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March 24, 2015 (Andy's Birthday)
A Story from Andy's Brother John
January 31, 2000
The plane lurched and her tummy jumped. Flying always made her nervous, but even more so now. She looked down at her waist and wondered if the turbulence made it nervous too. Probably not, innocence can be bliss. It was exciting going home to see her family under these circumstance. She was thankful for having a supportive family, thankful enough to step on a plane and fly. She was happy and the future was promising. The plane lurched and her tummy jumped.
A few weeks later, Andy was hauling in the net. The Sea Clipper was his first gig into the commercial fishing industry, even if he wasn’t hauling fish. He spotted a small bone miraculously caught in one of the thousand knots that made up the net. The bone should have passed through the net, but somehow tangled into the knot. He gingerly untangled it and held it up in the sunlight. It was a beautiful day to be on the ocean, low seas and plenty of sun.
“Ben, I found this little bone stuck in a knot.” Andy turned from the nets and held the bone in the palm of his gloved hand for Ben to see. Ben was the lead NTSB investigator in charge of the recovery of the remains of the crew and passengers of Alaska Airlines Flight 261. Equally important to the charge of the investigator and crew of the Sea Clipper was the recovery of as much of the wreckage as possible. But this bone was as important as anything else they drudged from the bottom of the ocean.
“What do you think it is?” Ben always challenged Andy to try to identify the parts…human and machine.
“It doesn’t quite look like a finger bone, but it’s about the right length. Couldn’t be a toe.” Andy was trying to think of something in another part of the body that might require a small, thin bone. He was trying to think out-of-the-box. “It looks like a chicken wing bone. It’s about the right length, but maybe the salt water somehow made it thinner?”
“Interesting, but the flight didn’t serve chicken wings. That’s a messy food for flying. Give up?” Ben took a gloved index finger and rolled the bone in Andy’s palm to see all of its sides.
“Yeah, I’m not going to get this one.” Andy conceded.
“It’s a femur.” Ben stated.
Andy hesitated. He wasn’t expecting that. He looked at Ben to see if he could detect the tell of a joke. But Ben was serious. “It’s the femur from a fetus. Someone on the flight was expecting.” Andy handed the bone to Ben and looked out across the ocean. The sun sparkling on the surface and the blue of the water lost its charm. He turned and looked at the body-bag containing “Jane” sitting in the corner. “Jane” was a retrieval from earlier in the day. Long blond hair was the only thing that kept the character of the nameless person she used to be. “Jane” was missing her lower half, her arms and the front of her head.
He felt the squeeze in his chest, but pushed it down. This job was tough, not because it was physically grueling; he was always ready for hard work; but because of the trauma of the victims the crew witnessed every day. It was tough enough that the NTSB required conversations with a licensed psychiatrist at the end of each day to ensure none of the crew suffered mental breakdowns. Andy was one of the few who was not removed by the psychiatrist. Ultimately, each of his crewmates would be replaced over time due to the psychological effects of handling body parts. Every day he saw the shattered remains of what used to be normal people. And every evening the psychiatrist ended their conversation with a nod and “We’ll chat tomorrow.” letting him know he’d been cleared to work the next day. For his part, Andy put his emotions into working harder, finding the next set of remains. The sense of helping these poor victims and their families was greater than the emotional sense to break down crying.
One night I walked in the door of my house to a ringing phone. I was able to grab it in time before it rolled to voicemail. It was Andy. The boat was on the way back to the docks after another day of searching the sea. He spoke about the recovery of the femur and of “Jane” (he didn’t know her real name as identification came much later). He also talked about how much he respected the work they were doing and the leadership Ben provided. As we spoke, I was trying to gage how the sights, sounds and smells were impacting Andy. Although he was very forthcoming about how hard it was to do the job, he insisted he needed to do something to help the victims’ families.
While on the call I could hear a guy speaking to Andy in the background. Andy said Ben wanted to talk with me. Ben was suddenly on the other end of Andy’s cell phone. He told me how hard Andy worked, day in and day out. He called Andy a machine. But what impressed Ben most about Andy’s efforts was the respect and reverence he displayed when recovering the remains of the victims of that Alaskan Airlines flight. He said Andy worked with a sense of urgency to recover everyone from the flight. Before he signed off, Ben said he wished he could have Andy on every job he worked.
I always knew Andy had an incredible work ethic. But it made a brother proud to hear about the respect Andy had for the remains of the people they were recovering. Before Andy ended our conversation, we spoke briefly about how many people would be touched by the work he and the crew were doing.
Of the eighty-eight people on board that flight, Andy said only six bodies were recovered intact. The metal skin of a plane becomes shrapnel in a crash. I’m not saying this to revel in the horrific deaths of the people on board the plane. This is about Andy’s desire to help the families of the victims recover their loved ones and find some sort of peace. It’s about Andy’s desire to give something to the people of that flight. Lost at sea felt like lost forever. Finding anything at all was a step toward closure.
The search recovered approximately ninety percent of the plane. Towards the end they found the horizontal stabilizer jack-screw suspected as the root cause of the crash.
By the end of the search, if memory hasn’t failed me, Andy told me they found some type of remains of every passenger and crew aboard the flight. Every family would have something they could call their loved one and something to hold their religious or spiritual rituals for the dead. Although an event like this will never allow family and friends to feel a complete sense of closure and peace, they didn’t have the anguish of nothing returned that comes with “lost at sea”.
Happy Birthday Brother! You made a difference!
December 25, 2014
A New Smile for a Child
Andy's example of selfless behavior (see post below from April 18, 2010) continues to have an impact on the lives of children born with cleft palates. Another Christmas, another new smile received, and another step taken trying to live by his example. Merry Christmas Andy! We miss you so much but we know that with each new smile a child receives you're still by our side. Love, Rob & Colleen
Maria Emanuela of Brazil holding her "before" photo.
Where else can a donation make such a significant difference in the life of a child?
November 10, 2014
A Story from John Race
Andy and My Dog
“Honey, I think there’s something wrong with Lambert.”. The cobwebs were thick that enveloped my brain and I was struggling to understand what I was hearing. Rolling over and looking at the clock next to our bed revealed a big disappointment – 2:30 a.m.. Although it was November 10th, 2009, that date didn’t mean anything to me yet and I certainly wasn’t thinking of the calendar. Getting back to the deep sleep that just a minute ago had me wrapped up like a cocoon of warm blankets on my bed was a wish slowly fading away as I heard my dog barking in the garage.
Ten years prior I told Andy that I was going to get a puppy. Andy was staying with me for one of his several extended stays that was common before I was married. He often would call me when he was between jobs or careers and ask if he could visit.
“You should get a Rottweiler! Or an Argentine Bullmastiff! Something that will rip a grown mans arm off at the shoulder!”. Andy was very practical when it came to dogs. They needed to serve a purpose.
“I’m getting a Black Lab.” I responded.
“What do ya want a Lab for? They aren’t going to defend your house when you’re at work.” he responded with his personal logic.
