Our hearts are heavy to share the news that Ransom “Randy” Barrett, who worked in Mail Services for the last four years, passed away November 10. He was 60.

Born January 17, 1961, in Paradise, Barrett graduated from Los Molinos High School in 1979 after four years of excelling in football, basketball, and track and field. He attended Chico State before working for Grubers Concrete Silo Company, covering farms from California to Texas.

In 1983, Barrett was hired as a letter sorting machine clerk for the US Postal Service, which drew him back to California. He gradually worked his way up to mail clerk, window clerk, letter carrier, supervisor, and midtown station manager. He eventually served as postmaster in Chico and Oroville before retiring after 34 years.

After just a few short months, he was eager to return to work and accepted a job to deliver mail at Chico State in 2017. Those along his delivery route thought highly of him, noting how he was always positive and upbeat, and used his wonderful sense of humor to joke with employees and get them to smile.

“After 34 years in the postal service, upon retirement Randy really missed the letter carrier position the most. It was a social position where he met and visited with many nice people daily, getting outdoors and great exercise. It was actually fun and fairly hassle free. That is why he came back to Mail Services,” said longtime friend and colleague Bob Francis, a supervisor in Facilities Management and Services. “Here he was able to meet a great number of wonderful people and make new friends while doing what he loved—delivering mail. He loved Chico State and the people he worked with and saw every day.”

Francis has known Barrett for more than 40 years, and they enjoyed a multitude of outdoor adventures together through the decades. Barrett and Francis were in the first SCUBA class at Valley Scuba when it opened in Chico and once they were both certified, their shared hobby led to numerous adventures diving in Point Arena, Albion, and Santa Barbara, among other destinations. 

Mail clerk Diane Manna has many fond memories from her time working alongside Barrett, noting he loved rock ‘n’ roll and often sang while they worked. He was also a fierce fan of Los Angeles sports teams, especially the Dodgers, and when Mail Services moved to its current location, he decorated the inside of the garage door to look like the Dodgers logo. He also loved pizza, had a sweet tooth, and made really good cookies, she said.

Several years ago, Barrett initiated Remembering Everyone Deployed (RED) Shirt Day on Fridays to honor veterans, and Manna said wearing her red shirt on Fridays will always remind her of him.

“He was always so helpful, fun to work with, ready to work, and never complained, even when he didn’t feel well,” Manna said. “I will miss his laughter and kindness.”  

Many of those who had the chance to interact with him each day—even as a just brief mail stop—shared similar sentiments.

“Seeing Randy every day on campus was one of the best parts of coming back to work in person,” said Gina Sims, administrative support coordinator in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “We first connected years ago through talking about our daughters and basketball, and I could always count on his witty sarcasm, and friendly teasing, to make me laugh. Our conversations really brightened my day.”

For the last 34 years, Barrett also officiated football and basketball games at levels ranging from pop warner to college. He was also the NorCal basketball officiating assignor for the last several years and found great pleasure volunteering for Special Olympics basketball games and mentoring rookies on and off the field.

Lead groundsworker Gary Walters met Barrett through sports officiating more than 20 years ago and was immediately impressed by his passion and professionalism for the work. Barrett was the first person in this section to attend a state championship game as a white hat, which is an incredible honor, and the Northern California Officials Association recently recognized him for his 30-plus years of service.

Officiating can be a time-consuming and thankless job, Walters said, but sports cannot happen without it and Barrett’s passion to ensure youth could compete kept him officiating year after year.

“He is probably considered one of the best high school basketball and football officials in this area,” he said. “He went to every meeting, was a mentor to a lot of young officials, and he held people to high standards. When you knew you were working with Randy Barrett, it made you a better official.”

Barrett is survived by his wife and high school sweetheart, Annmarie, daughters Lindsey Anne Barrett-Quiring and Ashley Marie Barrett, sisters Deena Hiner and Kris Keezer, and numerous other extended family members. A celebration of life will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, December 2, at the Chico Area Recreation District Rose Garden at 545 Vallombrosa. In lieu of flowers, the family is working on starting a fund to support his passion for NorCal Youth Sports.

The University flag will be lowered Thursday, December 2, in his memory.