Andrea Sloan completed a life abundantly well-lived on January 1, 2014. This beloved woman was known to her multitude of family, friends, admirers and supporters as a spitfire of generous, loving exuberance.
Though her years in this world were fewer than we hoped, let it be known the reason: Most all mundane hours and periods of sour spirit or wasteful failure of character were intentionally carved out of Andrea's life, resulting in such a concentration of zestful eagerness, sincerity, character, strength, passion, kindness and luminosity that only the most courageous and determined soul could possibly have owned it. And she did.
Andrea was born January 23, 1968 and grew up on the trail of her parents' teaching careers, which took the family to some of America's most beautiful places including Durango, Colorado; Park City, Utah; California; and Wyoming.
She competed on the swim and soccer teams in grade school; at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler, she was a member of the National Honor Society, participated in the gifted program in all academic areas, competed with the debate team and was chosen for both Girls State and Presidential Classroom. She earned a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin, where she also earned her law degree in 1997.
Andrea started her career around the Capitol as a page and quickly advanced to serve as a Legislative Aide for Rep. James Hury and Rep. Jim McReynolds, then as a junior lobbyist for Louis Bacarisse & Associates. She worked for eight years at Haynes & Boone law firm, where she practiced construction litigation while also serving meaningful causes including the Texas Freedom Network, the Texas Hill Country Ride for AIDS and United Way of Central Texas. She served on and chaired the City of Austin's HIV Planning Council.
In 2005, she was named Executive Director and General Counsel for the Texas Advocacy Project, where she oversaw a staff of attorneys providing free legal services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
She spoke of her passion in life as 'serving up a bowl of justice' because she was driven to use her law degree to help inject an increased level of fairness into all aspects of our world. Andrea was a zealous and effective advocate for her clients but always in the context of being a thoughtful, ethical officer of the court.
Andrea was a 'foodie.' Topping her list was the white queso at Zocalo. She loved the mac & cheese and brussel sprouts at Perla's, the migas at South Congress Café, the fresh pastas at Becco's in New York's Hell's Kitchen, her mother's ravioli at home, the salsa bar and cheese enchiladas at Polvos, the Mezza platter at Phara's, Italian cream cake, Kalamata olives and, of course, thin and crispy crust pizza!
A committed vegetarian, she had a huge heart for all animals. She treasured the many German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois dogs she had adopted over time, and in recent years she spent many hours with her beloved Quarter Horse, Heathen.
Andrea loved having fun. She put on vampire teeth to pass out Halloween candy. She held Christmas cookie parties that became sleepovers because no one wanted to leave. She loved trips to Bandera, and her friends dubbed her 'Bandrea' because of her love of the town and its cowboy culture.
Music fueled her Rock Star life. If there was a concert within 300 miles, it was fair game for a road trip. She was a dedicated Bon Jovi fan and loved 'hair bands' from the '80s as well as The Bellamy Brothers and Luke Bryan.
Andrea learned that she had ovarian cancer in 2006, but she did not let that change the way she lived her life outside of treatments. Her love for adventure only grew as she traveled more often and to farther-flung places. This petite blonde loved to ride her Harley Davidson, but she traded it for the serenity and adventure offered by time spent with her faithful steed, Heathen.
She loved adventure and was at home in nature. She cycled across Alaska for an AIDS fundraiser, hiked the Narrows at Zion National Park and whitewater rafted in the Grand Canyon. She had entertained the idea of someday becoming a National Park Ranger, and the National Park Service awarded Andrea an honorary membership last year.
Andrea was a faithful blogger who loved words. She was a careful speaker and a great listener. She admired strength of character in people who do the right thing even when it's hard. She always made time for the people she loved.
She loved her family: her parents and sister; her niece, nephews and brother-in-law; her cousins; and her 'framily' of friends. She was passionate about being Aunt Andi. She cared deeply for the children and often engaged her friends in planning new ways to spoil them.
She was a strong believer in God, a Christian who greatly respected the right of others to practice their beliefs in their own personal way. Her faith gave her great strength and courage to fight cancer and to accept her destiny with grace and gratitude.
She loved and appreciated her life, blogging that she would not choose to rewrite any part of her story. While she did not choose her battle with cancer, she certainly chose the means by which she would face it with faith, humor and the will to summon new courage every day.
In this, and in her advocacy on behalf of all cancer patients, she inspired people across Texas, the nation and the world who logged in daily to read her quips of wisdom, progress reports and enlist themselves in 'Andi's Army' to advocate alongside her for Compassionate Use Reform.
Andrea was preceded in death by her maternal grandfather, Fay Livers of Longview, Texas; paternal grandmother Grace Daluiso Santolucito of San Bernardino, Calif.; paternal grandfather Gordon Sloan of San Bernardino, Calif.; aunt Rebecca Livers Oliver of Longview, Texas; and aunt Marilyn Donovan of Salt Lake City, Utah.
She is survived by the most phenomenal parents on the planet, John Harmon Sloan and Karen Livers Sloan of Tyler, Texas; sister Ashley Sloan Harrison, brother-in-law Andrew Harrison, niece Anne-Marie, and nephews Pike and Price, all of Round Rock, Texas; maternal grandmother Elsie Albin Livers of Longview, Texas; aunt Jan Sloan of Salt Lake City, Utah; uncles Gordon Sloan of West Jordan, Utah; Michael Sloan of Dayton, Ohio, and Donald Oliver of Longview, Texas; and many first and second cousins. She is survived by her BFFs Michelle Wittenburg of Austin, Mary Smith of Tyler, Blair Hodgkins of Austin, and by countless more friends everywhere.
The family extends its most sincere gratitude to Andrea's beloved and committed oncologist and lifesaver, Dr. Charles Levenback at MD Anderson, and to her extraordinary medical team: Drs. Robert Coleman, John Meroney, Yago Nieto, Anuja Jhingran, Carol Lewis and nurse Celine Chacko.
A celebration of her life will be held Friday, Jan. 31 at 4:30 p.m. at Camp Lucy, 3509 Creek Road, in Dripping Springs.
Andrea asked for any gifts in her name to benefit one or more of the following: MD Anderson's Ovarian Moon Shots Program (https://gifts.mdanderson.org/), be sure to select "in memory of" Andrea Sloan or mail to MD Anderson Center, Andrea Sloan Memorial Fund, PO Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486; the KK125 Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (www.kk125.org or PO Box 12581, Austin, TX 78711); or the Texas Advocacy Project (https://www.texasadvocacyproject.org/donate.php or 1524 S. IH 35, Box 19, Austin, TX 78704).
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Jan. 25 to Jan. 26, 2014