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Randle remembered as Roswell ‘treasure’

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A prominent supporter of the Roswell arts community and the longtime manager of a local deli and collectibles store has died, with friends remembering him as a generous person who took special efforts to help the community and its people.

Brinkman “Brinkey” Randle III, 64, died Thursday in Roswell. He was born in the city on July 23, 1956, to Patricia Ann Randle and Brinkman Randle Jr.

“I think Roswell has lost a great treasure,” said Melinda Mitcham Creamer, who said she and Randle spent Thursday together doing what he loved, cooking and planning menus for a new venture.

Creamer said she had known Randle since the sixth grade when they met at middle school. Randle and her mom, chef Patti Mitcham, also worked together at Tinnie Mercantile Store and Deli at 412 W. Second St., which became Pecos Flavors Winery in 2016. Randle was the manager of Tinnie Mercantile for about 20 years, with Mitcham as its chef for much of that time. Creamer joined as a chef starting in 2014.

“Someone once told him, ‘You are the grumpiest, happiest, most kind-hearted person I know,’” Creamer said, “which I think said it all.”

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According to Creamer and other friends and family, Randle attended Dexter Elementary, Berrendo Middle School and Goddard High School and lived all but a few years in Roswell.

Fellow arts enthusiast and friend Nancy Fleming said that no matter where he went, most of the people he came across were either his friends, acquaintances or relatives.

His family included three brothers — David, Jimmy and John, who has passed away, and foster brother Fidencio Valadez; as well as two sisters, Susie Grant and Martha Morehouse. He had many other relatives, including 10 nieces and nephews.

“He liked to encourage them to do well in whatever activities they were involved in,” said Susie Grant. “He gave them lots of gifts of things he thought would be interesting to them. If he found something at a thrift store he thought some family members would enjoy, he would always buy them for them.”

Grant said her brother was known for finding ways to express care for others, whether stopping by to check regularly on older people, or hiring and training people who had disabilities, or doing whatever he could to help Roswell artists.

Fleming recalled how he would host “bon voyage” parties at his home, taking monetary collections to help people with the next chapter of their lives after their Roswell Artist-in-Residence stint had ended. She said some artists returned to Roswell later because of the support Randle and other art supporters had given.

“They just make a town special, rather than just another town,” Fleming said.

Randle’s roots in the arts were deep and wide. He took art classes as a youth at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, once reportedly seeing Georgia O’Keefe there. In 1970, as a teenager, he worked to set up the Herschell Spillman Carousel at the Spring River Zoo, and in recent years was part of the group working to restore the carousel animals. In the 1980s, he earned a certificate in conservation from the Getty Institute.

He became an avid collector, with a home on West 11th Street known for having every wall covered in artwork, including many portraits of himself that artists had gifted. He also collected Madonnas and other religious icons and artwork.

“He always told me that he was a collector, not a hoarder.’” Grant said. “I always gave him a lot of grief about all the stuff he had in his house. The weirder the items, the more likely he had one — or two.”

He was a founding member of the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Foundation; a longtime member of the Roswell Museum and Art Center Board of Trustees and the RMAC Foundation, where he helped to raise funds for the Bassett addition; and a founding member of the Roswell Area Cultural Affairs Council, which eventually became the Roswell Interarts Organization, or RIO.

RIO has been involved in many local public art projects. Those include improvements to the downtown Reischman Park; the launching of the all-classical music station KHFM that was on air from 1998 to 2018; the saving of the Roswell Motor Supply building from demolition, which then was purchased and turned into the Hi-Q events venue; and the creation of the Miniatures & Curious Collections Museum on North Richardson Avenue, where Randle spent many of his Saturdays and would help Fleming when any new collection exhibits were organized.

His idea launched the Soup ‘n Bowl fundraisers held often to support RMAC and other arts groups. He also was a member of the Pecos Valley Potters’ Guild and the Roswell Guild for the Santa Fe Opera. His non-arts work including being a member of the Roswell Centennial Committee and a supporter of 4-H/FFA livestock auctions.

As manager of Tinnie Mercantile, he made sure that it was known not only for its unique food — including a Brinkman Brisket Sandwich — but as a place where local artists and crafters could show their work, organizing about three art exhibits there each year.

His friends and family had been planning a July party to commemorate his birthday, with Fleming saying family and friends have agreed that Brinkman is not about to get out of it. She and Grant said the event instead will become a celebration of his life, with further information expected to be released at a later time.

“The hardest thing was trying to figure out who all we should invite,” said Fleming, explaining that they knew he had been friends with people they were not aware of.

Grant agreed that his relationships were many and meaningful. “If you were his friend,” she said, “you were his friend for life.”

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.