Obituary: Naomi W. Randall

Published: Sunday, May 20 2001 12:00 a.m. MDT

Her Songs Sung Worldwide By Millions

Naomi Ward Randall is known around the world by millions of people for her song: I Am a Child of God. She was a community and religious servant, demonstrating love and com-passion. She traveled widely throughout the world, to the islands of the Pacific, to Europe, and Asia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She was a leader, writer, and teacher of those who work with children. She wrote church hymns and lesson manuals, Bible picture stories, and lessons focusing on improvement of family relations. Her children's picture story series ran for 13 years about a boy, Barnabee Bumbleberry, and his dog Blinker. Her writings were published in The Children's Friend magazine. Some of these writings were published in foreign languages.

Naomi passed away due to advanced age, May 17, 2001, in La Mesa, CA, USA where she resided. She was 92.

Sister Randall, born Oct 5, 1908, grew up on a dairy and cattle farm in the home of loving parents, Lorenzo and Mary Barker Ward in rural North Ogden, UT the third of six children. Her husband, the late Earl A. Randall, was prominent in the industries of food processing and banking.

The lyrics of the noted song I Am a Child of God, came to her as an answer to prayer. After receiving an assignment from her church leaders to write a new song for a Primary General Conference, she went home contemplating the assignment, and retired after personal and family prayer. In the early morning hours she awoke and the words began to form in her mind. "That sounds pretty good," she thought. She immediately got up and began to write the words. She read them over, offered a prayer of thanks unto God and retired. In the morning she contacted the leader who gave her the assignment. Her leader enthusiastically approved the words and said: "Send them off:" to the composer, "These words give me goose bumps."

This song, I Am a Child of God, has been translated into more than 140 languages, and is sung throughout the world. Many individuals have expressed the deep personal meaning of the song in their lives. One example is a returned prisoner of the Vietnam war who cited that his repeated recitation of the words to this song was the comforting influence that sustained him during more that two years in captivity. The song inspires children and adults to know their Father in Heaven and to help them understand their own divine nature as children of God. The message helps them make plans to live a good life that will help them return to His presence for the eternities.

The chorus to the song resounds the plea: "Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday." The four verses paraphrased emphasize: I am a child of God, He has sent me here, and my needs are great, help me understand His words, rich blessings are in store, if I but learn to do His will, I'll live with Him once more. The song is based in the scripture Romans 8:16, "We are the children of God."

Sister Randall served 27 years on the Primary General Board of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the last six years in the presidency as counselor to the president. This worldwide organization was established to teach children about Jesus Christ. Her work consisted of worldwide travel, teaching, and offering instruction to groups of teachers in the Primary organization. She prepared conference programs as well as giving talks in general church meetings, including talks in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. She also served on the editorial board of the Primary's magazine, The Children's Friend. The basis for her work stems from developing answers to the questions often avoided in today's world by theologians: Where did we come from? Why are we here on earth? Where are we going after this life? Our troubled society could be better off if all people would accept and treat each other as if we are all children of a loving Father in Heaven.

Into her nineties Naomi continued to compose new song lyrics and poetry and would still recite poetry learned as a child. She is a treasure and is revered by those who know the words to the song, "I Am a Child of God." Naomi Randall is truly one of the great ladies of our time.

Her parents, brothers and sister, and her dear husband, all preceded her in death. Recently she resided with her daughter in La Mesa, CA and greatly enjoyed the association of being near her family, especially her ten great-grandchildren. Surviving are her daughter, Phyllis R. Oakes, son-in-law, Dr. Thomas W. Oakes; and three grandsons, Kenton T.,

Robert E., Mark R. Oakes, all of the San Diego, CA area.

Interment is in the Ben Lomond - North Ogden, UT cemetery. Services Tues. May 22, 11 a.m. at El Cajon Stake Center, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1270 S. Orange Ave, El Cajon, CA.

Memorial service Thursday. May 24, 1 p.m. at Cold Water Stake Center, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 770 E 2100 N, North Ogden, UT.

Personal stories and experiences about the influence of the song "I Am a Child of God" are being collected. Email: mystory@iamachildofgod.org. Mail submissions to Oakes Family 10303 Centinella Dr. La Mesa, CA 91941.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation payable to: Naomi W. Randall Poetic Arts Scholarship Fund, 1946 John Towers Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020.

Funeral Directors, Lindquist North Ogden Mortuary.

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