Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Randy Fleming remembered as quiet, genuine

by SAM KUSIC skusic@indianagazette.net on October 17, 2013 11:00 AM

Randy D. Fleming, who helped his family build one of Indiana County’s most recognized Christmas tree farms, is being remembered as a quiet and genuine man who worked hard to produce quality trees.

Fleming, 58, of Armstrong Township, was killed Tuesday evening when a stream bank at his farm gave way under the weight of his tractor, causing it to roll over and pin him underneath.

A father of three, Fleming was an Indiana Area High School graduate and spent his life working with his late father and brothers at their Christmas tree farm. He belonged to the Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, an organization in which his family was heavily involved, and had served as secretary.

Fleming also was one of the people who helped launched the involvement of local growers in the Trees for Troops program, through which live Christmas trees are donated to members of the armed forces stationed in the U.S. or abroad.

It was through the bureau and the program that Penny Perman, former executive director of the Indiana County Tourist Bureau, got to know Fleming.

Perman recalled that Fleming was quiet but had a big heart.

“He enjoyed helping people,” she said. “He was just a very genuine guy,” she said.

And Dave Johnston, of Johnston Nurseries in Creekside, said Fleming was every bit the family man.

He also said Fleming contributed much to the Christmas Tree Growers’ Association.

“For everybody in the group, we would all agree that he had good ideas,” Johnston said.

Another member of the association, Secretary-Treasurer Ron Mancabelli, said Fleming was a hardworking grower who tried to raise quality products.

And he succeeded.

“He knew what he was doing, and he did it well,” Mancabelli said.

Mancabelli said that in any business there are the big-idea people and the people who figure out how to execute the big ideas. Fleming was the latter, he said.

“He was a nuts and bolts guy,” he said.

Fleming leaves behind a wife of 34 years, Paula; their sons, David Fleming and his wife, Shirley, of Belle Vernon, and Dustin and his wife, Crystal, of Dublin, Calif.; and three — soon to be four — grandchildren.

It’s been a rough stretch for the Fleming family, which lost their father, Arthur “Roy” in December 2011. A little less than a year later, Fleming’s daughter, Janessa, was killed in a traffic accident in Westmoreland County.

Visitation will be from 1 to 4 and from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at James F. Ferguson Funeral Home Inc., Blairsville. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at SS. Simon & Jude Church, Blairsville. His obituary appears on Page 4.

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