In my entire life, I have never met a finer man than Andy. I corresponded with him for quite a time as we both had a love for flying, our dogs, and many of the same things in life. Those things were the simple things. From his treasured retreat in North Carolina, he would send me photos of things that he loved, again simple things. A flag pole made out of a fallen tree limb, a reading room he had recently built, the barbeque area which the stone wall that his mother built still stands.
All during our emails, I had no idea "who" he was. By that I mean he didn't want to show me his boat, his cars, none of his possessions that would have given me any idea that he had wealth. Instead, he showed me what he considered to be the greatest wealth, again, the simple things in life. Things money couldn't buy.
I had had a string of heart wrenching things happen to me. I never wanted to tell Andy about them but in one letter to him, never really giving specifics, he "read between the lines" and knew something was wrong. I shared with him the passing of my German Shepherd named Gunther and how he suffered during the euthanasia process, something that should never happen to a dog nor should a dog owner have to witness. To this day I still have trouble talking about it to anyone but I did tell Andy. He told me of recently losing his most loved dog, Flip, and how he understood the loss I was dealing with.
Andy then said, "Boy, you need to get out of this hole you're in. You said how much interest you have in the Civil War. I'm going to come to Charleston and show you my Great Great Grandfather's papers that are kept in the Historical Society". Meeting him and going with him, learning about the incredible family legacy that was forged by his relatives here in Charleston, it came as no surprise to me when I learned how successful he was in life.
When Curtis told me of Andy's passing, a part of me was gone with him. He did do what he set out to do. He took me out of an abyss, showed me self-worth, he changed my life as I know he has changed and helped others as well.
Curtis, without you by his side, Andy's life would never have been complete. Words cannot tell you how sorrowful I am for your loss. Do know that your loss is also a deep loss for many who knew Andy, including me. I wish to God I could have given to him 10 years of my own life so that he would still be here with us today.
The world has lost one of the finest men that has ever lived.