Ernest Albert “Andy” Andrews, former Montreat College trustee emeritus and a beloved fixture in the local Montreat and Black Mountain community for the past half century, passed away peacefully in his home at Highland Farms on Friday, April 22, 2016. Andrews was perhaps best known for his exploits during World War II, where he was a machine gunner in the D-Day invasion at Normandy and earned four Purple Hearts during the European campaign, but he is also remembered by those in his local community as a vital civic leader, a faithful church leader, a willing volunteer, a loyal friend, and a loving husband, father, and grandfather.
“Montreat College and the local community have lost a great friend,” said Montreat College President Paul Maurer. Andrews served on Montreat College’s Board of Trustees for 15 years, and his wife, Hellon, served at Montreat College as the bookstore manager and student activities director for 26 years, in addition to their many informal roles on and around the campus. “Montreat College lost a beloved and highly honored member of our community,” said Montreat College History Professor Bill Forstchen. “Andy and his wife Hellon served our community for a combined total of nearly 60 years as administrators, instructors, spiritual guides, and ‘campus parents.'”
Andy Andrews was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 27, 1923, the fourth of six children of Ernest (Andy) and Margaret Andrews. He was drafted into the military at the age of 18 and first saw action in WWII during the D-Day invasion as a machine gunner. Andrews participated in 26 ground battles in Europe, including the Battle of the Bulge, was wounded four times, and was awarded four Purple Hearts and four Bronze Stars for Bravery.
Andy and Hellon Andrews first arrived in Montreat in 1965, when Andrews was named conference director for the Montreat Conference Center, a position he would hold until 1980. Hellon was hired by Montreat College in 1965, and would serve at the college for 26 years, as the bookstore manager and then as student activities director. The Andrews built their Montreat home in 1969, where they would live for 30 years until moving to Black Mountain’s Highland Farms in 1999. They were longtime friends and neighbors with fellow Montreat residents Billy and Ruth Graham.
Andrews served 20 years on the Montreat Town Council, including two terms as mayor. Beginning in 1967, he served a decade as the founder and director of the Montreat College Conservation Club. After retiring from the Montreat Conference Center in 1980, Andrews became director of the Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce from 1980-1990. Over the years, he was also president of Asheville Area Chamber Executives, president of Asheville Tourism, chairman of Land of Sky Regional Council, president of the Black Mountain Rotary Club, manager of Lynx Condominiums, chairman of Christmas Child, and served on the Black Mountain News Board of Directors for 10 years. He spoke to countless groups, including home schools, middle schools, high schools, and college and university classes and civic clubs.
Andrews was a devoted friend and advocate of Montreat College, and served on the college’s Board of Trustees as a trustee emeritus from 1998-2007 and again from 2008-2013. According to Andrews in a 2012 interview, “The key distinctives of Montreat College are the quality of students, the Christian commitment of the faculty and staff, and the beautiful location of the North Carolina mountains.” In 2001, The Hellon and Andy Andrews Service Scholarship was created by the college as a tribute to “two special servants of the Lord who have devoted their lives to His calling, and to perpetuate their tradition of service before self through coming generations of students at Montreat College.” Recipients of the Andrews Service Scholarship are called to “represent the best traits of leadership, humility, scholarship and dedication to others.” In 2006, Andy and Hellon Andrews were awarded honorary doctorates by the college.
Andrews was also a longtime member of Christ Community Church in Montreat, where he served as a deacon and an elder, and in his later years, as the official greeter for the Montreat Morning School, which was one of his favorite jobs.
Andy and Hellon Andrews were married for nearly 60 years, until Hellon’s death in 2008. Andrews is survived by his daughter Sarah (married to Bill Murray) and his son Al (married to Nita), as well as grandsons Scott Murray and David Murray (married to Jade) and Brent and Hunter Andrews. In addition to his children and grandchildren, he is survived by his older brother Bennett and his younger sister Peggy, and a score of nephews, nieces, and their children.
Andrews will be buried at the Western Carolina State Veteran’s Cemetery in Black Mountain, North Carolina. A public memorial service will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, 2016 at Anderson Auditorium in Montreat, North Carolina. Donations can be made to Memory Care of Asheville or a charity of choice in honor of Andy Andrews.