William Jefferson Andrews Jr. of Muldrow, Oklahoma passed quietly on September 8, 2011 after a brief illness. Born on January 29th, 1922 in Hartman, Arkansas to William Andrews Sr. and Lela Patterson Andrews, he was 89 years old. Friends and others close to him knew him as "Willie" or "W.J.", but to his family he will always be remembered as " PaPa". He loved his family and friends, and tried to always see the good in everyone. He was a Building Contractor in Arkansas and Oklahoma and made countless friends through the years, both professional and personal; however, his career path began in the United States Navy during World War II where he was assigned to a construction battalion, more commonly know as a "SEABEE". Deploying throughout the Pacific Theatre he helped construct piers and other basing projects to support the advancing forces of our nation. He cherished those Navy days his entire life, and many of his fellow Seabees became lifelong friends. Attending the battalion reunions became an annual event for him, missing only 2 or 3 during his life. His eyes would fill with pride when he would recall some of the experiences he remembered overseas.
With the war over, the transition to civilian life was an easy one for W.J. He relocated in Fort Smith, Arkansas to start his family. He had become a master carpenter with his wartime training and decided to continue building as a civilian. Through the years he became well known as a homebuilder and later a commercial contractor, spanning over 50 years in Arkansas and Oklahoma. His work ethic was an inspiration to those who knew him as he believed in staying busy as a key to success. He instilled pride and respect in his family and friends, and never deviated from the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
During the mid 70's he relocated to Muldrow, Oklahoma. He wanted to once again enjoy some of the good times he remembered as a child growing up on a farm in Johnson County, Arkansas, raising a few cows, growing a garden, a place to share with his wife, his children and his grandchildren. This would be a time he would show the importance of the simple things in life to those around him. What an adventure it has been! We will forever cherish the days we spent with him down on the farm. We will always miss you PaPa!
He was predeceased by his brother Ralph Andrews of Richmond, California, a brother Harold Andrews in the home as a young boy, and a grandson Kenneth Andrews of Muldrow, Oklahoma.
Survivors include his wife Nella, a sister Carolyn Thronson and husband Robert of San Antonio, Texas, a sister-in-law Winona Andrews of Richmond, California, daughter Ann Karr of Alma and husband Jerry, sons Gary Andrews of Muldrow and wife Brenda, Stephen Andrews of Muldrow and wife Karen, and Ricky Andrews of Muldrow and wife Patti. Grandchildren Theresa, Gwen, Gary Dale, Kim, Tracy, Cory, Jennifer, Cara, Steve, Kimberly, Kristina, Melanie, Bradley, Hillary. There are many great- grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
The family wishes to give special thanks to his caregivers, Dee and Mary Dawn for their devotion and care during his last few weeks. Additionally, the staff at Hospice gave Dad much comfort and was always there when we needed them. Together these people made our Dad's passing much easier.
W.J. was a member of the First Baptist church in Fort Smith and loved his church family. He leaves many friends behind but he is now with the Lord, and that is reason to rejoice for him. Service will be in Edwards Funeral Chapel at 10:00 AM on Monday, September 12, 2011, with service being conducted by the Reverend Dale Thompson. A private burial will be held at the National Cemetery in Fort Smith, Arkansas all under the direction of Edwards Funeral Home.
Pall bearers will be Steve Andrews, Brad Andrews, Mark Walters, Brandon Green, Rocky Rodebush, and Donnie Rodebush.
The family will greet friends at Edwards Funeral Home on Sunday from 2-4 PM.
To sign an online guestbook visit www.edwardsfuneralhome.com