Jay Randolph Jr., a longtime St. Louis sportscaster who also worked in the golf business, died Friday — just nine days after he announced he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
“I am so crushed to have to tell you that cancer has taken one of my best buddies. Jay Randolph Jr. passed away earlier today after a short, cruel battle,” Dave Greene, a former colleague and pal for decades, wrote on the GoFundMe page he recently established to help with Randolph’s expenses. It already has raised more than the stated goal of $50,000.
“Jay lived an amazing life and we were all so lucky to be a part of it,” Greene added. “Unforgettable times. I take solace in knowing he touched so many lives and made so many people laugh that there’s no way he can ever be forgotten.”
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Randolph addressed his situation a week ago Wednesday on “The Morning After,” a sometimes madcap show that mixes sports with just about anything else the hosts want to discuss. He was a longstanding contributor to the program.
“On October 21 I found out that I had cancer of the liver, I believe predominantly,” he said on the show, which runs from 7-10 a.m. weekdays on 105.7 HD-2 (a high definition channel of KPNT) and other outlets including YouTube. He added that after having more tests he was told he had “anywhere from three to four months to live.”
It turned out to be a much shorter time than that.
“He went so peacefully, it was such a blessing,” Randolph’s brother, Brian, said, adding that Jay Jr. was being comforted by Pathways Palliative and Hospice Care. “There was no suffering, there was no pain. If I could sign up for that, I’d do it.”
He added that family members, some coming from out of town, were able to meet in time to “have a very good goodbye” conversation with Randolph Jr.
Tim McKernan, who owns “The Morning After” and is a co-host, said he is “so grateful that (Randolph) was able to come on the show last week and tell the audience of his diagnosis. In the final week of his life, Jay received thousands of messages and social media posts expressing the appreciation people had for the kindness he showed them in person and for the entertainment he provided over his 30-year career.”
“Jay Junior” as he was known, was the son of legendary St. Louis sportscaster Jay Randolph, now 88, and grandson of legendary congressman Jennings Randolph, who served West Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1933-1947 and the Senate from 1958-1985.
“Jay was very proud of that heritage,” his father said Friday, adding that “this has been a very tough time” for the family. “But what can you do?”
Jay Junior got the most out of his relatively short time on Earth.
On the show he said, “I can’t imagine the shock it would be for somebody (to get this diagnosis) who’s 53 and hasn’t had the unique, distinct opportunities that this 53-year-old has had to enjoy life and be around people like you guys, the radio family, the golf family.”
He worked at multiple radio stations since breaking in in 1992 when the all-sports format made its debut in the market at KGLG (1380 AM). He also was involved with many golf ventures, on and off the air.
And he sure liked to have fun, at work or not.
“Jay made people laugh. He could tell stories like few people can,” McKernan said. “And the audience loved how he was unapologetically who he was. His authenticity came through on the air and in person, and that is why people gravitated to him.
“His ability to tell stories is because he had so many great ones. How many people got to play golf with Michael Jordan and have him talk trash like he did with Jay? And his stories weren’t brags. If anything, he was grateful for his experiences, and that made the audience love him.”
Greene concurred with that sentiment.
“It’s hard not to be sad, but Jr would want us LAUGHING and thinking about the good times,” Greene wrote. “As one of his favorite musicians sang: ‘I’ve lived a life that’s full. I traveled each and every highway. And more, much more than this. I did it my way.’
“Jay did it his way and we loved him for it!”
On his final “TMA” appearance, Randolph was thinking about others as much, if not more, than himself.
“I’ll be all right, I’ll be OK,” he said. “At this point I feel bad for the people that have shared a piece of the fun that I’ve had.”
He is survived by his parents, Jay and Sue Randolph; brother Brian and sister Rebecca; as well as a daughter, Grace; a son, Jennings IV; life partner Amy LaBelle; and former wife, Suzanne Wagstaff.
Final arrangements are pending.