Larry Randa

Larry Randa played a big role in the golden era of suburban newspapers and in a “golden era” of suburban sixteen-inch softball. Now the Community Relations Director for Valley View Community Unit District 365U in Bolingbrook and Romeoville, Randa is a former senior executive for LIFE Newspapers, a family-owned media group that published multiweeklies in more than twenty West and Southwest suburban communities. In 1982, while Managing Editor of the La Grange Park-based Suburban LIFE Citizen, he and park district directors from La Grange and Hodgkins launched what was to be known as The LIFE Area Classic. Randa, who played sixteen-inch softball for fifteen years in Western Springs and was the President of the Western Springs Community Softball League and also played in Riverside for several years, made sure the newspaper provided outstanding coverage of every single game played in that first double elimination “Tri Towns Classic.” The tournament matched three teams from La Grange and Hodgkins and two teams from Western Springs. A year later that coverage expanded as The Tri Towns Classic became The LIFE Area Classic and teams from Pleasantdale were added. By 1985, The LIFE Area Classic featured thirty-two teams from sixteen towns from Cicero on the east to Downers Grove on the west. For the next five years, opening weekend showcased all thirty-two teams on fields in La Grange and Downers Grove with the championship game in North Riverside, often before a crowd of several hundred people. The last several LIFE Classics were among the first local sporting events to be taped and re-broadcast on cable TV. The list of great softball players who played in The LIFE Area Classic is extensive. And the coverage LIFE Newspapers provided was extensive as well. Larry and his wife, Debbie, live in Burr Ridge, Illinois. They have two children – Jennifer Reyes and Jill Tester and one grandson, Jacob Reyes.