Walter G. Andrews
Walter Andrews was born in Pittsburg Pennsylvania on May 23, 1939 to Louise Seeger Andrews and Walter G. Andrews, Sr. He died from cancer on May 31, 2020.
Walter grew up in the outskirts of Saint Paul, Minnesota and graduated from the Saint Paul Academy in 1957. He graduated in 1961 from Carleton College in Northfield Minnesota with a major in English. At Carleton he met and married Melinda Kohler, the love of his life. After college Walter and Melinda traveled to Istanbul Turkey, where Walter became interested in Turkish language and culture. He went on to the University of Michigan where he earned an MA in English and a PhD in Turkish Language and Literature.
Walter and Melinda came to Bellevue, Washington in 1968 to begin his life-long career at the University of Washington, where he was a founding member of the Near East Language and Culture (NELC) department. As Professor Emeritus, he continued to actively teach and do research until days before he died.
Walter was a leading scholar in the field of Ottoman Turkish Literature and published widely. In the words of his colleague Selim Kuru "Walter reintroduced Ottoman Turkish poetry into the larger fields of literature and history. These works were the first major English language commentaries on Ottoman literary tradition published in more than 60 years."
In 2006 Walter received The Lighthouse Award by the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. The award reads "This alumnus has demonstrated years of dedication to the field of Near Eastern Studies. His work in furthering the field has been substantial and original. He has helped shape the scholarly community and shines as one of its brightest members."
He was a beloved teacher and mentor, receiving the Middle Eastern Studies Association Mentoring Award in 2008 and an Undergraduate Research Mentor Award at the University of Washington in 2018.
Walter was an innovator in the field of digital humanities beginning with the Ottoman Text Archive Project in the early 1980's and continuing with his recent work in the Newbook Digital Texts division of the NELC department. He collaborated with several other scholars using digital techniques to study the works of Baki, a famous Ottoman poet.
Walter received an Order of Merit of the Republic of Turkey in 2016, and a Long Time Service Award from the Turkish American Cultural Association (TACAWA) in the same year for his services in promotion of Turkish and Ottoman culture and literature.
Walter was an active and dedicated member of East Shore Unitarian Church where his lay ministry was dedicated to nurturing young people for over 50 years. Walter engaged children and youth through song, story, and plays. He wrote many plays and developed curriculum introducing children to Bible stories that affirmed Unitarian Universalist values. Walter embodied the best of what it means to be a UU: humility, grace, a fierce love of the faith and an understanding that our job here is to make the world better for our children and grandchildren.
Walter loved children, loved to play, and was in constant motion. If he wasn't in the woods leading a group of kids on a scavenger hunt, he was on the golf course or tennis court, running, riding, hiking, and generally making mischief with a twinkle in his eye. He was a gifted athlete, a talented poet, an amateur flutist, a skilled woodworker, a loyal friend to many, and a loving family man.
He is survived by his wife and dedicated partner of 60 years, Melinda, daughters Lisa Stilwell and Pam Sheffield, sons-in-law Mike Stilwell and Harley Sheffield, grandchildren Kristin Rossman, Madeline Machotka, and Max Sheffield, grandsons-in-law Mike Rossman and Satoshi Yamamoto, great-grandson Royce Andrews Rossman, brother Jim Andrews, and sister Martha Andrews.
We close with a stanza of Walter's poetry:
I would speak of death
to you, and mean
Of you, and love,
There will be a virtual memorial service on Saturday July 11, at 10 am Seattle time. To register for the service, visit the East Shore Unitarian Church webpage (ESUC.org
Memorial gifts can be made to Hopelink, Planned Parenthood, the Equal Justice Initiative, or East Shore Unitarian Church.