Girod remembered for his passions, politics

Randy Girod (second from right), a former Kosciusko County Republican Party chair and prosecuting attorney, died Friday in Grand Rapids, Mich. He is pictured at the 2020 GOP Hall of Fame dinner with (L to R) Rex Reed, Mike Miner, Jean Northenor, Mike Gavin, Aaron Rovenstine, past GOP chairs, and Mike Ragan, current chair. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
By David Slone

WARSAW — Randy Girod, a former Kosciusko County prosecuting attorney and Republican Party Central Committee chair, died Friday in Grand Rapids, Mich., and he’s being remembered by those who knew him as a loyal friend, art lover and a passionate and humorous person.

Current GOP chair Mike Ragan confirmed Girod’s death. He said Girod was traveling back from Canada when he died in Grand Rapids.

“He was just a great friend,” Ragan said. “A great friend of the party, a friend of mine and a friend of others.”

Girod was first elected by precinct committeemen to serve as the county’s GOP chairman in March 2009, according to a previous Times-Union story. He replaced former chairman Aaron Rovenstine, who served in the position for two four-year terms. Girod resigned as party chair in July 2016 due to his mother’s diminishing health and he wanted to focus his time to assist her, the story indicates.

Ragan was elected by a caucus to replace Girod as the party chair Aug. 3, 2016, Ragan stated. “Randy was a staunch reporter for me and spoke at the caucus on my behalf,” Ragan said.

Girod was elected prosecutor in 1990, took office in 1991 and served one term from 1991 to 1995, according to Austin Rovenstine, Kosciusko GOP secretary.

As Girod was serving on the county election board, and has been serving in that position as the Republican representative for some time, Ragan will have to appoint Girod’s replacement.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor and former Prosecuting Attorney Dan Hampton recalled, “Randy and I were introduced to each other 35 years ago by then Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Miner. At that time, Randy was the chief deputy prosecutor and I had just been hired as a deputy prosecutor. A few years later, Randy was elected as the prosecuting attorney and appointed me as his chief deputy. Little did we know that we would become life-long friends.”

He said Girod was “thoughtful, compassionate, humorous and had a brilliant mind. Randy was extremely knowledgeable about the intricacies of politics – at every level of government. Randy was a person who would put you at ease; and he listened and truly cared about people. He was a talented public speaker, who always found the right words for the occasion; and he also had a photographic memory, and would recall people and stories from the past with ease.

“Randy loved, and was a dedicated member of, the Republican Party, always ready to help the party wherever the need arose. Even greater was Randy’s love for his family, and his love of a global family that he embraced though his travel throughout the world, where he immersed himself in the local culture and made friends of the people he met along the way. I would be remiss if I failed to mention his love of the arts, and his longtime support as patron of our own Wagon Wheel Theatre, where he rarely missed a show.”

Hampton said the community has lost a dedicated public servant. “To those who knew him well, we have lost a loyal friend, trusted advisor and selfless supporter, who encouraged and brought humor to those around him.”

Jean Northenor, also a former GOP chair, said, “Randy was a very unique individual and just dearly loved people. I don’t think he probably had an enemy in the world. He loved people and people loved him back.”

She said Girod was very good at serving as chair. He had some different ideas, but they were good ideas and some are still in effect today.

“He was a great guy. I’m just positive he didn’t have an enemy in the world. He wanted to help you if you needed help,” she said.

Austin Rovenstine said he’s known Girod “forever.”

“My dad was in politics, so I was always around him,” Austin said. Girod got him started in politics by appointing him as vice precinct committeeman in 2012. “He gave me my first political office as vice committeeman for Harrison 1.”
Austin said Girod was a great uniter as chair. Girod was the party chair during all of the upheavals during the Tea Party movement and Girod was able to win approval of all of those involved in the Tea Party who initially were against him. Austin said Girod was “magnanimous and kind.”
“He was a friend and we will miss him,” Austin said.

Lynn Howie, who served on the Republican Central Committee with Girod and knew him for over 25 years, posted on her Facebook page, “What a great loss to Kosciusko County as former prosecutor, former GOP chair and more importantly friend to many, especially to me. … He will be missed. It leaves a big hole in my heart. He had become my theater, political and dinner buddy.”

Via Facebook Messenger, she also stated, “He was one of a kind and a true friend. Not many of those left in this world.”

She also talked about how he cared for his mother and sister until their deaths.

Indiana Secretary of State Diego Morales posted on his Facebook page, “Sidonia and I join the family and friends of Randy Girod in mourning his passing. Randy was an inspirational community leader, as well as the Kosciusko County Republican chair. He was a dear friend and will be greatly missed. While we grieve his loss, may we also rejoice in his heavenly reward.”

On the Kosciusko County Republican Party Facebook page, they posted, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our former chairman, Randy Girod. Randy served as our prosecuting attorney from 1991 to 1995, as our Republican chairman from 2009 to 2016, and he spent many years on our county election board. He was a greatly respected public servant and a greatly loved friend. He will be dearly missed.”