“I’m a single guy in a family neighborhood. I can’t have a dog that’s going to bite one of the neighbor kids. I’ll get sued.” was my logical response. “I’m going to pick out the puppy tonight. Want to go with me?”. A young lady who worked for me had informed me earlier in the week that her brother-in-law had nine pure-bred puppies for sale.
Andy immediately declined to go, thinking he didn’t want anything to do with a docile dog. When I mentioned he could pick the puppy out, he decided it might be worth the trip.
We drove a short ways to the breeder’s house. Ron was a big, southern guy who loved training hunting dogs as much, if not more, than actually going hunting. He informed us that his star female, which was on the verge of winning a Grand Master Champion field dog title, had accidentally gotten pregnant by his up-and-coming male field dog (who won the Grand Master Champion title the following weekend).
Ron took us to his back yard where the dogs were caged. Near his patio was a smaller cage with the nine little puppies. I help Ron pick the puppies out of their cage and place them on the ground. Andy grabbed a seat in a chair on the patio and watched the puppies climb over one another while making their little cry noises. Spotting the largest puppy, Andy swooped his arms down and grabbed the pup up. “This is the dog, right here. This is the one you want. He’s going to be big as a bear.”. He moved back over to the chair and sat with the puppy on his lap. The look on his face was like a kid that just opened a birthday gift to find his favorite toy inside.
After a few minutes of chatting with Ron and Andy petting and talking to the puppy in his lap, the smallest puppy in the bunch approached Andy. All the other puppies were huddled in a small ball-of-puppies near a corner of the patio against the house. However, the runt of the litter had been exploring the backyard on his own and somehow took an interest in Andy’s leg.
Andy leaned over in his chair and put a curled finger in front of the puppy, while still holding the larger puppy in his other arm. “Hey there little guy, what are ya looking for?”. The little puppy clamped his baby teeth on Andy’s finger and put his little legs in reverse, all the while making tiny growling noises and shaky his head with Andy’s finger firmly in his mouth.
“This is the dog! This is the one! He’s a killer!” Andy exclaimed as he quickly put the larger puppy on the ground and scooping up the little runt. “You were looking to take my finger off, weren’t you, killer.”. As the puppy was brought up to Andy’s face for a closer inspection, the puppy began to lick Andy’s chin. “That’s right, you already know who loves you most.” he said as he glanced at me with a look that was meant to inspire jealousy.
We brought the puppy home and I named him Lambert, after Jack Lambert, the former linebacker from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Right from the start, Andy spoiled that dog. Every time he stayed with me, Lambert would sleep on Andy’s bed. And when Andy would sit on the floor to watch t.v. Lambert would sit across his lap (even after he became a full grown dog). Andy would feed Lambert table scraps and let the dog sit next to him on the couch. When I would raise objections over this type of treatment, he would reply “Dogs are pack animals. You can’t treat him like a secondary citizen. He has to be just like one of us.”.
Over the next few years, Andy would drop in for a few weeks or a month. Lambert would show a great deal of excitement at his arrivals. And of course, Andy would infer that he was visiting the dog, not me. After the boat sinking (that’s another story), Andy stayed with me for a longer period of time. I think he found comfort in Lambert and he mentioned having the dog on his bed after waking from bad dreams made him feel better.
As much as Lambert viewed me as a parent, he similarly viewed Andy as his brother-in-crime … rules were broken when big brother Andy came to visit.
So as I dragged myself out of bed, on that late night in 2009, my only thought was that Lambert must be sick. Going down to the fully insulated garage, where the dogs slept, and opening the door, I was met by Lambert’s simple whine as he stood near the door. We took a short walk into the back yard where I expected to see him double over and relieve himself of whatever made his stomach sick. But Lambert didn’t do his business, instead he turned to me and whined again. Trying not to become frustrated thinking my dog has chosen this moment to become needy, I said “Come on dog, do your business and let me go back to sleep.”. As a reply, another whine was delivered. Petting Lambert on the head was returned with a lick of my hand.
We walked back into the garage and I told him to lay down on his dog bed. As I walked back into the house and shut the door, Lambert gave out a bark. I opened the garage door to find him standing there looking at me like I was expected to do something. Knowing he wasn’t sick and not understanding this behavior (in ten years he never woke me up at night), I said in a growl of a voice “Lay down, go to sleep.”. He walked back to his dog bed and flopped down with a groan that delivered the message of disgust he had from my attitude.
After getting home from work that evening, I asked my wife how Lambert was. She said he had been acting strange all day and tended to either bark or whine. Nothing she did would satisfy him. I changed out of my suit and tie and went out on the patio with Lambert. I sat on a patio chair and as Lambert approached, I looked into his face and pet his head. But I didn’t see any signs of illness or pain, just a look like he wanted something from me.
Later than night, not long after putting the dogs in the garage, Lambert let out another yelp. Worried he would wake my son, who just went to sleep, I opened the garage door and said “Go to sleep! Enough of this attitude dog!”. That seemed to solve the problem as the rest of the night was spent with a just a few whines, but no further barking.
The following morning as I was grabbing my gym bag, the phone rang and I was informed Andy’s travels in this life had come to an end. I caught a flight to my parents’ to circle the wagons with the family. A few days later my brother Rob, sister Kathy and I drove to New Bedford to secure Andy’s house and discuss the future with his tenants. We decided to place the few personal effects Andy had in a rental truck. Andy was a minimalist, so that activity wasn’t too difficult.
That night, we stayed at a local hotel. Unable to sleep and not wanting to keep Rob up (we shared a room), I went down to the hotel parking lot and called my wife at approximate 1:30 a.m.. My guilt of calling her at the late hour was eased when she immediately answered the phone and let me know she wasn’t sleeping either.
After filling her in on the day’s activities and the sorrow of losing my brother, I asked if the dog was still acting strange. “You know, he’s still acting weird. But I was just thinking that he started this around the time your brother died.”. Unable to get my mind to change gears from the thoughts of life without Andy, I just replied “Huh, I don’t know. I guess.”. She then expanded her theory by saying that Vietnam is twelve hours ahead of the east coast and Lambert started acting strange in the afternoon of the 9th, around the time Andy passed (the twelve hour time difference would have made it early morning on the 10th in Vietnam).
The next day I drove the rental truck from New Bedford to Charlotte. I arrived in the late evening and backed the truck into my drive to unload the few items into my garage. The first thing I grabbed was an old blanket that smelled like my brother. You always hear people who lose someone they care for speak about how their loved one’s belongings continue to carry their smell.
In a lack of good judgment, I threw the blanket on the driveway to get it out of the way. Lambert happened to be standing there and immediately walked a circle in the middle of the blanket and laid down with a sigh. He stayed on the blanket as my nephew and I unloaded the rest of the truck. From that point on, Lambert no longer whined or barked at night.
