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Sandy Andrews (1934-2018)

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    Sandy Andrews

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    Sandra Lorraine Andrews

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Sandra Lorraine Andrews

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Sandy Andrews, an advocate for people with developmental disabilities and their families, as a social worker for a Lucas County agency and then as a partner in a company that offers housing and employment services, died Sunday at University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio hospital. She was 84.

The cause of death was not known, but she had recent health problems, her daughter Helen Shuff said.

Ms. Andrews of South Toledo stepped back about 10 years ago from Triad Residential Services, of which she was a founder along with Tom Miller and Todd Frick. The trio were long associated with what is now called the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and each had a specialty. Ms. Andrews closed her 30-year career at the board as a case management supervisor.

“I thought of her as the matriarch of Triad,” said Mr. Frick, who was Medicaid benefits coordinator for the board. “She was always somebody who made sure everybody was taken care of, whether her colleagues or family or our consumers. 

“She was a selfless person. More than anyone I know, she left her mark in the [developmental disability] field,” Mr. Frick said.

Each partner’s specialty resulted in a triad of approaches to a given situation.

“We loved each other to death, but we could be at each other’s throats. We were yin and yang,” Mr. Frick said. “We would somehow come in the middle, and that’s how it became such a great institution. The best came out of everybody’s ideas.

“It wouldn’t have been Triad without Sandy,” Mr. Frick said.

She was a mother of seven who helped with secretarial duties in her husband’s law office when she became a bus driver for the board of developmental disabilities in 1967. She pursued her own education, receiving an associate degree from the former University of Toledo community and technical college. She later received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from UT.

She also advanced at the board. Consumers of board services and their parents came to her with their problems.

“When she started this passion and this work was at a time when people were becoming more aware of their rights, and she became an advocate for their rights,” her daughter Helen said.

She saw clients as individuals, each with talents and abilities to be discovered, said her daughter Catherine Andrews, who was among Ms. Andrews’ children who volunteered at the former Larc Lane School.

“We all caught the compassion bug at a young age,” she said.

Ms. Andrews  took pride in working for people with developmental disabilities as humane care became a standard, said her daughter Shavaun Andrews, who works at the Northwest Ohio Developmental Center.

“She really instilled that in me. I’m real proud to work in the business,” daughter Shavaun said.

Sandra Lorraine Cook was born Jan. 29, 1934, in Jobs, Ohio, to Margaret and Lester Cook. The family moved to Cleveland because of job opportunities there. Her father was killed during military service in World War II. The family moved again, to the former Ironville neighborhood of East Toledo, because her mother’s sister lived there.

She was a 1951 graduate of Waite High School.

She learned to sew as a girl. As a mother, she sewed her four daughters’ school clothing — and on occasion, they’d wear matching gingham or red polka dot dresses to school on the same day. She also made the dresses she wore to work. 

She was fond of Broadway musicals, which she attended at venues around northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, including the Croswell Opera House in Adrian. 

She was formerly married to the late F.C. Andrews. Their son Thomas Andrews died in 2005.

Surviving are her daughters Catherine, Mary, and Shavaun Andrews and Helen Shuff; sons Timothy and Patrick Andrews; brother, Kirk Hughes; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandson.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Coyle Funeral Home, where services will be at 10 a.m. Friday.

The family suggests tributes to the Maumee Valley Chapter of Partners for Inclusion, formerly known as Maumee Valley Civitan, with which she was long active.

Contact Mark Zaborney at mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

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