A Life Lived: France Andrews was a noble and gentle person

Published 1:31 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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By all accounts Walter France Andrews, Sr. was a noble person, who many in the community looked up to, admired and respected.
Walter Andrews died January 7 at the age of 92. He was raised in the Cobbs Creek and Bunton Town Communities of Johnson County, but had lived in Hampton for many years. Andrews was not only a hard worker, but a talented worker. Through the years he had held several jobs, among them Wright and Lopez Construction, Hanley Structures, and North American Rayon. His last job was at East Tennessee State University in Facilities, where he is still remembered as a hard worker and kind and gentle person.
Jack Smith, a long-time friend of Andrews and his family, said Walt made many friends during his time at ETSU, where he worked as a carpenter, plumber, and painter. “He enjoyed his time at ETSU and made many many friends. His three daughters, who work at ETSU, were often asked by friends at the university about their dad,” Smith shared.
“He was a number one person. He was there for his family, his church, his neighbors. Walt was there for everyone,” said Smith, who had known him for over 50 years.
Andrews was a very faithful member of Pierce’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, where he led the singing for many, many years. “He liked to sing the old songs and in his earlier years had attended a number of singing schools and learned the shape note method of music. He could sing most parts,” said Smith.
As a bass singer he sang with several gospel groups and friends including Gib Hardin and Mack Holloway.
His pastor, Greg Largent, who had known Andrews for only about a year and a half, shared, “Walt was a good man, faithful to his church. He was a wonderful person and loved to sing. He surely will be missed.”
Smith said Andrews not only led the singing at the church, but did a lot of maintenance at the church. “He could do wiring, carpentry, whatever. He was good at a lot of things. He was an outstanding man, and I admired him. He also raised a good family,” said Smith.
A grandson, Lucas Andrews, coaches girls basketball at Elizabethton High. A granddaughter, Tanika, is a school principal and her husband is a coach at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C.
Smith noted that Andrews enjoyed playing golf and was the designated putter on the teams he played on. “He enjoyed traveling to Myrtle Beach, S.C., with his sons to play weekend tournaments in the summer. There was not much, Walt couldn’t do,” said Smith.
Temple Reece on the funeral home tribute page wrote: “I looked to him (Walt) as a role model. He was a kind, gentle man.”
A nephew, Tim Andrews, wrote: “I looked up to my Uncle Walt…a man whose Christian light shined every day.”
Walter Andrews was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Betty “Noletta” Campbell, and a son, Robert Paul Andrews.
His survivors include two sons, Jeff and Walter Andrews, Jr., and three daughters, Theresa Marlow, Patti Marlow and Robin Grindstaff.
Walter F. Andrews lived a long and full life. He was a person that was admired, and most would agree he lived his faith. And for a certainty he could in all sincerity sing: “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.”

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