Two years later, Lambert also ended his travels in this life. For twelve years, he only acted inconsolable during the one week of Andy’s death and I could never explain why. As I dug a hole in the red clay of North Carolina to bury Lambert in his favorite spot in the back yard, I couldn’t help but think of Andy sitting with Lambert across his lap. He’s spoiling that dog for sure.
June 24, 2013
A Story from Bill Conklin
I first met Andy in 1988, he was funny and crazy. One night when we were just kids we got some beer and it was below zero out. My parents recently rented an apartment near downtown Cortland but we didn't move in yet so I suggested we go there and drink our beer. I took the apartment key without my parents knowing. There were about ten of us because you always had a good time with Andy.
Well, we started partying in this empty apartment; we were drinking beer and raising hell! There was a radio there and we cranked the hell out of it! Well the neighbors must have called my parents and said there was a party in their apartment because my dad sent my older brother over to check stuff out. Well we heard the key open the door, so we all hid. Andy and I went to a closet but there wasn’t room for everyone so Andy saw a chair and took a paint sheet and put it over himself acting like a chair. My brother walked by him twice not knowing Andy was underneath until Andy couldn't help himself and busted out laughing. My brother yanked the sheet off and told Andy to get the hell out of there! We stayed hidden and I remember hearing Andy asking my brother if he knew where I was. My brother was so pissed off!
Andy and I met down at Pontillos later that night. First thing Andy said to me was what the hell was his problem? Man did we laugh!
Boy I miss Andy. He was a friend for life!
Luv ya man,
December 24, 2011
A Christmas Memory from Andy's bother, John
In the fall of 1976, Andy and I (ages 5 & 6) happened upon the latest JCPenney Christmas catalog that was delivered in the mail. For those that remember, this was the edition that was about the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica. We took it to our bedroom, lay on our stomachs on the floor, opened the book between us and scanned its pages in haste. To have to flip through pages filled with so much “junk” was such a chore. Who cares about a bunch of ladies in underwear, little girls with shiny shoes and pink dresses and tools of every shape and size. Somewhere in this large document were the latest toys that would fulfill the luckiest boys dreams! And it was of utmost importance that we review them with a critical eye. As our little hands swept the pages right to left in an attempt to get to the toys targeted toward boys of our age, we bantered about how boring toys like teething rings, crayons, Barbie dolls and stuffed animals could all be.
With a flick of a wrist our attention was grabbed. Behold, the Navarone Playset! A plastic, 2 ½ foot tall mountain with army figures, guns, tanks, howitzers and ladders appeared before us in glossy color print that only JCPenney could provide! The page contained a smaller picture that showed the back of this hollow mountain with its various levels, elevator, pulley system, and all the equipment the little plastic army men would need … all for $14.97. Of course this item became the only toy on our Christmas list. Andy and I spent the next 3 months looking at that page and acting out how we would move the army men up the inside and outside of that mountain. The page became wrinkled and tattered with days of little hands slapping at it. As Christmas approached we just knew Santa would bring us this wonderful toy. He had to. We would become miserable creatures if we had to live in a world without the Navarone Playset. And the more we wanted it, the more we began to worry that Santa wouldn’t bring it. We even became “extra good” so Santa would reward us “extra good”.
On Christmas morning, Andy and I got up about an hour before everyone else and ran downstairs to our dining room. Our Christmas tree was in the living room by the front window with toys and candy placed around it. Our family tradition was to line up in our dining room adjacent to the living room door. The door was always closed on Christmas morning to ensure early risers didn’t have access to the treasures in the living room before the entire family assembled. The order of our assembly was mandated as youngest first, oldest last. We also knew if we made noise and woke anyone up, there was the threat that our gifts would be given away. So that hour was spent with Andy standing in front of me facing that closed door… with excited whispers of the best army set waiting for us in the other room. One by one our sleepy siblings shuffled down the stairs and took their place in line, sometimes with a well placed elbow.
Finally, Mom and Dad came down (why are they always last on Christmas morning?). Mom went to the head of the line and looked at her kids. Our excitement was boiling over. She then looked at Andy and at the first syllable of the word “okay”, Andy whipped the door open and raced into the living room with me right on his heels. As we rounded the corner, there at the base of the tree was the Navarone Playset! When we stopped in front of the toy that had army men placed all over and around it (oh, Santa must have been playing with it!) we went into celebration mode. We hugged and jumped up and down as if we were reenacting VE day. Andy yelled: “THIS IS THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE!”. It wasn’t too long before we were told to take our new toy up to our bedroom to keep innocent family members from stepping on sharp army men. While positioning a piece to produce maximum effect, Andy said “The Navarone made Mommy happy too. I saw her smiling.”
In 2008, two weeks before Christmas, my wife, Kristen, suggested we buy a small plastic car for our son, John Thomas, for a Christmas gift. It was a Go Diego car that little kids can climb in to and push with their feet like the Flintstones. Go Diego is a popular kids cartoon. Thinking a Go Diego car at 2 years old would set the expectation for a Ferrari at 16 years old, I said “no, we can’t spoil the boy”. Andy visited me and my family at our home in Charlotte, NC. the next week. One evening Kristen sent Andy and I to Costco with a long list that she needed for her Christmas cooking. When we entered the store, we spent several minutes in the electronics department dreaming of having the latest big screen tv's hanging on our walls. As we walked through the rows of electronics, I stopped to consider an iHome as a Christmas gift for our teen daughter, Chelsea. Andy asked why I was hesitating. At $150 I said “no, I can’t spoil the daughter”. Andy called me cheap, Scrooge and several other terms I shouldn’t repeat. He then grabbed the iHome, saying he would buy it for her and let me know Uncle Andy can spoil his niece if his brother can’t find a way to spoil his daughter. Ugh!
The rest of the week went by too fast. Andy spent a good part of the days reading books, talking with Kristen and Chelsea and trying not to trip over John Thomas. After dinners, Andy and I would have a few drinks while running through the gamete of discussions ranging from world history, religion, finances, ethics, past experiences, etc. We spent one night creating the perfect martini mix. With Andy’s experience in the culinary arts, he played the role of master mixer and I played the critic. Of course it took several adjustments and we had to drink the results of each attempt. The night ended in a recipe we deemed “the best ever” and I’ve used it often since.
We had subtly been trying to persuade Andy to stay through Christmas. However, the day before Christmas, Andy grabbed his sneakers, laced them tight, stood up and announce he had to go. And that’s the way he was. You never knew when he’d feel the need to get productive in the world, but he’d make the decision and move on pretty fast.
That night after the kids were asleep, Santa and Mrs. Claus began the process of getting the gifts put under the tree. Kristen pulled out a large box and let me know I had to put it together for John Thomas. Seeing it was the Go Diego car, I reminded Kristen we had discussed this. “Well”, Kristen replied, “Andy asked what we got John Thomas for Christmas. I couldn’t help telling him about how much he loved the commercials for the Go Diego car. When I told Andy that you didn’t want to spoil JT, he grabbed money out of his wallet and told me to buy it. He also told me not to tell you until he left so you couldn’t give him money for it. She defended her position by stating "He’s your brother, I didn’t want to say no.” Yep, he’s my brother all right, I thought as I unboxed the pieces to the car. And when my son turns 16 and asks for a red sports car, I’ll tell him to call his Uncle Andy.
