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Randy Stevens

Losing Steam, a tribute in photos

More than 30 years, a friend to radio listeners in the Upstate - When he got up a head of steam, Look Out.


We tried to keep going, but on Saturday, we just ran out of steam.

Randy “Steam” Stevens was remembered Saturday as a radio journalist, a friend to the underdog, one of those who held the flag in tribute to others, and all-around good guy.     

The South Carolina Patriot Guard Riders posted:


Passing of Randy “Steam” Stevens


It is with heavy hearts that we inform you of the sudden passing of our former Vice President of Captains, Randy “Steam” Stevens. Randy was not only a dedicated member of our organization but also an inspirational leader whose guidance and passion were instrumental the formation and growth of our organization.

With years of experience in many roles and a true embodiment of “Riding with Respect”, Randy set a remarkable example for all of us to follow. His commitment to our cause and his unwavering dedication to making a positive impact will be deeply missed.

During this difficult time, let us remember Randy for his contributions, his leadership, and the countless lives he touched. As we mourn his loss, let us also honor his legacy by continuing to uphold the values he so passionately believed in.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Randy’s family and loved ones as they navigate through this challenging time.


National Board of 


Patriot Guard Riders

Gray Funeral Home 


Obituary for Randy

“Steam” Stevens

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Bobby Randall Stevens. He went by Randy but also answered to Steam, Mighty Whitey, Man of Steel, or “Hey, A------!” He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and pillar of our community. Randy left us too soon and with a void that cannot be filled. (He was a big man.) 

Randy Stevens, 65, of Whitmire, SC, and formerly of Laurens, SC, was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident in the early morning hours of May 10, 2024. He succumbed to his injuries but he was not in pain. 

Randy was born February 1, 1959 at Laurens County Hospital. He graduated from Faith Christian School in 1977 and attended Lander College and Atlanta Broadcast Institute. Randy worked as an EMT and paramedic in Laurens, SC, and in Atlanta, GA. He then owned and managed Laurens Insurance Agency and was a vital member of the team at WLBG. He was an active member of the South Carolina Patriot Guard Riders, Laurens County Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Laurens, Laurens Lions Club, Laurens Humane Society, and many other community projects. He never slowed down. He lived life in the fast lane. 

Randy was a respected talk show host, commentator, and reporter. He used his platform to engage in meaningful conversations, spark thought-provoking debates, skewer ALL the politicians, and generally, just piss people off. His insightful words and steadfast commitment to presenting what was important to Laurens County will make a lasting impact on all who tuned in…or didn’t…or acted like they didn’t. 

He was so passionate about the Patriot Guard. He found a role that combined his love for the open road and his insurmountable respect for the men and women of our Armed Forces. Over the last 19 years, “Steam” served in many positions of leadership including Ride Captain, State Captain, Regional Captain, and two terms of service on the National Board of Directors. He was very influential in getting the state organization off to a strong start and later shared his dedication with the entire country. Although he never served in the military himself, he rallied the troops and led the charge, honoring our nation’s fallen heroes with dignity and respect. At the drop of a hat, or helmet, he was there. 

He was an animal lover. His love for dogs knew no bounds and his dedication and advocacy for our four-legged friends led to the opening of the Laurens County Humane Society, where his legacy of love and compassion continues to thrive. Boy, did he care deeply about that mission also. 

But above all, he was a loving grandfather, father, and husband, the foundation of his family and the center of their world. His unwavering love, guidance, and support nurtured his family and created a bond that will transcend time and space. He was a source of wisdom, humor, and unconditional love. His absence leaves a void that can never be filled. (Again, he was a big man.) 

