Obituary: Luke MacDonald Randall (1964 – 2022)

Luke MacDonald Randall was born on November 14, 1964 to Anne Lyons Lathrop and Peter Runyon Randall in Newport, RI.

Luke was a proud graduate of Middletown High School and attended the University of Rhode Island where he studied English literature, instigated pick up hacky sack games on the quad, and made life-long friends.

Luke Randall was always an artist. He created, he tinkered, he invented, he fixed.

Luke began painting when he was four years old and spent his whole life developing his skills as a fine artist. He was an accomplished decorative painter who founded his company, Pompei Paints, in 1990 after apprenticing with Jim Smart, a renowned decorative painter from England. He went on to paint murals, gold leaf ceilings, and apply decorative finishes to walls throughout Newport, Providence and beyond.

Over the years, Luke became known for his oil paintings and his work was featured in many galleries and museums. His accomplishments as a painter were numerous and he applied the same level of devotion to a multitude of disciplines and crafts. His innate curiosity led him to work with metal, leather, wood, fabric, electronics, and musical devices. His love of music inspired a career in collecting, restoring, and building audio equipment in the pursuit of sound excellence.

In 1992, thanks to Dr. Arthur Wills (Bert), he founded the Hupper’s Five art colony. For the next thirteen years, Luke gathered together a group of artists for a retreat to Hupper Island off Port Clyde, Maine every fall for a few weeks of painting, foraging, clam digging, good food, and lots of laughs.

In 2016, Luke was commissioned to gold leaf the beautiful gates that mark the entrance to the iconic Roofless Church in New Harmony, Indiana. Luke was then invited to be an artist in residence and he traveled to New Harmony in 2017 and 2018 to create, befriend, and gather pecans.

Luke was a member of The Historical Society of Early American Decoration (HSEAD) and was the key note speaker at their 2017 annual conference.

In all of his endeavors, Luke’s charismatic personality, generosity of spirit, and incredible talent drew people to him. Luke was the life of the party and the light in so many lives. His gatherings were legendary: filled with music, dancing, performance art, and the unveiling of his latest inventions. Along his life’s journey he gathered a multitude of friends and a few trusted mentors.

His dedication to his artwork and his intense focus on solving problems through the unparalleled inventiveness of his mind did not take away from his dedication to his family. Luke met and fell in love with Lisa, his wife and partner of 32 years, on Rose Island in 1990. Together they raised their two children, Yelena and Oliver in Saunderstown, RI. A teacher by nature, Luke taught Yelena and Oli to always use the right tools and materials and to keep working until the job was done and done well. Lessons he learned from his own mother and father.

Luke and his brother, Ben, grew up in Middletown, RI, and spent formative time in Berkeley, CA and Alaska. When their younger brother Jesse was born, he joined them in their adventures. As a young man, Luke was inspired by his many months spent sailing in the Caribbean and his travels to Australia. Later he and Lisa visited Venezuela, and Chile, and enjoyed many family vacations in the Yucatan. He was famous for swimming everywhere he went, and braved waters both frigid and questionable.

Luke had the mind of an engineer, the heart of a poet, and the soul of a philosopher. His indomitable spirit was present throughout his life and was evident during his 22-month battle with cancer. Despite the rapid progression of his illness in his last weeks, he made his way out to his back yard studio to finish and sign his final painting. Good job, Lukey!

Luke is survived by his wife, Lisa, their two grown children, Yelena and Oliver; his father Peter Randall and step-mother (aka mother), Ann Frid Randall; his two brothers Ben and Jesse and their wives Natasha and Libby; his in-laws, Meg & Paul, brother-in-law Chris; his nieces Lucy, Kaya, Maddie, and Beatrice and his nephew Max. He is predeceased by his mother, Anne. Luke leaves behind a community of friends, fellow artists, collaborators, and fans.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to WRIU in Luke’s honor. Music had a deep and profound effect on him and he experienced daily joy listening to URI’s radio station.

Photo credit Rick Farrell


Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!