MARIETTA — Randy Dene Nelson of Marietta was born April 5, 1948, in Hollis, Okla., to L.G. and Rudene Horton Nelson. He passed from this life Feb. 4, 2017, in Ardmore, at the age of 68.

Randy grew up in Hollis moving to Ardmore where he graduated from high school in 1966. After high school, he attended East Central University in Ada before enlisting in the Army in 1967. He served overseas in Turkey before being honorably discharged in 1970. While in the Army, he received a Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and a commendation for Sharpshooter (Rifle). After being discharged from the Army, he began his 26-year career with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Upon graduation from the Academy, he was stationed in Guymon and later in Ardmore. He served as a trooper for 20 years and then transferred to the size and weights division, otherwise known as motor carrier safety, where he worked for six years. During his time in the OHP, he worked on many special assignments the most memorable being guard duty immediately following the Oklahoma City Bombing. After retiring from the OHP, he began his second career as a full-time carpenter working with Bill Flanagan and eventually retired from carpentry as well. He continued to do special projects for family and close friends including building the home of Linda’s dreams and remodeling his daughter and son-in-law’s home.

Randy married the love of his life, Linda Thrash, on June 2, 1972, at Felt, Okla. He was a devoted husband whose greatest legacy is his family. His favorite role other than husband was Papaw. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, watching them play sports, playing games with them, taking them to the donut shop, teasing them, riding horses with them, and teaching them inappropriate jokes. He was as ornery as the day is long, loved a good prank, and to horse and joke around with people. Randy loved horses and team penning with Linda. He was a fan of westerns. He liked western movies, western TV shows, books about the Old West, and history. For a man of few words, he was hard to beat at Trivia. He was deeply loved and respected by many far and wide.

Survivors include his wife, Linda of the home; daughters, Randi Lyn Gotti and husband, Joe, of Hutchinson, Kan., and Brandi Pierce and husband, Kevin, of Leon, Okla.; six grandchildren, Rylee, River, Lane, Luca, Brady and Ryan; brother, Rodney Nelson and wife, Patti, of Duncan; brothers-in-law, Robert Thrash and wife, Ardith, Timothy Thrash and wife, Janice, and Bruce Thrash and wife, Cathy, all of Felt; sister-in-law, Judy Dunn and husband, Butch, of Boise City, Okla.; as well as numerous beloved aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

Randy was preceded in death by his father, L.G. Nelson; his mother, Rudene Nelson; and his brother-in-law, Ronald Thrash.

Memorial services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, in Marietta’s First Baptist Church under the direction of Flanagan-Watts Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Marietta. Officiating will be Rodney Nelson, Pastor Shane Norton, Shane Wolfe and Bro. Brett Alberda. A flag presentation will also be made by an OHP honor guard. Time of visitation for family and friends is set for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. this evening at the funeral home.

Honorary pallbearers are Bill Flanagan, Dickie Minyard, Kent Martin, Gene Wallace, Chance Tynes, Wayne Allison, Kevin Pierce and Joe Gotti.

The family suggests a memorial contribution in Randy’s name to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life Love County, Ardmore Children’s Shelter, or your favorite charity.

Online guest book: wattsfuneralhome.com