Randy was predeceased by his stepfather, Merle Bailey, and uncles, Jimmie Collins, David Collins, and Charles Collins. He is survived by his dear, loving mother, Doris Bailey, of Laurens; wife, THE REDHEAD, Melissa Thomas Stevens of Whitmire; sister Jan Overstreet (Rock) of Laurens; son, THE CAPTAIN, Joshua Stevens (Courtney) of Greenwood; daughter, THE SUGARPLUM, Rachel Reed (Josh) of Greenville; stepson Nick Norris (Brittany) of Whitmire; stepson Brandon Norris (Michelle) of Whitmire; grandchildren, Princess Elowen, “George” Jetson, “Bugaboo Jack Jack” Jackson, Landyn, and Irys; nephew Robbie Overstreet (Tiffany); nephew Matthew Overstreet (Alisha); great nieces and nephews; Aunt Shirley Coats Hildebrand of Waterloo; Aunt Sybil Collins Martin (Dale) of Hartford, CT; Uncle Gerald Collins of Sandy Springs. He also leaves behind a whole community of young people (some of whom now have young’uns of their own) who knew he loved them. He worked tirelessly to show up for so many because he loved being a Daddy. 

We thought Randy was invincible. He was a force of nature. As we mourn the loss of this great man, let us also celebrate the life he lived, because HE REALLY LIVED. Rest in peace, Randy “Steam” Stevens. You were a man of integrity, kindness, and tons of good-natured mischief. You will always be Laurens County’s favorite asshole. The man, the myth, the legend. Godspeed, sir, and we WILL take care of one another. We promise. Thank you for everything. 

Randy Stevens’ Celebration of Life will be held at 1400 on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at the gymnasium at Laurens District 55 High School, 5058 US-76, Laurens, SC 29360. The family will receive friends immediately following the service. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the South Carolina Patriot Guard Riders ( or to the Laurens County Humane Society, PO Box 1600, Clinton, SC 29325.. 

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” - Gandalf 

Gray Funeral Home of Whitmire is assisting the Stevens family with services.

You could bet that when Randy covered a meeting of the District 56 Board of Trustees, more than likely, this first article about that session for WLBG on-line would be about the money. The board receives a monthly ledger and Stevens as the meeting’s reporter would pick it apart, to monitor how the taxpayers’ money is being spent.

District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields shared these comments with the State Board of Education, as the organization’s chairman:

“But for me, this month  is about a very special day, Memorial Day. This day is a commemoration to those who “gave their last full measure of devotion” to their country-- our country, the United States of America. 

“Last Friday, as Terri and I were preparing for our older daughter’s wedding here in Columbia, I received the devastating news of the tragic death of Randy Stevens. Randy was the best of all things American. He worked for the local radio station in Laurens County, WLBG, and covered our school board meetings. He never missed a word because he recorded our meetings.

“Randy was also a leader of the Patriot Guard Riders--a motorcycle group who travel across the state honoring deceased veterans, especially those time forgot.

“Randy died in a motorcycle accident on his way to work at WLBG Friday morning.  Randy loved veterans, the local animal shelter (and the dogs likely to be put down), and his country.  You see, America is chock full of quality citizens, like Randy. They live their lives in a pursuit of making life better for others, quietly and without fanfare.

“This year, may we take more than a moment to remember the phrase “Freedom isn’t free…it is bought with the blood of dedicated service men and women.”

Commenting on a post by former Clinton City Manager Frank Stovall, O’Shields also wrote:

“Randy was the one constant at Distrct 56 Boadr Meetings. He asked good, probing questions.

“Honestly. I can’t believe he’s gone. Randy was quiet, unassuming, a lovely man with a propensity for the underdog. He wanted the truth ... not mumbo jumbo ... just what was the truth.

“I loved seeing him, because to me he represtned everything good about America. The determination, the patriotism, the honest ‘no-holds barred’ news reporting.

“I know when I die I have a few people I really want to see, but Randy moved near the front of the line. I’ll hug him and he’ll say, ‘Now was that really mecessary/”

“Randy was a man chisled out of the best of what America is meant to be.”