The next morning, when the kids woke up, we brought them down the stairs to see what Santa had left. John Thomas spotted the Go Diego car quickly and with a joyful “Yes!”, opened the driver’s door, climbed in and began honking the horn. He was too small to get it moving on our carpet, so he climbed back out and started pushing it from behind while making the “vroom” noises kids make. Although he seemed a little confused when we told him that Uncle Andy brought him the car and not Santa, he quickly turn his attention back to his new set of wheels. Chelsea loved the iHome and was speechless when we told her that it came from Uncle Andy as well.
Later that night, Andy called from a hotel halfway between Charlotte and New Bedford. I told him how much the kids loved his gifts and gave a summary of their reactions.
He asked “Do you remember that Navarone army set we got when we were kids?”
“Sure, I remember that thing. Guess we’ll never forget it.”, I answered.
“Do you remember Mom smiling as she watched us dance around in front of that toy?”, he questioned.
“You know, I do remember that. She was leaning against the doorway to the livingroom.”, I recalled.
“Well, I bet you now know how she felt, don’t you?”, Andy said in more a statement than a question.
I responded, “Yeah, I do. It’s gotta be the best feeling in the world to watch your kids when they’re that excited.”.
I heard him take in a deep breath and when he exhaled he said “Yep, Merry Christmas brother.”.
Merry Christmas brother.
November 26, 2011
A Few Memories from Andy's Mother
I remember I took Ralph to work one morning and when I came home Kathy, John, and Andy were on the floor watching TV. We had an early morning thunderstorm and I told them when I came down the driveway at work I saw something so beautiful that I stopped the car to look at it. Could they guess what it was? They said "No" and I said "It was a rainbow!" Andy looked at me with wonder in his eyes and asked "What was it doing in the driveway?" He was about six years old then.
Andy always loved animals and when he was six or seven he went to the grocery store with me. Garfield the Cat was popular then and they had one on the shelf. Since Garfield was so popular, it was the only one left. He wanted it badly but I said no as we didn't have the money. He said I could get it for him for Christmas (it was November and he didn't know it but I had already bought it for him). I said no and he begged me but I continued to deny him. I went to the next aisle and he went to return Garfield to the shelf. Suddenly he scooted up to me and lowering his voice said "I hid him behind the molasses so nobody will buy him and you can buy him next week when you have the money." He was so happy on Christmas morning. Now he is happy in Heaven.
March 24, 2011
From Andy's Brother John
Andy and I were in Cub Scouts together when we were about 8 and 9 years old. One beautiful, sunny day there was a large Scouts gathering in a big field somewhere in central New York. After a day of reciting the Cub Scout Promise, learning the Law of the Pack, understanding the meaning of “Do Your Best” and probably tying a few knots, we proceeded to the grand finale: the Obstacle Course. Each den competed against all others. The course was run as a relay race with each pack member assigned a section. There were the routine obstacles: log crossing over mud pits, high wall with rope, cargo net climb, crabwalk under a grid of low hanging ropes, monkey bars and finally a three-legged run.
The three-legged race was given to Andy and another boy who was incredibly small (the top of his head came to Andy’s shoulders), frail looking, large coke-bottle glasses and I suspect he was allergic to fish (he’s probably making a killing these days developing Google applications). As a kid, Andy was large for his age, very strong and determined, but not the most graceful on his feet. Watching the “odd couple” get their ankles tied together, I thought I was witnessing the weakness in our relay.
It seemed to us kids that the adults were taking too long getting the race started. Finally, the whistle blew and boy, could those Cortland kids move! It must have been in our DNA to know how to cross logs without falling into the mud and climb cargo nets and crab walk under ropes. Our den built a huge lead over the rest of the competition.
I remember finishing the monkey bars, sprinting a short distance and tagging my brother on the back to get them started on their journey to the finish line. Andy and his little partner took two very uncoordinated steps, stumbled and almost fell. They still faced 50 yards of open field. As other competitors were completing the monkey bars and making their way to their teammates at the three-legged run section, I started to have a sinking feeling we were going to lose this event.
At that moment, Andy bent at the knees, swooped his right arm around his little partner’s waist and lifted him off his feet. Andy ran the remaining 50 yards with his partner bouncing along at his side. Not only did the pair not lose ground, but they increased the margin of victory. As Andy and his partner crossed the finish line well ahead of the others, there was a split reaction: the boys in the winning den celebrated the joys of victory; the adults tried to recover from laughing so hard. I’ll never forget seeing the huge smile on that little, undersized kid as he recounted every winning step to his proud mother.
This memory reminds me of two traits Andy displayed time and again during his life: 1) Andy never allowed the “anchors” of his life to slow him down or become an excuse for not doing something; 2) Andy never missed an opportunity to reach down and lift someone up when they’ve stumbled in their lives. His family has heard from friends, work associates and sometimes total strangers recall instances where Andy selflessly swooped his arms around someone in need and carried them to a better place. It’s those conversations that provide comfort in our loss and a sense of pride that Andy shared a part of our lives.
Today being Andy’s birthday, we could send flowers to his grave or spend the day shedding tears over our loss. If you truly knew him, you would understand Andy would want none of that. So little brother, you’ll find this year’s birthday present in the smiles of those kids born less fortunate … my Smile Train donation was made today! (www.smiletrain.org)
February 4, 2011
From Andy's Mother
Did You Know...?
When Andy had to go for his First Confession at 7 years old, he was so nervous he had to take off his necktie because it was choking him, and then he had to take off his belt because it was squeezing him to death, and then he had to take out his shoe laces because they made his shoes too tight! When he came out he said "That was cinchy"
When he was six, he was chosen to be one of the Three Kings at Christmas and wore a purple robe with silver trim and a crown and looked like an angel coming down the aisle.
He never wore a Halloween costume to school because he didn't want everybody to look at him (not realizing he stood out because he DIDN'T have a costume)
When he was in 4th grade, he did the most sit-ups in gym class - 500 in all. It wore a hole through the top of his new sneakers because he anchored his toes under the edge of the bleachers. It also gave him a bruise on his chest from his chin hitting it 500 times (his Mom was a little upset).
When he was in 7th and 8th grade, he took break-dancing lessons at school and was pretty good at it.
When he was 14, he took karate lessons at Tully and whipped around the house all year.
When he was a chef in Ithaca, he took boxing classes and boxed for exercise so he wouldn't succumb to the chef's disease - obesity.
Did you know he liked poetry and had a book of Robert Frost poems?
He was fascinated with the change in men when they went to sea…he said their psychology changed.
He bought the Physician's Desk Reference of Psychological Disorders so he could study up on it.
When Grandma was dying he sent me a beautiful bouquet of long stem red roses (I thought it was for Gram) but the card said "Love, Andy" with my name.
