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There is another 'Ghost Rider in the Sky' now as Gerry Andal, and friend to so many, passed away on March 11, 2011, due to complications from heart surgery.
Born April 18, 1943, in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Gerry's biggest passions as a youngster were sports and music. He excelled in both. He came to Seattle on a full scholarship to play football at the University of Washington, where he also earned a degree in finance. Afterward he moved on to the University of Michigan to earn his MBA. He then worked for Ford Motor Company in Detroit and then Denver, before returning to the Northwest where, with the help of his father-in-law, Bill Gazecki, he opened Gerry Andal Lincoln-Mercury in Burien at age 29. It was the first of many businesses both in the car and restaurant industries that bore his name.
Gerry was incredibly involved in the community and lived for the opportunity to serve others. Over the years, he coached dozens of youth football teams in the Seattle, Federal Way, and Arlington areas. He was one of the founding members of Big Brothers and Sisters of Snohomish County, and Equifriends, a program that introduces handicapped kids to horses and horsemanship. In addition, Gerry served on the boards of the Everett Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Restaurant Association. A talented entertainer, Gerry opened for many big acts over the years including: Johnny Cash, Reba McIntyre, and many others. Additionally, for over 20 years, he hosted a few different versions of his own country music TV show. He was also known to show up, just him and his guitar, to sing at senior citizens homes, and bring joy to others. The shows, parades, fundraising events that he gave his time freely to over the years are too numerous to count.
Gerry is survived by his wife, Rhonda; sons, Greg and Kevin; daughter, Ashley; mother of his sons, Sharon; sisters, Margene, Valerie, and Shirley; brother, Vern; all of their families; as well as many beloved grandchildren.
Gerry was a shining star that stopped burning earlier than any one expected. Those that met him will tell you his star burned incredibly bright, with a great passion for life, a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone. He, too, would tell you he lived an amazing life. Gone too soon, he packed a massive life into his 68 years. Rest in peace, Gerry. The world was a better place with you in it. We all share your stardust.
The family would like to acknowledge the staff at Providence Hospital, who worked so valiantly trying to revive him and who were incredibly kind and compassionate in our time of huge loss.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Gerry's favorite organizations: Everett Youth Hockey League, Stanwood Therapeutic Riding, Greater Everett Community Foundation and The Bob Drewel Human Services Scholarship Fund.
A public memorial will be held on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 2 p.m. at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Comcast Arena in the Grand Ball Room, 2000 Hewitt Avenue, Everett, WA 98201.
Published in The Herald (Everett) on Mar. 23, 2011