RANDY LEE KARNS
Randy Lee Karns passed away on Saturday, September 15, 2012 at the age of 65. He is predeceased by his parents, Coye and Genevieve Karns. Randy is survived by his loving wife, Jackie, of 34 years; daughter Lori Karns and her husband, Matt Spitz, of New York City; daughter Kelly Karns and her fiancé, John Gardner, of San Francisco; brother Gerald Karns of Lead, South Dakota; and brother Larry Karns and his wife, Rickie, of Spearfish, South Dakota.
Randy grew up in the small gold mining town of Central City, South Dakota and graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1969, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Immediately after graduation, he started his accounting career at Arthur Andersen & Co in Los Angeles, CA. He worked his way up in the ranks from a Staff position in 1969 to Manager in 1974 and in 1980 he was admitted to the Worldwide Partnership. In 1982 he co-founded and became the Managing Partner of the Hawaii Office of Arthur Andersen. In the 30+ years he was there, Randy opened doors for hundreds of others. Whether he was helping existing clients, meeting with business leaders in the community, or mentoring aspiring young accountants, Randy’s leadership, integrity, and business acumen were critical in making Andersen one of the most well-respected accounting firms in Honolulu. In 2002, Andersen shut its doors, but not before Randy conceived of and led the reinvention of the Firm by acquiring the Hawaii practice, retaining its employees and clients, and creating a new practice currently known as KMH LLP. Under Randy’s leadership, the Hawaii office of Arthur Andersen is the only surviving office worldwide.
Throughout his career, Randy lead, mentored, and achieved. At the end of the day, that made everyone around him successful. The reputation he built and lifelong friends he has made during his career are a testament of his character and success. Randy recognized that education, hard work, and integrity were pillars to his success and as a result, he strove to pass these values on to his daughters and other young accountants and mentees.
Randy enjoyed all sports whether he was a participant or an observer. He played high school football, basketball and was an avid skier. Randy enjoyed collecting wine, but found even more pleasure in sharing a glass with family and friends. However, Randy’s true passion was music. To Randy, “music gave a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” (Plato) He loved to listen to vinyl records and had an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz albums and musicians. Most of all, he loved playing his trumpet each summer alongside his daughters and lifelong friends in the Northern Hills Community Band in Deadwood, South Dakota. This was his 50th year playing in ‘The Band’. His wife, Jackie, was always right there cheering them on and Randy was quick to credit Jackie for her unwavering support of both his career and the upbringing of their daughters. He spoke with pride, thankfulness and love of how she would read to Lori and Kelly every night. It was just one example of the bond and love they shared.
Randy will always be remembered with great admiration as a leader in the community. He was a person of high integrity, extreme thoughtfulness and widespread generosity. Randy was a loving husband, father and friend.
To honor Randy’s request, there will be no funeral service.
To continue Randy’s legacy of mentorship and community leadership, an endowed scholarship fund at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa to support students pursuing a degree in accountancy will be established in his honor. Memorial gifts may be sent payable to “UH Foundation” with a note “Randy Karns Memorial Scholarship Endowment for Accountancy” to UH Foundation, P.O. Box 11270, Honolulu, HI 96828-0270 or you may give online at www.uhfoundation.org.