Memories of a beautiful son…
November 10, 2010
From Andy's Brother Rob
I had just typed out a quick email into my phone as Colleen drove me to the airport for the longest trip of my life. I had to tell my clients that I would be gone due to a death in the family and I couldn’t press the Send button. I looked at Colleen as she drove and tried to make sense of why I felt that not sending the message would somehow make it all ok. It was as if everything was going to change if I sent the message and made everyone aware that one year ago today our lives had forever changed. I pressed Send and started to cry again.
It’s been one year since the awful news. It’s been one year of trying to figure it all out; trying to function in a normal manner after our world was forever changed. How can I ever make sense of why you were suddenly called home to God? I can’t. So how can I go on? How can I take a measure of the impact you've made in 37 short years? There are a ton of great memories and stories. I’ll always treasure them but will leave those for others to tell. For me it can be summed up in two words: Smile Train.
Somewhere in some poor, isolated part of the world, a little boy was getting dressed for his first day of school. His parents are literally dirt poor and have almost nothing. But they have dressed him in his best clothes for the big day. He’s so excited to run out the door but his mother grabs him for a hug and kiss and notices that the scars on his upper lip are almost healed. She watches him as he runs up the dirt path to catch up with the other kids.
She knows that but for the kindness of some far away donor and the skill of Smile Train surgeons, her little boy would be staying home. But not today…her little boy was going to school for the first time and his life has been forever changed. He'll no longer face the taunts of other childrren. She knows she and her family have been blessed on this special day. More importantly, she doesn’t even try to figure out why it has happened this way. She never has, even on the day he was born and the terrible birth defect was noticed. She knew that God had a plan.
It’s all beginning to make sense to me now…www.smiletrain.org
I miss you so much Andy. But I know you're watching over the many children of Smile Train whose lives have been changed by your compassion and generosity.
Juliana - before Juliana - after Smile Train surgical repair
October 30, 2010
Not Your Average Headstone
When it came time to select a stone for Andy we knew we wanted something that would reflect his unique character. We had heard that you could use laser engraving to add photos to a stone and thought this method would let us design something unique to Andy. Right from the start everyone agreed that the picture should have a theme involving the sea since Andy really loved fishing. The final result is shown below along with an explanation of the images shown in the picture.
A fishing boat was selected for obvious reasons. Mom wanted the name of the boat to be "Home Safe" because Andy would always call her when his boat came within cell range after being out to sea. He knew Mom worried while he was at sea and was always good about calling to let her know he was home safe.
The boat can be seen heading to a peaceful shoreline. On the shore is a large cross and the boat appears to be navigating towards it. In the far distance clouds can be seen with the subtle implication that the boat is reaching shore safely ahead of the storm.
July 26, 2010
A Poem by an Anonymous Nephew of Andy's:
Whistle in the Night
I whistled quietly in the night
looking for that guiding light
leading to the place for me
in the next great sea
In a climate made for sugar cane
a deep chill moved through my veins
though it was full of strife
I now found peace with my life
I rose from my chair
finding the guide in the darkened air
a guide to His place for me
off on his wondrous sea
I moved through the wall
nothing could stop me heeding the call
I headed for the distant light
I left only a whistle in the night
July 25, 2010
Web Site Update:
We've added a lot of pictures today with more to come! So, take a look at the Image Gallery. If you have pictures or stories of Andy that you'd like to share, then send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We don't have as many as we would like of Andy with his friends like so we're asking everyone to pour over your photos and send what you can.
On another note, a review of the web site statistics show that there have been over 900 visits to the site and over 8,600 individual clicks within the site. That shows that folks visiting the site have been doing a lot of scrolling around within the site. Thank you for visiting and please come back often for updates!
Father's Day, 2010
From Andy's Dad, Cortland, NY:
I think of you every morning when I wake up and the last thing at night before I go to sleep. I think about our time on your boat as you showed me all the workings and equipment that you kept running. My mind also goes back to the nights we spent drinking gin and playing chess into the wee hours of the morning. I have your picture with your brothers on my computer that I see every time I boot up and again as I shut down. There is an empty spot in my heart that you used to fill. I sure do miss you Tiger!
June 17, 2010
From Andy's Mom, Cortland, NY:
As Andy's Mom I have so many memories of him at all stages of his life. His birth was difficult as he weighed 9 lb 6oz, was 22 1/2 inches long, and his shoulders were stuck. He had a shock of thick, red hair and we called him Tiger because of that. From the start he loved me to pieces and liked to cuddle and hear stories and always loved animals.
Andy was one month old when we went to up to Tully lake to open up for the summer and that is when I introduced him to Sam, the big, white, Samoyed dog next door. From then on Sam thought he was his puppie and by the time Andy was two, I couldb't pick him up to bring him into the house as Sam would stand between between us. By the end of the summer when I got Andy in my arms Sam would take my leg in both paws and hang on tight and I would be carrying Andy and dragging Sam. Wish I had a picture of that. Carla once jokingly said,"You know, Mom, Andy is dyslexic and he thinks a dog is God". He never lost that love of dogs. When Andy went out the door it was like letting out the dog as you didn't know where they would go. When we had to put down our beloved Pepper, Andy went to the vet and stayed with him so he wouldn't be alone at the end.
By the time Andy was 12, he and John decided to build a fort in the woods...they labored mightily and the result was really nice. It was two stories and was screened in so they could sleep there at night. Somehow they never did spend an overnight there but it was a work of art.
When they were 14 and 15 they decided to see how many things they could use as "boats" on the lake. There was a large piece of styrofoam, a galvanized tub, a wood raft and whatever else they could find. They had so much fun. Seth, the neighbor next door, would take them out in his custom made boat with the maroon sails. Of course we had our Sunfish sailboat that they spent many a day on and the canoe for horsing around with. We always taught them how to save themselves if they capsized (get under the canoe-there's air there). Good ole Gus would take them waterskiing and would tow them behind his boat on a large disc. That evolved into sitting on a bar stool on the disc, then standing on the bar stool while on the disc. It was exciting to see them going by out on the lake, standing on a bar stool, placed on a disc, while being towed by a motorboat!
There was a golden Lab at the lake with the mange and an inordinate amount of fleas who would roll in the gravel on the road and howl because he was so miserable. His name was Bob and of course they loved him. One day they came to me and said come upstairs-we want to show you something. To my horror and astonishment they had Bob in bed with the blankets up under his chin and he looked as if he were sleeping! I said "get that mangy, flea-bag out of there! Now I have to wash all the bedding". They replied "Aww, Mom, he likes it, Ssshhheeesh!"
There are so many other memories at the lake-fireworks, bonfires, Tony the fruit and vegetable man, drunken Paul, the Hatfield and McCoy neighbors, the gravel pit, dirt bikes, split heads-as Andy always rode his bike at full tilt. They were great summers and the children treasured them.
