Randall Wesley Proctor Sr., 91, of Raleigh and Carteret County, died July 14, 2020, at home.
His funeral Mass was Friday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. A graveside service with military honors followed at Oakwood Cemetery.
Randy was born Sept. 7, 1928, in Salisbury, the son of Frank O. and Grace H. Proctor. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1949 with a bachelor of science in commerce. Randy also has an honorary doctorate from St. Augustine’s College.
He lost his parents by the age of 13 and was raised by his aunt and uncle, Gwendolyn and William Trivette.
He began what became a lifetime career in insurance after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, joining the Equitable Life Assurance Society in 1950. His career was interrupted when he was called to serve in the Korean War. Randy served a two-year deployment from 1951-53. While in Korea, Randy was awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious achievement. If you asked him about his service, however, he would tell you he “was simply a clerk.” But what a clerk.
Before leaving for Korea, Randy met his future wife on a blind date in Washington, D.C. When Ruth asked him what he planned to do with his life, he replied he wanted to become the chief agency officer for his company, and he did, eventually managing a sales staff of more than 12,000.
She knew immediately she would marry him.
Marry they did after he returned in 1953, and Ruth remained the love of his life for 67 years. Three children were quick to follow, and the family moved from Washington, D.C., to Nashville, Tenn., as Randy’s career continued to grow. He returned with his family to North Carolina in 1966, becoming agency manager for the Equitable’s Raleigh Agency.
Of most importance in his life were his wife, his family, his church and the Equitable. Though Raleigh was his official home for the majority of his life, the world was his canvas and he was most comfortable on the pavement.
Randy began his career as a sales agent in Washington, D.C., and rose to become chief of the national sales force when the Equitable was the third largest insurance company in the world. He set an early trend by commuting from Raleigh to Manhattan, N.Y., where he kept an apartment on Central Park South. He first retired from the Equitable in 1985, but was asked to return and serve as president of Equitable International. His commute then became global, with Randy working in Tokyo, New York and London. Upon finally retiring in 1992, Randy was president of the Equitable’s southern retiree association. He fought successfully to safeguard the long-earned benefits of the company’s retirees. He also spent time developing several neighborhoods in Rowan County after retiring.
Randy’s philanthropic contributions were diverse and bold. He served as a trustee and vice chairman of the Board of St. Augustine’s College. He was a founding member of the Opera Company of North Carolina, which today is the North Carolina Opera.
Randy helped facilitate much of the growth of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, serving for many years as its finance officer. He also provided years of scholarships for Catholic seminarians preparing for priesthood. He was a Knight of Malta, whose purpose was to aid the sick and infirm at Lourdes, France. He remained the intrepid traveler until his mid-80s. Whether in his own boat, The Ruthless, or cruising abroad on liners, he was an avid lover of the water. It is believed there are few cruises in the world he did not take. It is also believed that he has visited more countries than not. The Ruthless took many journeys up and down the eastern seaboard, often with his and Ruth’s Raleigh flotilla friends. Most memorably though, were his trips from Morehead City to Florida.
Randy is survived by his wife, Ruth Rhodes Proctor; two sons, Randall Wesley Proctor Jr. and wife Jessica Kozma and Richard Eugene Proctor and wife Sarah, all of Raleigh; five grandchildren, Juliana Proctor and husband Ben Stepp of Asheville, Emily Proctor Franc and husband Peter of Portland, Ore., Dr. Rhodes Short and husband Travis of Lewisburg, Pa., Wes Proctor of Houston, Texas, and Grace Proctor of Raleigh; and a great-granddaughter, Penelope Franc.
Randy was preceded in death by a beloved daughter, Catherine Ruth Proctor; his sister, Ann Proctor; his parents and his aunt and uncle.
Memorial donations may be given in his name to the Catherine Ruth Proctor Scholarship at St. Mary’s School, 900 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC 27603, or online at sms.edu/support/make-a-gift.
Arrangements are by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St. Raleigh, NC.