Obituary – R. Randall Rollins

Aug 27th, 2020 | By | Category: News, Obituaries

R. Randall Rollins, a highly respected leader and influential figure in Atlanta’s business and philanthropic communities, passed away on Monday, August 17, 2020 at Emory University Hospital. Mr. Rollins was 88 years old and had suffered a short illness.

Mr. Rollins, known as Randall and affectionately referred to as “Triple R,” was born in 1931 and grew up with his parents and grandparents on the family farm near Ringgold, Georgia. His first job, which he recalled fondly, was straightening old nails so that they could be reused. In the eight decades that followed those humble beginnings, Mr. Rollins never stopped working, and the tremendous success he achieved in business earned him countless recognitions, including a place of honor on the New York Stock Exchange Wall of Fame. And yet throughout his life, Mr. Rollins remained a private and unpretentious man who readily acknowledged his humble beginnings. When asked what he did for a living, he often answered with a simple, “I am a farmer.”

Following high school, Mr. Rollins received an early business education while working for his uncle, John W. Rollins and his father, O. Wayne Rollins in their various start-up businesses in Delaware. Mr. Rollins later enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. Immediately following his military service, he married the former Peggy Hastings and resumed his business career working for his uncle at Rollins Leasing and his father at Rollins Broadcasting both located in Wilmington, DE.

As Rollins Broadcasting expanded, Mr. Rollins grew with it, working to grow the family’s radio and television business and acquisitions throughout the country. In a move that shocked the business world and would ultimately be described as the first leveraged buyout in American business history, Rollins Broadcasting purchased Orkin Pest Control in 1964 and soon diversified into other service industries. Following a corporate move from Wilmington to Atlanta, Mr. Rollins ultimately headed this new business and for many years juggled his Orkin responsibilities with his brother Gary while growing the media business, successfully expanding into outdoor advertising and cable television. Working alongside his father, Randall was instrumental in the successful transformation of the original broadcasting company into a more diversified service and media business which earned him a position on Rollins’ Board of Directors. Later as Rollins, Inc. entered the oil field service business, Mr. Rollins also assumed responsibility for this new venture.

In 1984, Rollins, Inc. split into three separate public companies: Rollins, Inc. (pest control), Rollins Communications, Inc. (Broadcasting and Outdoor Advertising), and RPC Energy Services, Inc. (oil and gas services). Mr. Rollins became the President and Chief Operating Officer of Rollins Communications as well as the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Operating Officer of RPC Energy Services, Inc. Following the death of his father in 1991, Mr. Rollins became the Chairman of the Board of Rollins, Inc. In 2001, Mr. Rollins became the Chairman of Marine Products Corporation following its formation as a spinoff from RPC, Inc. Mr. Rollins also oversaw the operations of the family’s numerous private companies and investments, including Hydradyne, LLC. and Rollins Ranches, LLC.
Mr. Rollins’ strong work ethic, innate curiosity and relentless focus on continuous improvement closely followed his father’s entrepreneurial spirit, which created an enduring American success story that spanned several generations. For almost 50 years, Mr. Rollins worked alongside his younger brother and valued confidante, Gary W. Rollins. The two brothers strictly adhered to the values instilled in them by their parents and grandparents while carving out successful careers. Eventually, Mr. Rollins’ children and grandchildren also joined different aspects of the Family’s business and philanthropic efforts.

Throughout his career, Mr. Rollins repeatedly stressed the tremendous value of loyal employees and dedicated businesses associates “who believe in me and supported me, they have made me look better than I really am, every step of the way.”

Mr. Rollins’ strong moral compass and expansive business knowledge allowed him to steer many successful public and private companies in a variety of industries. Grounded in principles he learned at an early age, Mr. Rollins worked to improve every business in which he was involved, whether large or small, established or start-up. Mr. Rollins was always willing to consider something new, and if he became involved, he was always determined to leave it better than he found it.
Mr. Rollins’ business insights and vast experience also made him a valued member of a number of public company Boards of Directors, including SunTrust Banks, Gold Kist, Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment, and Dover Motorsports. His guidance was also valued on the Boards of Trustees of several educational institutions, including Emory University, Berry College and the Lovett School, as well as the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center Fund. He participated in a number of philanthropic endeavors, which have deeply impacted a wide range of educational, health care and other community efforts. Notable among these beneficiaries are Emory University, Berry College, Young Harris College, the Rollins Child Development Center, Winship Cancer Institute, Beebe Healthcare and Peachtree Road United Methodist Church where he was an active, long-time member.

Through his philanthropic efforts and participation on many Boards of Trustees, Mr. Rollins clearly valued education, even though he never acquired a college degree. Mr. Rollins was deeply honored and humbled to accept the honorary Doctor of Humane Letter degree from Emory University in May 2015.

In spite of his success and wide-ranging responsibilities, Mr. Rollins never forgot where he came from and what his background taught him. Mr. Rollins was born in a farming family, and he returned to the outdoors and his rural roots whenever he had the opportunity. He loved the Rollins Family ranches and their cattle operations, and he often relished the easy camaraderie of a quail hunt with family, friends and business associates.

Above all else, Mr. Rollins was driven by love and loyalty towards his family and he especially enjoyed the 50 year tradition of the always entertaining annual summer family trips.

Mr. Rollins remained true to the tenets laid out by his father and mother that the most important things in a child’s life are faith, morals, integrity, honesty, hard work, perseverance and education. His own life served as constant reminder of those principles, and his death leaves a void most closely felt by those who loved him and those that knew him best.

Mr. Rollins was preceded in death by his parents, O. Wayne and Grace Crum Rollins, and his daughter, Rita Anne Rollins. He is survived by the love of his life, Peggy Hastings Rollins, his wife of 67 years, and his children, Richard Rollins, Pamela Rollins, Robert Rollins, Timothy (Andrea) Rollins, Amy Rollins Kreisler (Nevin), his brother Gary W. Rollins (Kathleen), 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The Scoop sends our deepest sympathies to the Rollins Family.


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