May 21, 2010
From Andy's Sister-in-Law, Pat, Cortland, NY:
Just give me one thing, Lord that I can hold on to.
Cause to believe in this living is a hard way to go.
I met Andy when he was six or seven years old (doesn’t seem possible) when Rick first brought me to the lake, and Andy took right to me for some reason. I have so many memories of “life with Andy”. Most I am keeping for myself right now, but there are some that I would love to share with you.
Andy is the only person that would call to talk to his brother Rick and wouldn’t be the least bit disappointed when I answered the phone. It didn’t matter to Andy. He and I would talk about everything-- family, friends, and his future- sometimes for up to 2 hours. Burning up the long distance! Before we hung up, I always ended with “Love ya Gump.”
Thankfully, Rick and I went to New Bedford over Labor Day weekend a couple of years back. We had been meaning to get out there since Mom had said, “This is serious, Andy bought furniture!” He insisted that we stay in his apartment and he would show us around if he wasn’t out to sea. As it turned out, there was a storm on the radar that the boat’s captain was concerned about, so Andy didn’t have to go.
Andy was so proud to show his brother that boat and he apologized a thousand times to me because I wasn’t allowed to board. Fishermen are a superstitious bunch, and women are considered to be very bad luck on board an ocean-going commercial vessel. I was fine with honoring their rules of conduct, but of course, Andy had rules of his own for me to follow while I was on the dock and out of their sight! “The guys around here are rough. Don’t talk to anyone…lock the car doors if someone comes near you…lay on the horn if you need us…” I was fine.
That weekend he also had rules within his home that had to be followed: First, he insisted that we sleep in his bed. I wasn’t very keen on that idea, but he insisted that he always slept in the living-room. I will always remember going to bed, (Rick and Andy staying up later) and hearing the two of them laughing out loud over a show on TV. It was so precious to hear that.
Second, if he wasn’t around and a “weird-ass looking squirrel comes to the front window” we were to slip it a peanut in the shell. (Could he be related to Grandma Neugebauer?) That squirrel was sort of upset when we were the ones to greet him instead of Andy! What a noise!
I still wait to hear Andy coming. His footsteps on our back porch have never been mistakable. I always knew when he was here before he came in and said “Hey, Pat, it’s Gump.”
I miss hearing his voice on the answering machine, and talking to him about recent events in our lives. He was always a positive voice about my plans.
Love you and miss you Gump. Things are so much harder to go through without you.
May 18, 2010
From Andy's Brother John, Charlotte, NC:
One summer day in 1978, Andy and I were forced from our home by a mother who felt her boys should take their rough-housing outside. Even though Andy was six and I was seven, this was Cortland and it was the 70’s … child molesters and murders didn’t exist yet. We found our way up Madison Street to Suggett Park where, lo and behold, a girls softball game was being played. To avoid the sun, the two of us tucked under one of the evergreen trees that run between the sidewalk on Madison and the third base line and prepared to watch the “older” girls play (they were 8 and 9 year olds). When the visiting team came to the plate Andy asked me what was written on their hats. I responded with “Groton” and got an immediate chuckle. Andy had a way of chuckling that let you know mischief was soon to follow.
Groton, for those that don’t know, is a sleepy village not far from Cortland. As the first pitch was delivered, Andy yelled “ROTTEN GROTON” … swing and a miss. Of course we howled over the success of this banter. So upon the second pitch both of us gave the old “ROTTEN GROTON” and got the same result. We kept this up until an elderly lady walked over and told us to keep our opinions to ourselves. Since we weren’t there to watch girls play softball, we decided to take our show on the road. I don’t remember where we went or what we did, but we probably said “Rotten Groton” another hundred times on the way. For thirty years we’d both chuckle when one of us would talk about Groton.
Now, when I return to central New York, I take route 222 out to Groton, turn right onto Clark Street and take the first right into Saint Anthony’s Cemetery. Walking down a slight hill, past my grandparents’ graves, it’s hard to picture a more peaceful place.
After spending a few minutes standing by Andy’s grave and thinking of what used to be, I end my visit with a question: “So, what do you think about being in Groton? ROTTEN GROTON … gotcha brother!”.
May 10, 2010
From Andy's Mom, Cortland, NY:
Andy has been gone six months today which seems impossible. Maria's story about the squirrel (see submittal from May 5th) prompts me to give you the rest of the story. Andy once lived on the 3rd floor of an apt. in New Bedford and there was a shingled ledge around the house below his windows and the squirrel would race around it. Andy would put out a peanut and eventually had lured him inside his living room. He soon trained him to sit by his ankle while he shucked the peanut so he wouldn't mess up the whole house. The next step was to gently stroke his back but he never could touch his head. He named him Ahmed and then discovered he had a girlfriend, Sara who was Jewish! Andy told me he couldn't understand why the Jews and Palestinians couldn't get along with each other because Sara and Ahmed loved each other so much and proved it could be done.
I remember when he fished out of Cape May he said some of his Mexican crew invited him to go to a club in Atlantic City and he did. He said he had a great time as all the girls wanted to dance with the "gringo" even though he couldn't speak much Spanish. He always enjoyed people!
May 7, 2010
From Chris Morgado (Andy's friend) New Bedford, MA:
On January 31, 2000, Alaska Airlines flight 261 crashed 2.7 miles from Anacapa Island in California. Recovery efforts using underwater mechanical drones had been unsuccessful. Six weeks later, the fishing trawler, 'Seaclipper' was contracted to do the recovery work. The recovery efforts were based out of Port Hueneme, US Naval Base in California. At the time there were two crew members on the boat, the Captain and myself, but the contract required we have three crew members on the boat. The Captain and I were talking about who we were going to get for a crew member. We went through a list of names and then the Captain said, "there is this one guy who calls me up all the time, he is really, really persistent, maybe we should give this guy a call". That guy was Andy. So we called Andy and he was more than ready to work. We called him in the morning and by that afternoon Andy had made the 350 mile drive from Santa Rosa, California and was there ready to work.
So upon Andy's arrival and meeting him, the three of us went to the Naval Seaman's Club for cocktails that evening. After quite a few drinks the three of us ended up being escorted out of the club by the Naval Shore Patrol. That was my first social experience with Andy. The next day, bright and early, the boat was loaded up with officials and experts and we went to sea to begin aircraft recovery procedures. Andy turned out to be a great worker and everyone was impressed with his attitude and work ethic. The job required going inside the nets and removing parts of the aircraft, personal luggage and human remains. Andy had originally applied for a fishing job but when he was told of the odd nature of this job he was more than willing to accept the job to get his foot in the door of the commercial fishing industry.
Andy and I ended up being good friends from then on. Over the years, we worked on many of the same boats together in the same fisheries with the same people at different times. We fished on Trawlers for bottom fish like Rock Cod and Sole; on Crab boats; we fished for King Crab in the Bering Sea in Alaska out of Dutch Harbor, and we fished for Scallops. We fished on both coasts and in Alaska. Andy adapted to the industry with ease and soon became a valued professional.
