Randy Mann, the eldest of seven brothers and sisters who came of age in Mountain View in the 1960s and 1970s, died from complications resulting from prostate cancer on July 7. He was 56.
Randy, this reporter's uncle, grew up working in the restaurant business and paid his own tuition at St. Francis High School by working as a bus boy at L'Omelette French restaurant in Palo Alto with his father, Emery Mann, who was a waiter and a chef there. Even as a young child in Chicago, he filled in as a restaurant dishwasher, standing on a milk crate, and lived above a restaurant in a house that always smelled like fried chicken.
In high school, Randy was known for his colorful, fashionable clothes, his love of dancing and his popularity with girls. He developed a love for scuba diving and photography, his favorite subjects being sunrises and sunsets. He delivered the Mountain View News Herald on a route that included Moffett Field, where he and his brother challenged sailors to pool games for money. He and his brother Emery lived on their Schwinn bicycles, riding as far as San Francisco and Santa Cruz.
Randy went into the bar and restaurant business and became bar manager at the Odyssey, a popular disco in Sunnyvale. He eventually went into the housing development business for the shorter hours, becoming a superintendent of construction. His happiest moments were hosting holiday family gatherings in his home in Manteca and fishing with his father and son Patrick.
A backpacking trip through the glacial valleys and lakes of Desolation Wilderness left such an impression on Randy as a young man that his ashes will be scattered there, where his father's ashes also rest.
In Randy's final days he gave away all his belongings, made a scrapbook for his son, wrote love letters to his wife Rhonda and asked his mom to make sure that he was always remembered. He was a loyal friend to his family, a man many confided in. The family plans to celebrate his life every year.
Randy is survived by his wife Rhonda Mann; son Patrick Mann; mother Jeanne Mann; two brothers and four sisters; and a dozen nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Emery Mann.
Funeral services are set for Friday, July 15, at 2 p.m. in Lakewood Memorial Park, 900 Santa Fe Avenue, Hughson, near Modesto.