Letter: Honoring the loss of a brother

Published 7:55 am Thursday, February 14, 2019

Last week some very sad news was announced in the passing of Randy Kos (Kos) AHS ‘76. What makes this news so sad for a lot of us that knew him is that there is more to the story of his passing than just another Austinite having passed away. For many who may not have known Randy, like some of us did, this was a loss of a “brother.”

Over the years all of us have seen the world change in drastic ways; Austin has not been immune to its own set of changes. For those that follow the Facebook page by Dan Cafourek or who are members of You Know You’re From Austin Minnesota When…there is the constant reminder of the strong historical tradition that has made Austin the city it is today. However, there is some history that I would like to share that you may not find in those pages or would even know if you did not know who Randy Kos was and his brothers.

This group would not just form some superficial high school friendships, those that can be recounted over and over by millions of people who graduated from high school and couldn’t name more than a handful of classmates for the rest of their lives. This was the beginning of a group who may not have known at the time what the future would hold, but over time it became evident the bonds they were forming were not going to be broken, but strengthened through their resolve to be brothers. For something this special to form it takes effort, persistence, commitment and the glue to hold it all together—and that glue was Kos. There were countless times throughout high school and beyond that the laughter heard when people were gathered was because of Randy. He was truly the funniest person to be around.

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There are countless stories of trips and gatherings the brothers would take over the years, and when you heard about these you would inevitably here Kos’ name in the retelling of some story that involved laughter. The brothers counted on it and Kos would always deliver. But now the stark reality has set in that the brothers have lost one of their own. There will be a void on the next outing to a cabin up north; there will be one brother missing. I am sure that despite the missing brother there will be some retelling of stories involving Kos. When the news broke that Kos had passed away, online tributes began forming on Facebook. Everyone remembers what a great person he was and how it was way too early for the brothers to lose one of their own. As in any family when someone passes away, it always seems that when the family reunites there will be plenty of reminiscing being done.

When Mike Buechner, ’76, recently posted a picture on Facebook taken by Steve Blazer (Blaze) of the brothers together at a cabin up north, it was noticeable that this friendship that once started many years ago in the little town of Austin, Minnesota, was more than friendship; the brothers would go on to form a lifelong bond that would last for more than 47 plus years. As Blaze would state on the Facebook post, “Lifelong friendships are the best!” The picture of the group consisted of Dan Astrup, ‘76, Chris Astrup, ‘76, Brad Anderson (Meathead), ’77, Steve Blazer (Blaze),’76, Mike Buechner, ’76, Bob Hakes (Haker), ’77, Scott Longueville (Pudge), ’77, Scott Morem (Moose), ’76, Mark Williamson (Willie), ’76 and Randy Kos (Kos), ’76.

This is what makes Austin such a wonderful place to be from; it is about being family, it is about a group of men that called themselves brothers. Now the brothers will let time heal their loss and will continue to celebrate his life when they get together again as brothers from Austin.

R.I.P. Kos. You will be missed but never forgotten.

Michael (Whale) Wagner

Los Angeles, California