Published on October 30th, 2014 | by Nick Adams0
Vale Randy Nunn
October 30th, 2014 | by Nick Adams
It was the morning of January 24, 2014.
We’d just finished training at the Texas Motor Speedway Club. It had been a punishing, no-holds barred session. It always was with Randy. Explosive push-ups and an outrageous abdominal circuit happened to be the highlights of this day. Our muscles were pumped; our breathing heavy. As usual, the 57-year old had put this 29-year old, and everyone else at the gym, trainers included, to shame.
As we trudged up the steps to retire to the change-rooms and drink our customary chocolate MuscleMilk, laughing about something, I had no idea it would be the last time I would train with a giant.
Fast forward to the early hours of October 30, 2014.
Barely five months after learning his body was riddled with Stage IV renal cancer, Randy leaves this earth and enters heaven.
And leaves his loved ones and friends devastated, and asking the unanswerable questions. Why? How? This quick? Randy- what?
How does a 58-year old man so physically fit and strong get taken? How does a man so health-conscious go? How does a man with incredible mental strength lose his fight in a matter of months?
But most of all: why one of the kindest, most generous, loveliest guys in the world too soon?
Only God has those answers.
And as his death drew closer, Randy drew closer and closer to God.
I met Randy on February 25, 2011.
It’s funny how God works. What turned out to be a personally unpleasant experience months later was the context that enabled me to meet Randy.
It was easily one of the best things that happened to me in America.
That first day Randy took me flying in his little four-seater plane, where I soaked in the sights of Dallas and Fort Worth from the sky.
We hit it off immediately.
When we got back to the hangar, he took me upstairs and showed me his mini-man cave. When I expressed awe at the number of collectible beer signs lining the walls, and stopped in real admiration of a Coors Light one that had “Texas” underneath it, he promptly removed it from the wall, and said, “It’s yours.”
That’s the kind of man he was. He’d give you the shirt off his back, if he had to.
From that point on, Randy and his beautiful, inseparable wife, Maybeth, his everything, generously allowed me to stay in the little apartment they had as part of their hangar, whenever I needed it.
It was the start of an incredible and close friendship.
Randy, Maybeth, Linda, Carlos, Uncle Ray, Kenny, Stevie, Jeff, Lili, the neighbors, all the guys at the store, the staff at the Speedway Club, the girls at Country Chiropractic in Justin- all became family.
Randy and I formed a special bond, because we were both men that loved each other’s big ideas and vision. We were dreamers. We believed in the impossible. We believed in the incredible. We believed in greatness.
Now more than ever, Randy would say: Life is short, live your dreams.
We boated together. We kayaked together.
We trained together. We flew together. We loved drinking Coors Light together.
Randy was the greatest cook I know. Oh, man, could that guy cook. His food had the neighbors flocking. He could grill, too. His food was famous. He loved cooking for others.
Randy was an adventurer. An action-man. He loved diving. He had a license for just about everything.
Talk about funny. Randy had a wonderful, infectious sense of humor.
He loved his dogs. They were his world. In particular, he loved his Ruby, a huge Doberman. She is a gentle giant, just like her master was.
He was a talented musician, and loved performing with his sister at air shows and fly-ins and nursing homes. He loved Linda. So much.
He loved challenging himself. At the gym, in his businesses, everywhere.
In fact, that was his raison d’être. He did crazy things. One year he decided, for example, that he would max out every machine at the gym- in other words, complete at least one proper rep at the maximum weight the machine offered. He did it.
Or casually doing bicep curls standing unassisted on… wait for it… a Swiss ball. I couldn’t make it up. And I’ve got the video to prove it. Or finally managing, after years of squeezing squash balls while driving his red Jeep, to build up sufficient finger strength to master the Jack LaLanne push-up: that’s on one arm, on your fingertips.
It says a lot about Randy that his idol was Jack LaLanne, who at the age of 94, was still exercising two hours a day.
He didn’t believe human potential was capped. He believed it was all in the mind. He always encouraged me to push myself. If you can visualize it, you can do it, he insisted. And he proved it, with his final business venture coming to fruition months before his death, a stunning liquor store called Stir-Ups in Argyle, next to Lone Star.
Physically, and mentally, apart from my own father, I’ve never met anyone that strong.
I loved Randy Nunn.
He was my friend. My brother. My mentor. An inspiration.
Few people have the impact Randy had on your life. You only know what I’m talking about if you knew the man. He was a prince of a man.
The American exceptionalism I write and speak about: it’s Randy Nunn. He was patriotic, charitable, self-reliant and optimistic. He protected and provided for everyone in his world. He had sic’em. Nothing’s more American than that. “Sic’em” was his favorite phrase, and the one I’ll most remember him for.
He was always proud of what his friends achieved. In early August when he was confined in a hospital bed, and knew I was going to be on The O’Reilly Factor, I think he just about had the entire ward, including staff, in his room watching!
To know Randy, is to know Maybeth. This is why my heart breaks for Maybeth, and Randy’s sister, and best friend, Linda. But God will carry them through. Maybeth’s unparalleled strength in the last months is indescribable.
We have no choice but to be happy about the time we spent with him, not sad about the time we didn’t get to have with him. We mustn’t cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened.
It is a devastating day for us; a great day for God.
This world’s loss is heaven’s gain.
I’ve known for weeks the end was coming. But it doesn’t make it that much easier. I’m happy his pain is no longer, but I am sad I will never hear his voice again. Never receive another email. Never give him another hug. Never hear another joke.
But I will honor him.
I will pay on the boundless kindness, generosity and mentoring he showed to me. My American dream would not have been possible without him. And as soon as God gives me the chance, I will ensure his legacy lives on formally- by way of The Randy Nunn Scholarship, or The Randy Nunn Auditorium.
I know right now he’s relieved it’s all over. He’s drinking a cold Coors Light, and stirring a big pot of his famous chili. We weep. But he’s smiling, waiting for us.
Meanwhile, he’s looking for his next Ruby.