Vic Andrews



Alfred Victor Andrews

25 March 1934 - 10 November 2004 

Although born in Toronto, with his father serving in the OPP Vic grew up in a number of Ontario towns and finished high school in Barrie.  At RMC he had to work hard on his studies but was still active in many sports including the rifle and swim teams for CSC tournaments.  During summers, Vic served in a number of “steam reciprocating” frigates and ONTARIO.  In his third year, he was a Cadet Captain.  After graduating from RMC in 1957, he earned his engineering degree from Queen’s a year later. 

On 10 May 1958, Vic married Margaret Purcell, an Arts student at Queens, whom he had met in their first year of college.    They raised three fine sons Mike (Susan), Pat (Leslie) and Bob (Suzanne) of whom they are justifiably proud.  Vic and Margie have seven grandchildren.   

In the spring of 1959, after a year of “EO of the Watch” training at sea,  Vic joined his Marine Systems and Air Engineering contemporaries at the Royal Naval Engineering College in Plymouth, England for an intensive year of “Applications” training on the numerous, fully instrumented systems and equipment installed there.   This year also included a “design and build” project necessitating many hours in the college’s extensive workshops. 

On returning to Canada, Vic was posted to HMCS OTTAWA for final training to qualify as a ship’s EO.  His reward for success was to spend the majority of the next seven years at sea as EO of SWANSEA, CRESCENT and ANNAPOLIS, interspersed with occasional, very short periods ashore in Halifax.   

When Vic left the Navy in 1967, he and Margie joined the staff of East Northumberland Secondary School in Brighton, ON.  Vic taught General Science (grades 9  and 10) and Physics (grades 11 and 13) and occasionally Astronomy and Theory of Flight (grade 12), while Margie laboured to have students appreciate the marvels of English and Drama.   After retiring in 1989, they shared their time between Brighton and Winter Haven, Florida. 

But this dry litany of dates and facts portrays little or nothing of the real Vic Andrews, a truly modest and gentle man who gave of himself freely at every stage and twist of his career neither recognizing nor acknowledging, even to himself, the depth of his talents nor the breadth of his achievements.   In his short time in the Navy, Vic saw more sea-time in more different classes of ships than did many of his contemporaries in a full career.  He was an extremely competent EO and Divisional Officer, highly respected and admired by superiors, peers and juniors alike.   

As a teacher, he was always scrupulously fair and meticulous in preparation and presentation.  He willingly and patiently complied with any student request for after hours assistance, whilst also coaching school teams and acting as advisor to groups like the Student Government.   His diligence and dedication helped make the Science Department one of the finest in Ontario and the school one of the provincial top ten. 

Vic certainly didn’t stop there; he was equally devoted to the communities in which he lived.  In Brighton as a long time member of the Lion’s Club, he participated in their full range of activities from fund raising to charity work, winning the Helen Keller award, and serving as Secretary for nine years.  The minor league hockey team he coached became league champions.  In Florida, he was “Mr. Vic”, the volunteer in the Emergency ward of the Winter Haven hospital, and the entertaining emcee at the golf club’s “Monday Morning Coffee” sessions.  His Saturdays were dedicated to building houses for Habitat for Humanity. 

 In Brighton, in spite of all these obligations, Vic always found time for golf. 

In Winter Haven, in spite of all these obligations, Vic always found time for golf. 

Vic loved golf balls; he loved finding other people’s golf balls, but even more he loved his own golf balls.  One day, on one of his many safaris into the rough to recover one of his treasures, after much crashing around in the underbrush, came the yells “Ow, ow, ouch ow...,” followed by the sudden emergence of Vic with arms flailing about his head.  He had stepped in a wasps’ nest, been stung at least 20 times....BUT....firmly grasped in his right hand, was his golf ball and several others! 

In each of these fields of endeavour, the clock was irrelevant, getting the job done and done right was all that mattered.  He was the epitome of a fine leader, highlighting teamwork, respected for his integrity and kindness, always encouraging and teaching, accepting responsibility for any failure and yet quietly standing back to pass on justly earned honours to others. 

The ever-obvious love and esteem in which he was held by all his family is testament enough to  his qualities as husband, father and grandfather.  

To have had a friend like Vic Andrews, is to be truly blessed! 

Perhaps however the most fitting tribute to Vic and his life lies in the words of Robert Test which were chosen for Vic’s memorial card : 

"Walk in the world for me.

If you must bury something, let it be my faults and weaknesses.

If you wish to honour me, do a kindness for someone who needs you.” 

Written by  by  3847 Denis Boyle with the assistance of Michael Andrews and 4134 Hugh McDonald.

Denis Boyle supplied this recent photograph of Vic. - Posted 06 Feb 05



Globe and Mail: "Lives Lived": 30 Dec 04

Husband, father, engineer, naval officer, teacher, role model. Born March 25, 1934, in Toronto. Died Nov. 10, 2004, in Trenton, Ont., of cancer, aged 70.

