Remembering Lost Brothers

Bob Nissly, E’59

Robert “Bob” F. Nissly, Ann Arbor, MI, Age 83 died Thursday, May 20, 2021, at his residence. He was born October 7, 1937, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the son of Arthur and Mary (Forbes) Nissly. Bob was employed as the President of Michigan Ladder Company in Ypsilanti for 45 years and served as a Past President of the American Ladder Institute. He had a love for his hometown and gave hours of his time to many Ypsilanti organizations including being a member of the Ypsilanti Rotary Club, member of Young President’s Organization, active member of Chi Psi Fraternity, former Board member and President

of Ypsilanti Savings Bank, member of the Ypsilanti 20 Club and Board Member of the Gilbert Resident. Bob was a man with deep Christian Faith which was evident by his active attendance at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and also attending St. Joseph’s Chapel @ St. Joseph’s Hospital. Fishing was a great passion for him especially when he was spending time on his boat named “Happyniss,” as well as taking others out for charter fishing trips. He is lovingly survived by his longtime companion, Marcia Harrison; his children: Rob Nissly and David (Heather) Nissly, John D. (Cyndi) Harrison, Tom (Gina) Harrison and Scott (Nadine) Harrison; 12 grandchildren; 6 great grandchildren; one sister, Mary Jane (Richard) Addison; many nieces and one nephew. He was preceded in death by his parents. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Gilbert Residence, 203 S. Huron St., Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197 or donate at (www.gilbertresidence.com)

Reverend Cory Randall, E’57

The Rev. Chandler Corydon “Cory” Randall passed away on Apr. 16, 2021. Born Jan. 22, 1935, in Ann Arbor, MI, he was the son of the late Frederick Stewart and Leta Madeline (Snow) Randall. He grew up in Kalama- zoo, MI, and in Duluth, MN, but he returned to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan on a baseball scholarship. Despite full-time work and active membership in Chi Psi, he somehow managed to carry a full load of classes, earning an A.B. in History in 1957. He then studied for the priesthood in the Episcopal Church at Berkeley Divinity School (later part of the Yale Divinity School), obtaining an S.T.B. degree in 1960 and later an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Yale in 1985.

He was ordained a deacon by Bishop Crowley in 1960 and a priest in 1961. Randall met his future wife, Marian Archias Montgomery, while he was a seminary student at Yale and she was an undergraduate at Cornell. He was fond of recounting that story, telling over and over of the moment when he walked across the room to introduce himself, feeling as though he’d been struck by lightning, not even able to feel his feet on the ground, already certain that this was “the one.” He did manage to get a date later that weekend, and they married on July 2, 1960, just days after his ordination. Years later, when asked in a job interview for St. Peter’s, Del Mar, California, what his greatest asset was, he responded, “My wife.” After 60 years of marriage, he was still eager to affirm that assessment.

Following ordination, he and Marian moved to Cincinnati, OH, where he entered Hebrew Union – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, earning a Ph.D. in 1969. His time there gave him a deep grounding in Old Testament studies and a strong sense of ecumenism between Judaism and Christianity. Between 1960

and 1965, he was curate of Grace Episcopal Church in College Hill, Cincinnati, where he served an apprenticeship under its rector, the Rev. LeRoy Hall. The latter instilled in him an appreciation for a lay-empowered parish and the so-called commission system, through which members of the congregation had a voice in church governance. It would become the hallmark of his career.

From 1964 to 1966, he was a priest-in-charge of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Addyston, OH. He enjoyed his work with the Cincinnati Community Action Committee during these years as well. Randall moved his family to Richmond, IN, to serve as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church from 1967 to 1971, during which time he was an assistant professor of Old Testament Studies at Earlham College. There, putting the lay ministry program in place, he increased attendance dramatically, encouraged charismatic involvement in church work, and invited a variety of community groups to use its facilities.

