Andrew Anderson Smith (aka, Andy, Granddad, Dad, Chef André, Big Andy, Honey) was born in Glasgow, Scotland on August 26, 1946, to James, an engineer, and Violet, a retail shopkeeper.
Andy spent the first years of his life in Scotland. He and his parents moved to Canada when he was 5 years old. At 9, they immigrated to the United States settling in New Jersey. At 14 years old, he became a United States Citizen.
Andy contracted Polio at 7 years old and spent 3 months in the hospital. The illness left him with some limited strength in his right hand which he compensated for by becoming ambidextrous.
During his teen years, Andy and his mother spent their summers in Scotland. He split his time between the big city of Glasgow and the small island of Islay. In Glasgow, he played soccer and cricket in the streets and visited with his maternal family. In Islay, he explored the hills and beaches and helped his paternal family tend to their sheep and cattle. He loved roaming freely, and Islay later became the inspiration for his dream retirement home he and Marilyn built in Sequim.
As an only child and only grandchild, Andy was a very well-loved boy. This was especially true when it came to his Uncle Andrew, Aunt Isa, and his grandparents Nahie and Papa. His Papa, a professional soccer player, was his childhood hero.
Andy was an athlete. In high school, he participated in soccer, basketball, and track. After high school, he went to college at the University of Connecticut on a soccer scholarship.
At the age of 21, Andy volunteered for the United States Army knowing that he would be sent to Vietnam. He attended basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey, Combat Engineer Training at Fort Leonard Wood, and Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning. After that training, he was selected for Ranger Airborne School in Fort Benning. Andy’s proudest military accomplishment was becoming an Army Ranger.
In October 1969, he arrived in Vietnam as part of the 1st infantry division. He was a Recon Platoon Leader and later became Support Helicopter Battalion Company Commander. He was honorably discharged as a decorated war hero on January 20, 1971. Andy received many decorations including the following: the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, Bronze Star Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal, Air Medal, and the Vietnamese Medal of Gallantry with Silver Star.
His service in Vietnam enhanced his appreciation and respect for what members of the military have sacrificed for us all. An American flag always flew in his yard. He taught his children and grandchildren to love, respect, and appreciate their country. He sent family members messages on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day to keep the sacrifice of soldiers at the front of his children’s and grandchildren’s minds. Andy encouraged his grandchildren to always remember “You live in the greatest country in the world. Be proud to be an American – honor the men and women who have served this country. Remember freedom is never free.”
After serving our Country in Vietnam, Andy finished his academic career at BYU. While obtaining his bachelor’s degree at BYU, he also met his wife.
Andy and Marilyn met at church while at BYU, and he knew within weeks that he had found his wife. The feeling was mutual. Andy often told his children and grandchildren that “the best decision I ever made was marrying Grandma.” Through their 50 years together, Andy loved Marilyn’s patience, cooking, devotion, and mothering. They shared a love of their kids, grandkids, dogs, Mariners, Seahawks and BYU football, and the relaxed lifestyle Sequim offers.
Together Marilyn and Andy created a large, close family – their own Scottish clan. This clan started with their five children: Jared, Seth, Allyson, Nicole, and Ian, and included Andy’s mother who lived in their home for the last 20 years of her life. Andy loved being a dad. He coached his kids’ sports teams (including starting Lynden’s youth soccer program) and took the family on camping adventures. One of the important roles he played as a father was to be an excellent provider which allowed for Marilyn to be home and available to the kids. That was a priority for both of them. A testament to their success was a recent gathering to celebrate their 50 years of marriage. Their 5 children (and their families) all arrived in Sequim to celebrate. Marilyn and Andy’s kids spoke of how this amazing partnership has benefitted their lives.
The clan grew with the births of many grandchildren. The grandkids would tell you that their granddad was a great cook (chocolate chip pancakes was a favorite), a jokester and prankster (some of them are still afraid of the Sasquatch after the story he told them), and a great supporter of all their interests attending many of their school events and sporting events. One school event Andy especially enjoyed attending was the Veterans Day assembly in Anacortes where some of his grandkids attend school.
Andy connected to each of his grandchildren on an individual level and cared deeply about them. He loved to celebrate birthdays and other milestones with them. He gave generous gifts and helped many of the older grandchildren as they took their first steps into adulthood.
The house in Sequim was built to create a hobby farm for their grandkids. The kids loved the open space, kids’ pools, tractor rides, trampoline, huge playroom, animals, and campfire chats. In addition to creating a wonderful place for the grandchildren to play, Andy loved Sequim for the sunsets, room for the dogs to run, bucolic setting, and all the hummingbirds that came to visit.
Andy loved his 29-year career as a Federal Drug Agent for the DEA. He said the job was “challenging, dangerous, and rewarding.” During his career, he was involved in hundreds of arrests of dangerous/violent criminals and several shootouts. He was an intelligent, creative, and talented investigator. He could think outside the box to solve problems and gain information. Andy worked undercover for parts of his career. Andy was a brave man who served both the US Army and the DEA with honor.
After retirement, Andy took a job as a teacher of law enforcement tactics and strategy and traveled to agencies across the country.
Andy loved to make people laugh. Whether telling a cheesy “Dad” joke, pulling an April fool’s prank, or sending a hilarious and fitting gif he kept everyone around him laughing.
Andy loved animals – especially dogs. Andy and Marilyn had several dogs throughout their lives together. They especially liked pugs during the early years of their marriage and Golden Retrievers once the grandkids were around. Andy loved that “no matter how bad your day was, the dogs always show you love and affection.” Andy and Marilyn also had highland cattle (important to Andy after his time working with them in Islay), chickens, and cats.
In addition to being a fierce patriot, Andy also loved his country of origin: Scotland. Andy shared this love with his family. Steak pies, sausage rolls, shortbread, and HP sauce are favorite foods of the Smith clan. When the clan was together, Andy flew the Scottish flag on his property (aptly named “Smaull Farm” after his family farm in Islay, Scotland). Bagpipe music was often played, especially during one of Andy’s Christmas DVDs.
Andy was a great conversationalist and an amazing storyteller. He remembered his experiences in Scotland, Vietnam, and working for the DEA in vivid detail and shared his memories with family and friends. He told these stories both for their entertainment value as well as for the purpose of teaching life lessons and honoring the bravery and sacrifice of others.
Andy was outgoing and made friends easily. He maintained long-term friendships that he cherished.
Andy was fortunate to have three half-siblings come into his life as an adult. Jenny, Tommy, and Courtney and their mother, Charlotte, all became important members of Andy’s clan.
Andy had a huge presence and was a true one-of-a-kind. He was stubborn as can be and had a never-give-up mindset. This mindset served him well as he survived polio, served in Vietnam, worked as a DEA agent, raised 5 kids, and survived longer than expected as his health began to fail. He passed peacefully at home on September 2, 2021, with his forever loving wife by his side. He will be greatly missed, but we are sure he is getting a wonderful embrace from his Mother, Father, his Uncle Andrew and Aunt Isa, his Granddad, and so many others he has missed for a long time.
In lieu of flowers, Andy’s family suggests a donation to Tunnels to Towers. This organization’s mission is to honor the sacrifice of firefighters who died on 9/11. They also honor our military and first responders who continue to make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for our country.
The military funeral honors will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 16, 2021, at Tahoma National Cemetery. (More details will be added as they come available.)
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