A speech made by Andy's mother at the April 27th Plaque Ceremony.
Andy's Memorial Service
University of Ottawa
April 27, l999
A lot of you only knew Andy for a short time but for those of us who knew him
longer, we all know how special he was. There will never be closure to his death
because we will be asking for the rest of our lives why this act of violence had to
happen. Why does a good person lose his life before his time?
When Andy was born we were all so excited. Roddy wanted a little brother.
Roddy carried around a Raggedy Andy Doll with him all the time. It was like a
He wanted to call his new brother Andy, so we did. He didn't understand why his
baby brother didn't come home from the hospital when I did. We were told he was
going to die and nothing could be done for him. He had a congenital heart defect.
Whether it was a miracle or mistake, we didn't have to tell Roddy the terrible news.
Everything turned out all right. We were given a second chance and we thanked God
Andy dressed up on a summer evening
Roddy was very protective of his little brother. He was always afraid someone
would take him. They grew up side by side. Same clothes, same toys and same
interests. Every picture we have Roddy has his arms around Andy or Andy has his
around Roddy. They had a special bond which lasted until the night Andy was
Life was good to all of us. Andy was always so content. He was our
easy-go-lucky one. He was always keeping the peace in our family. He was
everybody's friend. He never found fault with anyone. Everybody liked him.
I received a phone call last month from one of Andy's best friends who had lived
in Barrhaven when we did. He had moved to the east coast and just heard the news
about Andy. He said Andy didn't deserve to die this way. A knife to his heart... He
said Andy was always trying to keep the peace among their friends. He always
wanted everyone to get along.
Andy and Mike driving a golf cart
Andy always wanted to be a big brother. His wish came true when he was 11
years old. My husband and I made an agreement. Because of the big age difference,
this baby was our responsibility and in no way were we going to burden the boys.
Andy didn't see it this way, his wish had come true. He was there for Michael right
from the start and always told him he would be here for him the rest of his life.
Andy went straight to the nursery to get his little brother. The special bonding
had already started. Every time I turned around Michael was cradled in his arms.
Over time Andy was spending more and more time with Michael. Roddy was 16
years old and looking for his independence. He was busy with school, his friends and
working part-time in a grocery store. He even joined the reserves
which took him away on week-ends.
Andy was busy with school, his friends, baseball in the summer and swimming
lessons. He was three levels ahead of everyone for his age. Hockey soon became his
favourite sport. He loved it. It was wonderful watching him. He was like Wayne
Gretzky. He wouldn't push or shove. He was out to play hockey and have fun. He
was made Team Captain one year. For Andy's 13th birthday his party was celebrated
with his hockey team. The slab cake was the design of a hockey rink. It was the
It was Andy who convinced us to let Michael play hockey. We thought he was
too small and would get hurt. Andy said playing hockey was the best years of his life
and Michael should have a chance at it.
Over the years the bonding between Andy and Michael just got stronger. Michael
looked to Andy for all his guidance. He would do anything for him. Michael felt so
secure with Andy. There was always laughter and joking going on.
Andy (left) and Rod Jr. cautiously approaching an elk while on vacation in B.C. (1978)
When Andy went off to Ottawa University Michael had difficulty accepting the
separation from Andy. Even Michael's teacher was concerned. She had noticed how
close both boys were. Andy would even pick Michael up at noon hour and have
lunch with him. Most boys Andy's age were at the mall for lunch but Andy chose to
come home with his little brother. Michael would talk about Andy all day long at
school. Andy was Michael's mentor.
Over time Michael realized he would always be part of Andy's life but in a
different way. Andy promised Michael when it was time for him to go to
university he could live with him. I use to tell Andy not to make promises like that.
He had his life and we would take care of Michael. Andy would just smile and say
he meant every word.
While attending Ottawa U. Andy re-kindled his love for his older brother Roddy.
They started spending more and more time together. They both shared the same
interests. Roddy graduated from Ottawa University with honors. He started a full
time job as an engineer at Nortel in Kanata. Soon Andy started working there as a
co-op student. They had good times working side by side. Andy was so impressed
and couldn't wait for the day he would join his brother full time.
(young) Andy with (baby) Mike
We were so happy to see Roddy and Andy getting closer. They both had
wonderful lives and were very happy. They were young men and entering a new
phase of their lives. What more could we ask for - we had the BEST.
Andy was always looking out for Michael. It was Andy who talked us into getting
a puppy for Michael. He thought he wouldn't be as lonesome when he left. Andy
was right again. Michael called his dog Buddy. When he was little he called Andy
his Buddy. The dog and Michael are best friends. They are always together. Buddy isn't
the same now. He senses the sadness in our home. He knows someone is missing.
Two years ago Andy suffered two heart
attacks. We found ourselves praying all over again. Andy couldn't die. He had too
much living to do. We were spared again. He had contracted a virus which attacked
the muscle of the heart and in time and with lots of rest he would be fine.
We were at the Heart Institute just last week. We wanted to see if Andy
qualified to have his name inscribed on the Tree of Life which is in the main lobby.
He did. This would be another lasting tribute. The person we were talking to knew
of Andy. She said that had the virus attacked the heart, Andy would have been a prime
candidate for a heart transplant. He was very fortunate.
Andy in his Engineering Jacket
I know Andy was planning on being around for a long long time. When we first
moved to Brockville Andy made friends with a boy named Duncan Ker. They went to
his cottage one day. They brought Michael with them. They had a ball. When they
returned Andy said he wanted to have a cottage some day. It would be a great
gathering place for his children and grand-children.
On that terrible morning of Dec. 23 we didn't know Andy had died until 4 a.m.
We didn't have time to pray - we didn't have time to say good-bye. Our Angel will
never be coming home. Our hearts are all broken. Andy was everybody's peace
keeper. Andy didn't deserve to die this way - at the hands of someone who had no
value for someone else's life.
Michael says he knows Andy is in heaven and if he stays good he will be with
him some day. He won't cry because he says Andy wants him to be happy. He
wraps Andy's quilt tightly around him and says a prayer and a good-night to him every
We have to hold on to the wonderful memories of Andy and hopefully one day
we will all be together again.
Andy was truly "GOD'S LENT CHILD".
To Andy's friends who where there that terrible night. Thank you, especially Craig
Wells. Andy died in your arms. He wasn't alone. Andy lives on in all your hearts.
He will be watching over all of you the rest of your lives. He would want all of you
to have a great life. He would want you to live every minute to the fullest.
Andy, Mike and Rod Jr.
My husband and I want to say a special thank you to our son Roddy for creating the
Memorial Web page in memory of Andy. We saw how you were hurting but you still
carried on. It's wonderful being able to turn on the computer and see
Andy wearing his Ottawa U. leather jacket that you bought for him. He looks so
proud. It's as if Andy is still with us when we see him and hear his voice on his web
Karen, thank you for being here for Roddy and helping him through this difficult time.
Michael, thank you for being so brave. Andy is your Guardian Angel now. He
knows Roddy will be here for you.
You can read more about Andy's Memorial Scholarship