Regina Randall, 89, west-side bar owner

April 08, 2005|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Regina Randall, retired owner of a West Franklin Street bar, died of congestive heart failure Sunday at FutureCare Homewood. She was 89 and a resident of Baltimore's Otterbein section.

Born Regina Keyes in Baltimore and raised on St. Mary's Street in Seton Hill, she received a sixth-grade education in city public schools.

She worked at Excelsior Cleaners in Edmondson Village for nearly 40 years. In the evenings, she was a barmaid at an Elks Lodge on Madison Avenue and later at the former Paca House near Lexington Market.

In 1972, she opened her own business - a bar she named The Place. Usually wearing a strand of white pearls and pearl earrings, she served her customers beer, wine and liquor miniatures.

"It was a cozy place, almost like being in someone's club cellar," said Stanley Bush, her son-in-law, who played jazz records there on Wednesday nights. "It was a neighborhood bar, but not in a neighborhood as such. She was a people-minded person, and she had a million friends. She was not formally educated, but she was smart."

Family members said she worked six days a week, from opening to closing, and greeted her patrons by name.

"That bar was something she wanted to do herself," said a granddaughter, Fredrica Regina Grant of Northeast Baltimore. "She was an independent, self-motivated woman who worked hard throughout her life."

Her 1929 marriage to Earl Thomas "Reds" Penn ended in divorce. She then wed Stanley Thomas Randall, who died about 25 years ago.

Mrs. Randall retired in 1992.

She attended Left Bank Jazz Society functions and organized weekend excursions to New York City for theater and jazz events.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at New Psalmist Baptist Church, 4501 Old Frederick Road, where she was a 30-year member.

Survivors also include three daughters, Grace Wilkins-Grant, Regina Simmons and Katherine Ann Bush, all of Baltimore; six additional grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and eight great-great-grandchildren.

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