Colleagues and friends, retired Chronicle Publisher Larry Franklin and Stevens solved the problems of the world during some long Clinton City Council executive (closed-door) sessions:

“I never called him Steam. I’m not sure how he got that nickname, but it came from part of his life I wasn’t part of, so I didn’t use it. Most of the time I called him Raaaaandy, the way Elmo did when he would call in with football picks.

“Randy Stevens and I covered hundreds of Clinton City Council and School District 56 board of trustees meetings together. We spent hundreds of hours waiting impatiently while city council was in executive session, But, we refused to leave before council came back because we wanted to see if they were going to take any action - even though both of us had to get up at the crack of dawn thirty the next morning.

“He had to come from Whitmire to Laurens the next morning to be on the air at 6 a.m. More often than not, riding his motorcycle. 

“During executive sessions, I would write my city council story because I wouldn’t have time in the morning. Randy would hold court for those waiting impatiently with us. I would try to block out the chatter. Fat chance. It was always good for a laugh or two.

“Politically, Randy and I were at opposite ends. But we respected each other’s opinion and the right we had to disagree and still be friends - something rare todaty.

“We had many things in common - we both loved the Gamecocks, we both loved our red-headed wives, we both loved our children and grandchildren, we both loved our mamas, we both though government should be conducted in the open.

“I didn’t get to hear his radio show that often. I was already at work when he went on the air at 6 a.m. But I heard it often enough to know he provided a forum and a voice much needed in Laurens County.

“He asked the tough questions. He didn’t back down. And he couldn’t be intimidated.

“His voice is silenced now. Many will miss Steam. Others will miss the Man of Steel. I will miss my good friend and the many, many substantial conversations we had.”

Randy’s wife Melissa took to the mic on April 13 in the last hour of his morning show to talk to State Manager Emil Finley and Randy’s radio audience.

She said she wanted to express, “how much all of the listeners meant to Randy. How much he loved doing this show. It was his baby, as of April 1 this year it was the 30 year anniversary, and he told me this year, ‘I just want to make it to April first, and he did.’”

The morning of the wreck Melissa said he was alert and responsive and he was asking questions. “I fell to pieces and he told me, ‘Calm down. I’m okay,’ I said, ‘You know, motorcycles are done, we’re done, we’re selling them,’ and he said, ‘Don’t tell me that.’ And in order to shut me up, he told me to get his phone and call you, Emil, to tell you he couldn’t come in.”

Finley remembered that on April 1, 2009,  about 10 til 5 (a.m.) he got a call that Randy had tackled a golden retriever. Melissa corrected, “a gold retriever tackled him, he had injuries from that he just got over; this time his injuries were mostly internal.”  

She said, “He died doing what he loved and I can’t take that from him - all I can do is preach safety, wear your gear.”

She and Emil remembered that the day Melissa’s mom died, Randy was coming home at 11 a.m. to be with him when a deer hit him outside of Clinton.

Melissa used her time on the radio as a teachable moment. She preaches Randy’s words to motorcyclists, Wear a helmet, wear a jacket and pants (no shorts). I’ve got asphalt art on my leg and it hurts and you don’t get over it easy.”

“I need to be the one to address his listeners,” Melissa said, “because they need closure as much as I need closure, and I just felt I need to do it.”

Emil remembered Randy’s affection for first responders. “He was a paramedic in Atlanta,” Melissa said. “He did some things I would never want to do as a nurse.” 

She said he and Randy have had some “amazing adventures” and left the listeners with a verse, “God will work everything to the good for those who love Him.”

She said, “Just be kind to each other, that’s all they need to do; and wear your gear, please be careful out there, please be careful. He preached that.

In addition to his work on Good Morning, Upcountry, a Randy Stevens program, Town Hall, is available on YouTube.

Melissa’s final message referenced his Patriot Guard Riders’ nickname: “When he needed to blow steam, he would blow steam; and you better look out, he would move forward. In the words of Randy Stevens, ‘Y’all, take care of one another.’”

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the South Carolina Patriot Guard Riders ( or to the Laurens County Humane Society, PO Box 1600, Clinton, SC 29325.