No one, not even Margie, his wife of 46 years, has the full picture of Vic Andrews, but his friends and family each know some of the many vignettes that comprised his full life.

People at the Swiss Golf and Tennis retirement community in Florida, Vic's winter home since 1990, knew him variously as the entertaining and efficient emcee of "Monday Morning Coffee in the Clubhouse"; as "Mr. Vic," the volunteer at the Winter Haven Hospital emergency department; and as the builder of better lives for the working poor of Polk county through his work with Habitat for Humanity.

People in Brighton, Ont., knew him as a dedicated teacher and community volunteer. A few will remember him as a hockey coach with no real knowledge of the game, somehow fashioning a winning season through an emphasis on teamwork. More will remember Vic as a long-time mainstay of the Lions Club.

Blessed with a great voice, Vic provided many graduates of East Northumberland Secondary School with their last high-school memory: a sonorous reading of names as they paraded to the stage to receive a diploma.

Close friends and family will remember Vic's incredible planning, patience and attention to detail in do-it-yourself projects. The swimming pool built in 1971 remains in mint condition. The deck, over-engineered with pressure-treated lumber, is destined to outlive his children.

Members of Warkworth Golf Club will remember Vic for his work at the course and as a golfer remarkable for his avoidance of colourful language. After retirement, Vic worked three days a week, not in the clubhouse, but cutting grass. Golf partners of many years attest to never having heard anything stronger than "Phooey," from Vic. His family, however, knows that the aversion to foul language was not always as strong. Vic's middle son, Pat, who was always known by his middle name, has joked that for the longest time he thought his first name was Jesus, due to Vic muttering in exasperation at the latest transgression, "Jesus, Patrick . . ."

Classmates at the Royal Military College and Queen's University will remember Vic as a mediocre student, graduating only after writing supplemental exams, who nevertheless became an outstanding engineer and teacher. Former colleagues in the Royal Canadian Navy may remember a young man first in his class to be promoted to lieutenant-commander, yet unhappy with navy life. Vic wanted to be at home while his three sons were growing up, so he left the navy in 1967.

Vic considered civilian engineering jobs, but something intervened. The principal of the school where Margie had once taught got in touch to say Vic would be very welcome as a teacher in Brighton. Vic's father was aghast that Vic would abandon his career, particularly for a job that paid less, but Vic put the intangibles of family life ahead of material gain.

Until the day he entered the hospital two-and-a-half weeks before his death, Vic retained a final piece of his normal life, getting up every morning, showering and shaving without assistance, even when pain and weakness turned this into a two-hour exercise. Vic's final weeks in his struggle with cancer brought together many of these vignettes. His family lost track of the number of times one of the medical staff at Trenton Memorial Hospital would point out to a colleague "That's Mr. Andrews, he taught me physics in high school." Vic's wife and sons were later overwhelmed by cards and letters, many from people scarcely known to the family, relating how Vic had influenced their lives.

Michael Andrews is Vic's eldest son.


Alfred Victor Andrews
March 25, 1934 - November 10, 2004
Private Arrangements

Memorial Donations

Victorian Order of Nurses


A.Victor (Vic) Andrews, in his 71st year, on November 10,2004 at Trenton Memorial Hospital. Survived by his loving family: wife Margaret; children, Michael and his wife Susan Johnston; Patrick and his wife Leslie; Robert and his wife Suzanne McCarron and grandchildren, Beth, Katerine, Emily, Erin, Carolyn, Tom and Jackie. Cremation. In accordance with Vic's wishes, there will be neither visitation nor funeral. "Walk in the world for me. If you must bury something let it be my faults and weaknesses. If you wish to honour me, do a kindness for someone who needs you." Robert Test As an expression of sympathy, donations to the Victorian Order of Nurses or charity of your choice, would be appreciated by the family, care of Box 96, Brighton, Ontario, K0K 1H0.


Denis Boyle: 11 Nov 04

Margie's address is:

43 Chapel St.
Brighton, ON
Canada K0K 1H0

Denis Boyle: 11 Nov 04

Regret to inform you of the death of Vic Andrews last evening after a four and a half month battle with pancreatic cancer, and other related problems in the hospital in Trenton, ON.

At Vic's request there will be an immediate cremation and no memorial service.

Vic is survived by his wife Margaret Grey (Margie), three sons; Michael, Patrick and Robert, their wives and six granddaughters and one grandson.

Vic left the Navy in 1967, after which he and Margie had full careers teaching high school in Brighton ON.

There will be an obituary published but at this time I don't know when or in what newspaper.  I will forward it when possible.  Donations to either the VON or Habitat for Humanity would be appreciated.


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