Randall Eric “Randy” Dopp, 67, died Saturday, May 9, at the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical Center while awaiting a liver transplant after a long struggle with an autoimmune liver disease.
Randy was born May 27, 1952, in Wenatchee, Washington, to Matthew “Bud” and Janice Dopp. He and his younger sister lived with their pastor dad and their mom in several states. When his dad became a summer camp director the family lived and worked at camps in Alaska, Yosemite, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Randy, who had learned how to water ski when he was five, became a legendary water ski instructor and tournament-level slalom skier. He also enjoyed playing basketball, riding motorcycles, and snow skiing. When he was a high school freshman he and two school buddies rode their bicycles from central Massachusetts to Montreal, Canada and back. Randy learned how to work hard. When he was 14 he started milking cows at the Atlantic Union College dairy farm in Massachusetts, getting up at 4 every morning for the early shift, sometimes falling asleep while riding his bicycle to work. Another job was driving tractor trailer trucks across the country; he made 52 round trips in 18 months. Randy graduated high school from Shenandoah Valley Academy in 1970 and studied for several years at Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland, interrupting his education for a year to make a sailing trip from Annapolis, Maryland, to the Bahamas, along with his cousin Ed Dopp and his friend Rik Mitchell. But Randy was born to fly. His dad was a private pilot, and Randy developed an interest in an aviation career. In 1986 he was hired by Piedmont Airlines, which later became part of UsAir and then American Airlines. He loved his work, becoming an airline captain and also working on Capitol Hill to strengthen air safety legislation. He retired from American Airlines in 2017. Randy used his sailing skills to guide friends on bare-boat yacht charters in the Caribbean and in Tahiti, and he enjoyed participating in the Glad Tidings mission sailboat project in Micronesia, bringing health care and spiritual hope to remote islands. He dreamed of returning there again after receiving a liver transplant. He also enjoyed helping the youth Pathfinder Club at his church, taking his RV to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to support their participation in several national camporees. He always enjoyed working with young people.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Matthew and Janice Dopp.
He is survived by his wife, Marie Dopp, his son, Tyler Dopp, his daughters Ruth and Erika Pabalan, his sister Terrie Aamodt, his niece Erica Aamodt and nephew Alex Aamodt, and numerous cousins.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, May 16, at Trahan Family Funeral Home of Milton. A viewing will be from 1:30 until the funeral begins at 3:00 p.m. At a later date there will be an online virtual memorial service. See the www.TrahanFamilyFuneralHome.com for a link to the virtual service. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, friends consider a memorial contribution to one of these organizations: the Pensacola Seventh-day Adventist Church Pathfinder club at https://www.universitypkwy.org/; the Glad Tidings Mission boat project of the Guam-Micronesia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists at https://www.gmmsda.org/projects/mission-boat-to-the-marshall-islands; or the United Network for Organ Sharing at https://unos.org/.