Over the years we developed a network system where we helped each other out with job contacts in the business. I always teased him about being the Captain's pet because of his personality and hardwork.
We always had something to talk about; and the fact that I can't ever remember "sh*t," and Andy continuously repeated himself; it always seemed like we were having a fresh and new conversation. I miss those times.
May 5, 2010
From Maria DeStefano (a close family friend), Cortland, New York:
The Race home was like a second home for me for quite some time; starting around senior year of high school... that’s when I first got to know Andy. My first three distinct impressions were: endless ball of energy and fun, loved animals of all kinds, and was into learning the bass guitar. For quite a few nights after dinner, someone would drive Andy to the Mini Mall in Cortland (the Record Gallery was located there at that time) for his guitar lessons. He really wanted to learn that guitar and make music that sounded like Zepplin!
The last time I saw Andy was in MA in ‘07 with Kathy. Good ole’ Andy—he was making friends with a squirrel that would come up to the window of his apartment. He would feed it peanuts and the squirrel would come to him whenever he whistled. Reminded me of a time when we followed a chipmunk all around the backyard on Evergreen St. It takes a special, gentle personality to be able to connect with animals like that.
When he first moved to Ithaca, I visited him at his apartment above Moonshadow’s. I tell ‘ya, he knew just about every person that walked down the Commons! He really loved the Indian Mehndi and Middle Eastern stores especially. Andy could also wax philosophical with the best of them: he would say all the time how people have their own stories and we can learn a lot from them. And of course, boy could he cook and make the most delicious foods.
Above all, Andy was the most kind and sensitive soul that would do anything, and be there at a moment’s notice, for anyone. No matter how much time passed ‘til when I would see him again, he always acted like I just spoke to him yesterday. I still can’t believe that he’s gone, and my thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.
April 26, 2010
From Chris Morgado (Chris was Andy's most trusted friend in the fishing business. Although they were frequently far apart, they always kept in touch and remianed close friends), New Bedford, MA:
Andy was my close, trusted friend and confidant. I was the person Andy first started fishing with 10 years ago, and we remained close friends ever since. We fished both east and west coasts together, and worked the same fisheries out of Alaska. His employers always valued him for his work ethic and wanted him back. He was planning to buy a boat where we would fish it on the west coast out of San Francisco. We depended on each other. I miss him. His loss changed my future. I miss his intellect, his vast knowledge of information and mostly his style of humor. I miss him so much. May he rest in peace.
April 25, 2010
From Margaret Race (Andy's Mom), Cortland, New York:
As you children know each one of you was my favorite and each of you were unique. Andy was always high-energy and adventurous and curious about everything. He was the only one of you who escaped through the barberry hedge on Madison Street and didn't get scratched by one thorn! I can still see that little white diaper disappearing into Gillim's yard next door. Or how about the time he got out of the house and went downtown at age two and walked straight down Main Street at 4 pm? When the police asked him his name he said it was Tiger (red hair). Or getting lost on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco at the age of 4?
These incidents make me sound bad but believe me, keeping track of him while watching 8 others was more than a full time job. At around 4 he was called Andy Gump and big brother Rick called him Gump until the end. At 10 he raced up to our new pastor after Mass and asked if he could climb the Church steeple. He was an altar boy for six years and someone told me he was a cartoon altar boy with his curly hair and proclivity for stealing the scene by rubbing his nose or yawning, etc.
Andy loved animals and his work on Potter's farm. He felt so bad that newborn calves would be forced into a dark truck and taken to the slaughter house for veal. He also was the only one of you boys who didn't deer hunt. I asked him why and he said"You don't shoot your friends."
At age 8 he climbed to the top of our house (40') and said the view was awesome! At 17 he also climbed to the top of the radio tower and it was awesome! You could never imagine what he would do next.
Yes, he gave me gray hair but he always was so loving and sweet to me he melted my heart. He was a dickens but he would help anyone who was in real need and we have heard many stories about that. He told me more than once if he died first he would wait for me. He always said he wouldn't live long. In many ways he was an old soul. Heaven must be a fun place with Andy there to tell stories and laugh. God love him and keep him. Mom
April 19, 2010
From Bill Rowan (Andy's uncle through marriage), Modesto, California:
I did not know Andy very well, even though he was my nephew, but I can attest to his affect on Ralph, his father. Ralph often told me that Andy had called and said so and so, "just so he could f**k with my mind!" I had to laugh every time he told that to me, because my daughter often had the same affect on me.
I will always remember the time Andy swam to shore when his fishing boat suddenly sank in the middle of the night off shore from San Francisco. In water dark and cold, he put on a survival suit and swam several miles alone to the rugged coastline just south of San Francisco. There he scaled the cliffs and found his way to a busy highway where he called 911 and no one believed him! It was truly a miracle that he made it to shore alive; testament to his lust for life. His life was filled with close calls with death, starting when he was a teen in a motorcycle accident.
Chef, fisherman, ships engineer, and entrepreneur. I guess you could say Andy understood that specialization is for insects.
God bless your soul Andy, we miss you! The world was a far better place when you were with us.
April 19, 2010
What's With the Tree?
The tree is called a Bodhi Tree. Andy was interested in the whole concept (see below) of the Bodhi Tree, so much so that he commissioned an artist from New Bedford named Alison Wells (http://www.alisonwells.com) to paint one on a canvas so he could hang it above his sofa. Unfortunately, he passed before the painting was complete. However, Alison, being the honest soul that she is, informed us of Andy’s request and presented it to us. Thanks Alison!
The Bodhi Tree was a large and very old Sacred Fig tree, located in India, under which Siddartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism, later known as Gautama Buddha, achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi. In religious iconography, the Bodhi tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed. It takes 100 to 3,000 years for a Bodhi tree to fully grow.
According to Buddhist texts the Buddha, after his Enlightenment, spent a whole week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing at it with gratitude. A shrine was later erected on the spot where he stood.
The term "Bodhi Tree" is also widely applied to currently existing trees, particularly the Sacred Fig growing at the Mahabodhi Temple, which is allegedly a direct descendant of the original specimen. This tree is a frequent destination for pilgrims, being the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites.
April 18, 2010
My parents used to buy Andy birthday and Christmas presents despite Andy's repeated protests that he didn't need or want gifts. One time my Mom was reading a magazine and came across a story about Smile Train. Andy had a birthday coming up and she was stuck trying to figure what to buy a son who said he didn't want anything...then an idea came to her. She made a donation to Smile Train and sent Andy a card telling him what she did with his birthday money. He immediately called her and said it was the best present he had ever received and asked that she continue donating to them instead of buying him presents.
When the family was going through the difficult process of compiling Andy's life into an obituary (See April 16, 2010 entry below), the one easy decision was that we would ask for donations to be made in Andy's name to his favorite charity. In January of 2010, Smile Train sent an email to my Mom to say that donations made in Andy's name have generated enough money to provide reconstructive surgery to 6 children, with enough money left over to defray a significant portion of the cost for a seventh child!
