Cover photo for Phyllis Rosanna Randall's Obituary
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1931 Phyllis Randall 2023

Phyllis Rosanna Randall

April 5, 1931 — February 9, 2023

Phyllis Link Randall, age 91, died the morning of February 9, 2023.


Phyllis was born on Easter Sunday, 1931, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to Howard “Curt” Link and Zella (Metzger) Link. She attended Southmont High School where she played basketball in the Girls’ Athletic Association, and where she became interested in theater. She had many childhood friends and often mentioned that of the thirty in her graduating class, twenty-five had been together since kindergarten. After graduating in 1949, Phyllis turned down a full scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh (Johnstown) to attend Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. There she enjoyed acting in plays including “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Berkeley Square” as well as directing a play called “Winsome Winnie.” Phyllis supported herself by working in a college dining hall and grading history papers. She excelled in academics and was soon awarded a full scholarship to the school for her sophomore through senior years. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in the studies of English in 1953.


Phyllis attended the University of Pennsylvania where she obtained her Master’s Degree in English. While at the university, she met her future husband, Dale B. J. Randall, in the library at the card catalog. At the time Dale Randall was earning his PhD in English at the school.


Phyllis and Dale were married in June 1955, and in 1957 they moved to Durham, North Carolina where Dale began work as a professor of English at Duke University. Also in 1957, Phyllis began working for Duke Press. She resigned that full time job in 1958 the day before her first child, Lettie Randall, was born. Her second child, Kenny Randall, was born in 1960. Phyllis continued freelance work for Duke Press from 1958 – 1965. She also earned income by grading papers for the State. In 1966, Phyllis started teaching as an English professor at North Carolina Central University. In 1976, she earned a PhD in English from UNC – Chapel Hill. She eventually retired from NCCU in 1996, after thirty years of service. In retirement she taught Contemporary Drama at Duke University. During her career she authored two books, Women Speaking: An Annotated Bibliography of Verbal and Nonverbal Communication (1982) and Caryl Churchill: a Casebook (1988).


Phyllis loved to read, and was in a local book club for decades. She also continued her interest in drama, and was in a play readers group for decades along with Dale. She loved the mountains and fresh, homegrown tomatoes which were always in large supply in her home garden on University Drive. Most of all, she loved watching her granddaughter, Lettie’s daughter Elaine, grow up, and in later years her grandson, Kenny’s son, Cameron. Many organizations benefited from Phyllis’s quiet generosity, most notably Habitat for Humanity. She also donated her time in many ways including reading books to children at Duke Hospital. Phyllis was a member of Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham.


Phyllis Randall was predeceased by her parents, husband, Dale Randall, brother and sister in law, Myron Randall Sr. and Francis Randall, her brother Ken (Barbara) Link and her nephew George Randall. Phyllis is survived by her children Lettie (Jeff) Anderson of Durham, NC and Kenny (Anne) Randall of Midland, MI; her grandchildren Elaine (Shawn) Edelen and Cameron Randall; and her great-grandson Anderson Edelen. Phyllis is also survived by three nieces Deedee (Jeff) Luttrell, Ruth Ann (Ed Smith) Randall, and Amy (Link) Marmo, and two nephews Myron (Nancy) Randall and Greg (Michele) Link. She is survived by many great nieces and nephews.

The family plans to have a celebration of life for Phyllis in the Spring of 2023. Her ashes will be interred in a niche with her husband, Dale Randall, in the columbarium wall located at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Cornwallis Road, Durham, NC.


The Randall family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences: www.hallwynne.com – select obituaries.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Phyllis Rosanna Randall, please visit our flower store.

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