Barbara Gean Andrews passed away quickly and peacefully Saturday, November 11, 2023, at Eden Terrace in Spartanburg, SC following a brief illness. Barbara (Bobbie) was born to Charles Elton and Tonia McDonald on February 9, 1928, in Alameda, CA, where she grew up under the care of her parents, and after her mother’s untimely death in 1934, her grandmother Josephine.
She attended Junior College and received a Bachelor of Arts from UCLA. She undertook further study to obtain a teaching certificate and spent two years in Hawaii teaching third grade before returning to California. In 1954, Bobbie met Rafe Andrews at a party at her father’s new home in Sacramento. Rafe had been stationed in California during World War II and had returned for a visit. They began a correspondence, and Rafe visited two more times over the course of a year. On his third visit, they were married, on August 13, 1956, in Reno, Nevada, and Bobbie moved back with Rafe to his home in Wynne, Arkansas, where Rafe was a banker and farmer. Together Rafe and Bobbie had five children, and her days in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s were more than filled up caring for them. Nevertheless, she was also active in the local PTA, PEO, Cub Scouts and Brownies, Bridge Clubs and as a member of Grace Episcopal Church.
Rafe and Bobbie loved to travel, and were able to take a number of trips, particularly in their later years, to England, Western Europe, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, and Thailand (her favorite). In the United States they particularly loved visiting New Orleans and San Francisco. In 2008 Rafe and Bobbie moved to Spartanburg, SC. Rafe unfortunately passed away shortly thereafter, but Bobbie thrived in her apartment at Summit Hills Retirement Community, enjoying meals with her friends, bridge, and other activities. She was an active affiliate member at First Presbyterian Church where she attended worship services, concerts, and was a popular fixture at Wednesday night suppers.
Bobbie liked to talk. She never met a stranger, and upon meeting someone would quickly be able to tell you about their work, their families and their hobbies. She was a fan of many sports but especially tennis, and had no problem approaching famous players for conversation and autographs on her yearly visits to the US Indoor Championships in Memphis, TN. She was famous in family circles for mispronouncing names. Panera Bread became Pandera, Downton Abbey became Downtown Abbey and her granddaughter’s husband Travis Muthig became Travis Munchkin. However, she never mispronounced Talbots… Bobbie Andrews assumed the best about everything and everyone. She loved life and looked always looked forward, never backwards.
The night before she died she wanted the times and channels for the best college football games the next day. Most of all, she loved people without regard to their circumstances in life, and no one in her family recalls her saying an unkind word about anyone, ever.
Bobbie is survived by her son Holt and his wife Marcia, of Spartanburg, SC; daughter Barbara and her husband Tyler, of Boise, ID; son Block and his wife Adrienne of Overland Park, KS; daughter Julie and her husband Paul of Grafton, WV, and daughter Marty and her husband JP of Magnolia, AR. She leaves thirteen grandchildren: Rafe, Carrie, Erin, William, Alex, Jonathan, Anna, Jannelle, Cameron, Kirsten, Rachael, Sarah, and Elizabeth. She loved them all and was especially delighted to welcome her first great-grandchild, Elliot, and loved getting pictures and ghost-written letters from him.
A service of celebration of her life will be held on Tuesday, November 14 at 4:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg, led by Rev. Alan Dyer and Rev. Joanne Hull, with musicians Brennan Szafron, Marcia Andrews, Janet Kuntz, Kelly Vaneman, Lisa Cunningham, Rafe Andrews, and March Moody.
Memorial donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church Spartanburg,393 East Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302, or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 stjude.org/memorial.