Andy's passing has been a very difficult event for his family. However, knowing that good people have donated to Smile Train in his memory, and that it has provided life-changing surgery to children, brings about a large measure of consolation to us. Thanks to everyone that have helped make this possible! We know Andy would be pleased.
Here is an email sent to my Mom from the folks at Smile Train:
From: Duncan Quirk
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 2:12 PM
Subject: Donations in Memory of your son
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Race,
On behalf of everyone here at Smile Train and all of the children that come through our programs, please accept our deepest condolences for the loss of your son Andrew. The donations that have been made in your son’s memory will provide six full surgeries and a significant portion of a seventh. I hope that this is of some consolation to you and your family.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let me know. We wish you all the best in these difficult times.
Donor Relations Associate
41 Madison Ave. 28th floor*
New York, NY 10010
(212) 689-9199 ext 228
Juliana - Before Juliana - After Maria - Before Maria - After
April 16, 2010
R. Andrew Race, age 37, died on November 10, 2009, while vacationing in Vietnam. He was born March 24, 1972 to Ralph and Margaret Neugebauer Race in Cortland, NY. Andy graduated from Cortland High School and received his Associate's Degree from New England Culinary Institute. In high school, Andy’s love of animals and the outdoors led to a job working on Willard and Jane Potter’s dairy farm where they treated him like family. Andy's high energy level, strong curiosity, love of adventure and zest for life then led him to Bermuda and various cities as a professional chef. He later became a commercial fisherman and was well known throughout the fishing industry on both coasts and the Bering Sea. In California, he was recognized by the NTSB for his assistance in the recovery of victims of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 off the coast of Los Angeles. Andy was also credited by the Coast Guard with lifesaving actions as a crewman aboard the capsized “Carol” off the San Francisco coast. Andy swam several miles to shore to alert authorities of crewmembers stranded at sea. Andy's home port was New Bedford, Massachusetts where he was the proud owner of an historical 1800's sea captain's home.
Andy is survived by his parents and his eight older siblings; Mary (Jack) Durant, Richard (Patricia), Robert, Charles (Ann), Nancy (Charles) Dalley, Carla (Michael) Shanahan, Kathleen (David) Lee, and John (Kristen). He also has 16 nieces and nephews and a great nephew.
Calling hours will be November 23rd at Riccardi Funeral Home and a Mass of Christian burial on November 24th at St. Mary's Church.
Donations can be made to Andy's favorite charity:
The Smile Train
41 Madison Avenue
NY, NY 10010
December 5, 2009
This story was written by a MySpace blogger who wishes to remain anonymous. I've taken the liberty to correct a few small factual errors but have left it almost intact in order to preserve the spirit the writer intended.
The Open Road
The Allure of the Open Road Calls Him
Andy Race went on a road trip, in spirit anyways.
At 16 he hopped on his dirtbike and hauled ass along the side of a railroad track as fast as he could. What he didn't know was that a concrete culvert bridge had been removed and Andy went face-first into the opposing wall at top speed. He decided it would be best at that point, with two broken femurs, to hang out and wait for someone to find him in the middle of nowhere. So he stared down death for the better part of a day in a culvert under the tracks until someone finally heard him calling out.
Andy Race went on a road trip, in spirit anyways.
He decided he was going to become the best gourmet chef ever, so he hustled off to learn the culinary arts. He ripped through that and served dignitaries and other big names like Carl Sagan. No challenge there.
Andy Race went on a road trip, in spirit anyways.
He wanted a real challenge, so he flew over to the Pacific Northwest and hopped on a fishing/crabbing outfit. One night out at sea, Andy woke up from his down-below bed to find the boat was upside down. He grabbed one other mate who was injured and swam back ten miles to the California shore in the dark of night. The land he met was a sheer cliff straight up, and Andy climbed it. He found a blue phone on the coastline highway and picked it up. The people on the other end of the line didn't believe him. So he called again. And again. His persistence resulted in saving a crew members life.
Andy Race went on a road trip, in spirit anyways.
He flew back and forth between the Atlantic and the Pacific, catching crab or whatever it was season for. A TV crew asked him to sign off on being filmed. Andy refused. So Andy isn't highlighted very much on the season of Deadliest Catch he was on.
Andy Race went on a road trip, in spirit anyways.
He decided he needed to find purpose, and for him that meant visiting a monastery. So Andy got up and left for Southeast Asia. He would see the sights that Asia had to offer, and then wait outside a Buddhist Temple. No second-thoughts, no wishy-washy, he just up and went once again, following his instincts.
Andy Race went on a road trip, in spirit anyways.
Earlier this week, Andy sat down in a comfy chair in his hotel room in Saigon and relaxed, as an embolism migrated through his body and found a new place to settle down, turning Andy's body and brain off. He was 37.
Andy Race is going on a road trip, in spirit anyways.
September 10, 2000
From the San Francisco Examiner:
Fishing boat capsizes off Daly City; 3 aboard
One crewman swims to shore, one rescued; body found in surf
Venise Wagner, OF THE EXAMINER STAFF
Sunday, September 10, 2000
Authorities are baffled over what caused a fishing boat to capsize off the coast of Daly City, apparently killing one of the crew.
Coast Guard boats and helicopters searched ocean waters from Pacifica to San Francisco for several hours Saturday after getting a report from the California Highway Patrol, said Coast Guard Lt. Stacey Gow.
Andy Race, a crew member aboard the commercial boat "The Carol," told sheriff's deputies that he called the CHP about 12:45 a.m. from an emergency call box on Highway 35 off Skyline Boulevard, after swimming to shore.
A person walking along the shore near Thorton Beach spotted a body floating in the surf around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Gow said. The San Mateo County coroner has not yet officially identified it as the missing crew member, who was the boat's captain.
Coast Guard searchers found the second crew member, Danny Wright, off Mussel Rock around 2:30 a.m. after he flashed a distress signal from a light attached to a survival suit.
Wright was taken to Mills Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame and treated for hypothermia. He was in stable condition Saturday night.
Gow said it is unclear what might have caused the fishing boat to capsize; the seas were pretty calm all day Friday.
"We don't know what happened," she said.
Sheriff's investigators said Race told them the crew left Pier 45 in San Francisco around 6 p.m. Thursday to fish for rock cod and halibut.
While napping below deck Friday afternoon, Race said he and Wright were thrown out of their bunks by a violent crash.
As they scrambled to the deck, the cabin quickly filled with water. Race, Wright and the captain abandoned ship, jumping into frigid waters.
Race, of San Rafael, told police that large swells separated the group. Race also said he had the luck of finding an immersion suit floating in the water and was able to put it on and swim to shore. When he reached the shore, he climbed up to the highway and called the CHP, he told sheriff's deputies.
The Coast Guard said it received a mayday signal Friday around 6 p.m. but said there was no description of either the boat, the nature of the problem or the boat's location.
This article appeared on page C - 8 of the Examiner