Walter (“Andy”) Dorney Andrewsen
(1921 – 2017)
Our beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather passed away on February 18, 2017 in Port Charlotte, Florida. He fell while walking, breaking several bones, and died as a result of the complications arising from neglect during his stay in a rehabilitation center there.
Andy was born October 31, 1921 in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina in a military home, his father having served in World War I in France. His parents, Florence McKnew (Dorney) Andrewsen and Walter Andrewsen, moved sometime later to Martinez, California, where Andy grew up through high school. Andy was a strong, handsome young man with leadership skills that exhibited themselves throughout his career. In his school he was student body president and served as an officer in ROTC.
Having a career in the Army as an officer was Andy’s dream. He focused his sights on going to West Point following high school. Everything he did was to ensure he qualified entrance there. He studied hard, got good grades, served in leadership, played sports, etc. When the time came for him to begin application for West Point, he was required to take a physical exam. He was in excellent shape and health and expected no problem there. However, at that time the physical requirements were very stringent and Andy’s eyesight in one eye was barely off the 20/20 requirement. He was rejected. This was a crushing blow to him, as he had wanted and expected to attend West Point since he was a young boy. So, barely 18 years old, he joined the army anyway as a private in the engineering corps. World War II started before long and Andy eventually spent time in Europe pushing Hitler’s troops eastward until the end of the war. At the end of the war he was responsible for clearing the roads in Nüremberg while the famous trials were being held.
During the war Andy’s leadership earned him the rank of major in his early twenties, among the youngest such officers. This was quite an achievement considering he did not go to West Point and started at the bottom. Later he attained the rank of Lt. Colonel, his rank at retirement.
After the war Andy was assigned to help with reconstruction in the Philippines and later Okinawa. It was there in Okinawa he met the girl of his dreams, Margaret Eloise Bird, who was there visiting her parents during a college break. Her parents were also helping with the reconstruction of Okinawa. Andy was smitten and proposed to her. They were married in October of 1948 and honeymooned in Shanghai, China. A year later after coming stateside, their son Lance Allan Andrewsen was born in Ft. Benning, Georgia.
Almost still newlyweds, the couple was separated during the Korean Conflict when Andy was deployed to Asia. Following this deployment, the family moved to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where their daughter, Kathy Eloise, was born. Andy and family proceeded to spend several years there, moved on the Ft. Hood, Texas, and subsequently to Ft. Brooke, San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was assigned as Deputy Post Commander of the military base there.
In 1960, Andy had one year left in the service so he moved his family to Keystone Heights, Florida, while he completed his final year back in Ft. Hood, Texas. After his retirement, he returned to Keystone Heights and immediately enrolled at the University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida) majoring in mathematics. He took classes year-round and graduated in three years with his bachelors degree. He became a high school math teacher. In 1965 he got a teaching contract in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but while looking for a home to move the family he changed his mind at the last minute. Instead he decided the family would move to Lehi, Utah, and he would finish his Santa Fe contract. He joined the family in the summer of 1966 in Lehi.
Andy taught math in Salt Lake City, teaching at Bryant Jr. High School and West High School. He retired from teaching after 10 years. He was a very beloved teacher and a favorite of many students. Always the “colonel” he decided he better retire when slamming a mouthy student against the wall became politically unacceptable.
During his last few years teaching Andy bought 50 acres of land in eastern Fairview and built a cabin/house on it. He was a man of many talents.
In 1974, Margaret and Andy were divorced. Andy spent the next years with wanderlust, moving to Prescott, Arizona, then Stansbury Park, Utah, on to Whidbey Island, Washington, and ultimately to Cottonwood Heights, Utah. In his final years, he bought a small mobile home in St. George, Utah, and spent much of his time there until he and his daughter moved to Florida in 2013.
Andy loved the outdoors. He loved to hunt or just go out and hike in the hills and mountains wherever he lived. He rode his Honda 250 all around the hills and trails in Prescott.
He was very generous and giving. He gave generously to his children and grandchildren, helping each grandchild with funds for post-high school education. Each great-grandchild received some funds from grandpa when they were born to start a savings account for the child. (He used to joke that maybe his grandkids should stop having children.)
Andy was preceded in death by his father, Walter Andrewsen, step-father, Harvey Heudebourck, mother, Florence Dorney Heudebourck, and brothers, Stan and Art Andrewsen. He is survived by his son Lance (Trudy) and daughter Kathy (Rick Anderson), seven grandchildren, and nineteen great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for friends and relatives will be held Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at the chapel at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park at Camp Williams (17111 Camp Williams Road Bluffdale, Utah). Services will be at 11 a.m. with a gravesite honor guard service following the brief chapel service.