A Life Lived: Claude Andrews had a knack for having fun and being a hard worker

Published 12:53 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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Claude Andrews had a knack for telling stories and growing watermelons. “He was full of stories, most of them real-life experiences,” said his daughter, Julia Lewis. Claude was one of ten children, all of whom preceded him in death except for a brother, Ernest. He lived most of his life in the Elk Mills-Poga Community.
Claude was 85 years old at the time of his death on July 20.
Julia described her father as a kind, gentle man who loved his family. “He took really good care of my mother, whom he was married to for 61 years. He doted on her and made sure she had what she needed. He had been my mother’s caregiver for the past seven years or more,” she shared.
Claude and his wife, Orah Lee, were members of the Piney Grove Church of Christ, where he served as song leader for a number of years. In earlier years they had attended the Stout Hill Church of Christ. Among his favorite songs were “Rock of Ages” and “The Last Mile of the Way.”
Julia said her father taught himself music. “He learned the notes and often would practice singing his songs while sitting on the front porch. He would sing and wave at the neighbors when they passed,” she shared.
Claude loved the neighborhood children and was known to them as the “The Watermelon Man.” For the longest time he grew watermelons in his garden and when they ripened he would deliver them one by one to the neighborhood children. “He made sure every child in the community got a watermelon,” Julia said.
In addition to his watermelons, he grew vegetables. strawberries, and a field of blueberries, which he also shared also with the neighbors.
A U.S. Army veteran, Claude spent most of service time in Colorado, and had dreams of one day returning to the area to visit, but it was a dream lost to time. He worked for more than 35 years at the North American Rayon plant in Elizabethton, driving to work each shift. “He went and come in all kinds of weather – rain, sleet, and snow. We lived on a hill and sometimes if the snow was deep, he would have to park his car at the foot of the hill and walk to the house,” Julia said.
Claude loved his family and enjoyed spending time with them. “He often would take us fishing or swimming at the Atlee Brown swimming hole. He got in the water with us. We had some really fun times. His family was his life. They were the reason behind a lot of the things he did – his work, gardening, etc.,” Julia added.
Julia shared that her mother and daddy eloped and got married when he was home on leave from service. In addition to Julia, Claude and Orah Lee have a son, Michael. An infant son, Dayton Joseph, preceded them in death. They also have a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom Claude adored.
Julia described her father as a family person, who enjoyed being at home. “Every Sunday evening growing up we would watch Disney World together. He liked watching football games on TV, but for the most part he enjoyed doing things with me and my brother and later with the grandkids,” Julia shared.
“Daddy wasn’t a fancy eater. He enjoyed vegetables from the garden. I guess his favorite meal was pot roast,” she said. “He did enjoy his garden and raising vegetables,” Julia said.
A friend wrote on the funeral home tribute page: “It was an honor knowing Claude; his sense of humor was one of a kind.”
Someone wrote: “Success isn’t always about greatness.” Claude Andrews probably never did anything great. But the things he will be known for make for greatness – hard work, a good husband and family man, and his love for the Lord, his church, and neighbors.
Claude Andrews was laid to rest in the Isaacs Cemetery on Buck Mountain.

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