacture of equipment and systems. Randy's professional career, substantial as it was, was secondary to his music career. He began piano lessons at age 8 and joined his first band, The Sounds of Time, at age 16 in 1968. By 1972 he would start the Top 40 cover band Epilogue which, by 1976, gave way to the Motown/blues/oldies sounds of Bobby & the Believers. By the 1980’s, B&B was a staple at colleges, festivals, the Preakness infield, galas, clubs and concert venues, having shared stages with Zim Zimmeral, the Village People, the Four Tops and the Drifters. The groups Randy played with is too long to list but ran the gamut from classical to jazz, pop, rock, concert, orchestral, theatrical, religious, and experimental. He ventured into and maintained a regular stint composing music for video and film and produced a few albums from Electric Christmas in 1977 to Dark2Light twenty years later which received air play in the Baltimore region courtesy of Towson State University’s radio station. He has a composed a number of original orchestrations, including “Thomas Pointe Suite (for woodwind quintet)” which was released on a compilation album produced by the Annapolis Maritime Museum in conjunction with the Chesapeake Music Institute in 2004. One group he played with worth mentioning was his cousin Kevin Brooks’. His time with Them Eastport Oyster Boys included an appearance on Maryland Public Television sponsored by the Oyster Recovery Program. Randy took an interest in the sponsor and began a volunteer relationship with the Oyster Recovery Program, using his boat to survey and report on oyster beds in the Chesapeake Bay and its estuaries. This relationship started about the same time as his retirement from Northrup Grumman and lasted for 11 years. It was, in fact, how he spent his last day—a beautiful day out on the water which he loved. Among the things he loved besides design and the water and which dovetailed with his love of music, was Landsowne Christian Church (Hull Memorial) where he was organist from before his 16th birthday to the Sunday before both his 69th birthday and his death. Randy was a pilar of the church having served as Deacon, Board Chairman, Treasurer, Property Chairman and most recently as Secretary to the Board of Directors. His contributions extended to the Disciples of Christ Church Regional Office, programs at the Disciples’ retreat at Bethany Beach, DE where he conducted music workshops (as well as back at Lansdowne CC). Also back at Lansdowne Christian Church, Randy undertook the immense project of replacing the church’s original Hammond pipe organ to an electric model. No longer functional, Randy was free to refinish the countless brass pipes to a brushed nickel-like finish and he reorganized them in a beautiful arrangement that revealed an historic stained-glass window. The result remains acoustically and visually stunning. Randy was also responsible for designing and installing a system to automatically ring the church’s bell, which had been moved in 1952 from a tower to a stone base which served as both a foundation for the bell and bulletin board. Having long been silenced due to the removal of it’s clapper, the new system replicates the tone, is programmable and can be operated from the same electric organ Randy had previously installed, and was dedicated as a memorial to Randy’s father Vernon Neilson, a lifelong member. For all his professional, musical, and other unmentioned accomplishments, Randy’s joy was perhaps unsurpassed by the day just weeks ago when he escorted his daughter Samantha down the aisle to be wed on 4/3/2021. Visitation will be held at the locally-owned Loudon Park Funeral Home, Inc., 3620 Wilkens Avenue, Baltimore, MD (21229)on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 from 10 am until 12 noon. Funeral services will begin at 12 noon. Interment at Loudon Park Cemetery. Those desiring to do so, may make a contribution in his memory to the Oyster Recovery Partnership https://oysterrecovery.org/donate/ www.loudonparkfuneralhome.com To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Randall Neilson, please visit Tribute Store
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