Working in civil rights towards eliminating redlining was of particular importance to him. After earning a regional reputation as a reformer and leader, Randall received a call to become rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Wayne in 1971. As he had at Richmond, he transformed the ministry of the church, creating commissions, inviting lay participation and women to serve on its vestry and preach from its pulpit. He welcomed girls to serve as acolytes, and he opened the communion rail to all baptized Christians, saying, “This is God’s altar; it does not belong to Episcopalians.” Randall worked to build the endowments of the church. He entered the building on the National Register of Historic Places, the first church in Fort Wayne to be so designated. He undertook two extensive restorations of the structure. He invited Homebound Meals to have an office there, and he also hosted many guest lecturers who helped initiate many ministries, including healing services. He was also involved extensively in the Diocese of Northern Indiana, chairing its Commission on Ministry from 1973 to 1987 and also serving in Diocesan Council and the Greater Cathedral Chapter.

During his time in Fort Wayne, Randall volunteered in many ways to the community. He served on the Board of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Fine Arts Foundation, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, and the Quest Club. He added to these duties by agreeing to serve as Commissioner of the Fort Wayne Parks Commission, the Indiana Criminal Justice Planning Committee, the Indiana State Judicial Qualifications Commission, and president of the Fort Wayne City Plan Commission. While on the Parks board, he and others were instrumental in creating Johnny Appleseed Park and developing the trail system known as the Rivergreenway. He insisted that the Ewing Street Bridge over the St. Mary’s River be widened to allow for pedestrian traffic. In 1977, he was instrumental with others in founding Canterbury School, which met initially in the classroom buildings of the church. His family recalls those early years as an exciting, challenging time together; in fact, the 1979 – 1980 school year saw all three daughters in attendance and Marian on the faculty, with Cory just around the corner in the office.

In 1988, Randall left Fort Wayne to become rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar, CA, serving until 2000. While there, he led the expansion of its Parish Hall and added a library, nursery, and youth room. He and his wife retired to Bloomfield Hills, MI, where he served as Theologian-in-Residence at Christ Church Cranbrook before returning to Fort Wayne in 2012, becoming Rector Emeritus of Trinity Church and teaching classes on the Old Testament. As a life-long enthusiastic supporter of the University of Michigan, Randall helped to recruit players for its sports teams, later conducting both the second marriage and the funeral of his long-time friend, Bo Schembechler. He was also an avid genealogist, a strong supporter of the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library, and he delighted in identifying distant cousins among his friends. For a time, he served as national chaplain of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. He led many pilgrimages to the Holy Land, had a deep knowledge of its historic sites, and had friendships among the Orthodox clergy and patriarchs there. He was also widely known within the national Episcopal Church for his extensive circle of friends and contacts, his ecumenical work, and his leadership in implementing lay-empowered ministry in the parishes he served. When revisions were underway to the Book of Common Prayer in the 1970s, he and another priest were responsible for reworking the language of the Decalogue, especially the third commandment, “You shall not invoke with malice the Name of the Lord your God.” He joked that he and God shared co-authorship.

Randall is survived by his wife, Marian; daughters, the Rev. Sr. Sarah Randall, SSM of Duxbury, MA, Elizabeth (Patrick) Delaney of Fort Wayne and Rebekah Randall of Mishawaka; grandchildren, Corey, Carter (Sarah), Riley, and Molley Delaney; great-grandchildren, Liam and Charlotte Delaney; brother, Stewart (Emily); many nieces, nephews; and Godchildren. He was also preceded in death by his brother, Harry (Lillian).

One thought on “Remembering Lost Brothers

  1. What an excellent review of all accomplishments attributed to my classmate Cory Randall. We were roommates at one time. Our fathers became good friends. Chi Psi was the essence of the U of M. My mother and father were graduates of “The Big U”.

    Reunions here in Phoenix are attended whenever and bring back memories of the Lodge and the closeness of fellowship. Return visits to SE Michigan always include a meal or two with Brothers.

    “Never loose touch” is my motto when thinking of Chi Psi!

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