Howard Randolph McLean

November 12, 2021

Howard Randolph (Randy) McLean, 75, died in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 12, 2021. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Linda Busby McLean; his daughter Caroline McLean Tolleson and her husband Matt of Atlanta; his son Zachary Busby McLean and his wife Rachel of Charlotte; his grandchildren Matthew Gale Tolleson, Jr, Frances McLean Tolleson, Cullen Fitzroy (Fitz) McLean, Lachlan Davidson McLean; his brother James Michael (Mickey) McLean and his wife Charlotte of Nashville; his mother-in-law Carolyn Hulme (Gigi) Busby of Sparta, Tennessee; as well as numerous beloved in-laws, nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, Frances Hammond McLean, and James Howard (Mac) McLean; and father-in-law Robert Kenneth (Bob) Busby.

Randy was born on June 20, 1946, in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. He grew up in Nashville, the youngest of two boys and had a very happy childhood. Later in life he would describe his upbringing as “idyllic 1950’s America.” Always serious about his studies, Randy also loved the family dogs, building model cars, and his high school job bagging groceries at the neighborhood grocery store, Green Hills Market. In 1964 Randy graduated from David Lipscomb High School where he was the center on his basketball team and was named the valedictorian of his class. He matriculated to the University of Tennessee where he was Phi Beta Kappa and a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. In his senior year, he met his future wife, Linda Busby. Randy graduated from UT in 1968 with high honors and was awarded an academic scholarship to The University of Virginia School of Law. Randy and Linda were married in 1970 in Sparta, Tennessee after Linda’s graduation from UT. Upon Randy’s law school graduation in 1971, he was admitted to the Virginia State Bar, and the North Carolina State Bar. The couple moved to Greensboro, North Carolina where Randy joined the North Carolina division of the Federal Estate and Gift Tax Attorney’s group for the Internal Revenue Service. A few years later Randy and Linda moved to Charlotte which is where they settled and raised their family. Randy made many deep friendships with his immediate coworkers and his “worthy adversaries” in the Charlotte legal community. He was well known for his quick wit and his enjoyment of sparring with his friends over sports, politics, and local events in Charlotte. He was an avid Tennessee Vols football fan, and a UVA basketball fan. He was also a charter season ticket holder for the Carolina Panthers and attended games with friends and family for years. Randy was a tremendous fan of Jeopardy and watched it religiously. Had he ever been a contestant, we are certain he would have given Ken Jennings a run for his money!

Most importantly, Randy was a family man. He stated as his objective from the beginning that he intended to have time to participate in his children’s lives as they were growing up and he more than achieved this goal. He was known for attending all of his children’s numerous sporting events with Linda. He was a longtime head timer at the swim meets at Charlotte Swim and Racquet Club, where he served on the board, and a beloved Sunday School teacher of second grade students at the Myers Park Baptist Church for many years. When the children were young, he drove the morning carpool to school every day. There were many road trips to Tennessee to see both beloved sets of grandparents in Nashville and Sparta, and numerous vacations with both sides of the family. Living in Charlotte, the family was far from their roots, but it was important to Randy and Linda that their children grew up knowing their extended family.

As his children grew, Randy took the time to remain a large part of their lives forging friendships with Caroline and Zach’s friends and their parents. He was always a phone call away with support and advice if needed. He loved both his son-in-law Matt, and daughter-in-law Rachel as though they were his own children. After a stellar 40-year career as a federal attorney, Randy retired from the IRS in 2011 shortly after his first grandchild was born. He enjoyed having the time and flexibility to be a large part of the grandchildren’s lives. In these years there were numerous family trips to DeBordieu, South Carolina. Linda and Randy loved to laugh and in these beach trips the laughter would echo through the house beginning early each morning and lasting late into the evening. As time went on it was harder for Randy to attend every sporting event, but he would keep up by calling each grandchild afterwards for an update. He would keep pictures on his phone and explain something about each grandchild to anyone that would listen. “Randaddy,” as he was fondly known will be sorely missed by his family.

A service will be held in the Myers Park Baptist Church sanctuary at 2:00 PM on Friday, December 10, 2021.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to American Diabetes Association, or to Myers Park Baptist Church.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC; 28204 (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

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  • Babe Nobles

    A beautiful tribute to Randy's life - and what a life it was! I was saddened to read that he had passed away. There are many fond and happy memories of Helen and Caroline on the swim team and their good friendship - as well as ours. Would be a treat to one day play catch up on these past many years. My love and deepest sympathy to you, Caroline and Zach. Babe

  • David Archer

    Linda and family, My heart and prayers go out to you. Randy meant so much to me and I know what he meant to you. If there is anything I can do to help you, the kids or the grandkids let me know. My numbers are still the same. All my love, Dave

  • Glenda Powell

    I knew Randy when he worked at the IRS and I, as an IRS employee, would visit the Charlotte Office. He was always considerate and caring of his fellow employees. He always had time for a friendly word or to give guidance and input into workplace issues.

    My condolences to his family. He was a wonderful person and he will be missed.

  • Wynna Hulme Fitzgerald Bouldin

    Linda, I'm so sorry to learn of your great loss. I'll pray for peace for you and your children. Love, Wynna

  • Janis Mitchell

    I am so sorry to hear of Randy's passing. I know you all loved and adored each other for over 50 years. What a blessing to have had a love like that and a life to share. Just know that you will be in my prayers in the coming days and weeks. If you have time, send me an email. I do not want to lose touch. You have been a friend since our high school days.
    Janis and Charlie Mitchell

  • Dan Caldwell

    I am so sorry to hear of Randy’s passing. He was a very special person. Just knowing Randy’s was truly and honor. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.