Harry Bennett Taylor Andrews, 98, passed into “glory” as he would say on Nov. 02, 2019 at the Shepherd Hills nursing home in Lafayette, Georgia. He was born in Chattanooga, the son of the late Ernest Albert Sr. and Margaret Lockwood Andrews. He had resided most recently for 36 years in Rock Spring, GA and prior to that he raised his family on Signal Mountain, TN for more than 30 years.
Bennett was in his words the “last of the Tom Sawyers”. Raised on a farm in East Chattanooga and later on Signal Mountain, his childhood adventures included: playing hooky from school, riding horses bareback, hunting for Indian arrow heads around Moccasin Bend and hiking back up Signal Mountain with a sack full of his treasures while avoiding a “killer’s” house and stone-throwing mountain kids. In one adventure he got lost with a couple of friends for five days following the gulch creek from Signal Mountain to Soddy Daisy – a journey replete with precarious rock situations, lack of food, water moccasins and rattle snakes.
He was a member of the “Greatest Generation” – those born between 1910 and 1924, grew up in the Great Depression and became the parents of Baby Boomers. Also known as the GI Generation, he served in World War II in the Quartermaster Corps of the Army. His mother was named Tennessee Mother of the Year, having sent all five sons off to war. He and two of his brothers enlisted in the Army; another was a paratrooper and one a Navy man. Against all odds, all of the sons made it home for a reunion the first Thanksgiving after the war. With all heads bowed as their father rose to pray there was a prolonged silence. Albert Andrews III, one of Bennett’s nephews, heard it described by Bennett’s brother this way: Their father “rose to pray, as he always had. Everyone’s head was bowed. And then there was a prolonged silence. After a while they looked up and saw tears streaming down his face. His mouth was open, but he couldn’t speak. His gratitude was too intense, his relief was so great, and his heart was as full as it could be. There was no need for prayer. His heart had prayed where his voice could not. He and his family were blessed beyond measure”.
After the war he went to Bob Jones University as a student where he found Jane who was a member of the faculty teaching music. He had met her before the war in her home in Pottsville, PA. Bennett was the music leader for the Bill Piper evangelistic campaign where he played the trombone and performed chalk-talk art to lead people to Christ. Bill was married to Ruth who was Jane’s cousin and introductions were made. Upon learning Jane was a pianist, Bennett whisked her off to the piano and asked her to play for him. Jane would later claim that during that first encounter “God told her this was going to be her husband”. Bennett would respond, “who was I to argue with God?”. On August 17, 1946 they married – five years after that first meeting.
Bennett’s higher education included Bob Jones University, the Parson’s School of Design in NYC, the Meinzinger School of Art in Detroit and an MA at the Chicago Institute of Design. After 6 months of employment at an advertising agency in Chicago he was fired for falling asleep while standing in front of his boss who was not amused at his lack of attention to his instructions. He claimed the exhaustion from working a job while finishing university and caring for a young family with two children caught up with him. But it was also instrumental in spurring his move back to Signal Mountain where he started his own Andrews Advertising and Art agency. It was a life-long career of precomputer commercial art – all done by hand: magazine print layout, logos, billboards, advertisements, album covers, business cards - that provided for his family of five children.
Bennett loved truth, beauty and goodness. He lived his life according to Eph 2:10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Whether he was creating artwork, landscapes, or meeting the demands of clients everything he did was done with a distinguishing excellence and humor.
His artistic cartoons and fun special event cards brought joy to loved ones. His unique watercolor and other medium paintings are treasured by the family. Some had evangelistic messages emphasizing that if “we are crucified with Christ then we are raised with Him”. He made the “Rock” (his five-acre home in Rock Spring) a place of splendor converting a pond with a spring into a small lake surrounded by unique flora and rock landscaping for steps, walls, flower gardens and waterfalls. As an organic gardening enthusiast, his farm to fork produce ensured a consistent flow of healthy fresh greens, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, squash and blueberries on to the dinner plate.
His life was a sermon demonstrating Christ’s love to others. His desire was that all would come to know Him. Morning devotions were the norm while raising his children. He joyfully gave significant percentages of his often-meager resources to numerous Christian ministries knowing God would supply all his needs. His home was always open to relatives, visiting missionaries and the “down and out”. Dinner and house church were always on offer. Jane played the piano, all sang hymns, several would share from the word of God and there would be prayer all around. Never enough chairs meant kids sat on the floor. It was authentic church that often felt more alive than the “formal” alternatives. He encouraged folks with his saying “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. One of his grandkids said that Grandpa didn't have much, but what he had, he gave away - joy, and that was enough.
Bennett mentored boys at the local schools, visited prisoners in jails, encouraged folks at nursing homes and employed needy folks in his yard work. Until his borrowed truck quit running at the age of 95, he was still mentoring a troubled elementary school boy during his lunch breaks. The “one” would not be left behind.
He was president of Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International in Chattanooga frequently hosting world-renowned Christian speakers in his home who would attract large interdenominational charismatic audiences. He was lay pastor of the Presbyterian chapel on Signal Mountain. He started the “Door of Faith”, a church and house for ministry to hippies of the 1970s. He and Jane traveled twice to Africa to visit his son Tim where he would do artwork evangelism for children. Particularly thrilling for the children was the story of young David slaying the giant Goliath. “You’re never too small to serve the Lord’s purpose.” At Woodstation United Methodist Church he taught a boys’ Sunday School and he and Jane led the prayer ministry.
Bennett is survived by Jane, his loving wife of 73 years; Sister, Peggy Patterson of Ringgold GA; Daughter, Carol Andrews of Lafayette GA; Sons, Ross (Pamela) Andrews of Ringgold GA; David (Mary Beth) Andrews of Hamilton, VA; Tim (Terry) Andrews of Arusha, Tanzania; Tom Andrews of San Diego, CA; Grandchildren, Regina (Matthew) Downing of Decorah, IA; Josh (Lacey) Andrews of Avondale Estates, GA; Paige Lee of Branson, MO; David Andrews Jr. of Brooklyn, NY; Elizabeth (Tim) Han of Fairfax, VA; Joseph (Dinty) Andrews of West Hollywood, CA; Richard Andrews of Arusha, Tanzania; Great Grandchildren; Simone and Charles Downing, Hattie and Oliver Andrews; Fiona Han; as well as loving nieces, nephews and their families.
All family and friends are invited to a memorial service to be held 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 at Woodstation United Methodist Church, 13198 Alabama Hwy, Ringgold, GA 30736. The formal service will be followed by refreshments for everyone in the fellowship hall and an opportunity to “pass the mike” for sharing memories/ reflections.
The family would like to thank Pruitt Health Shepherd Hills Nursing home staff for their amazing love and attentive care of Bennett, especially in his final weeks.
Memorial Donations may be made to CHILDREN IN CHRIST, https://childrenic.org/, a ministry to African children founded by Terry Andrews. The organization’s logo appearing on the website is believed to be Bennett’s last logo creation.
See the funeral home listing for comments at www.heritagebattlefield.com/listings .
Memorial Service Nov 30, 10am, Woodstation United Methodist Church, 13198 Alabama Hwy, Ringgold, GA 30736.
Arrangements by Heritage Funeral Home and Crematory, Battlefield Parkway.
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