Pat Andrews passes away at 83

Pat Andrews

Longtime journalist was well-known Downriver

PAULA NEUMAN

Downriver lost one of its best-known and hardest working residents with the death of Patricia Andrews. She died Dec. 22 at the age of 83.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell called Ms. Andrews a “Downriver fixture” and lamented her passing. The Dearborn Congresswoman is one of many leaders, journalists and residents paying tribute to Andrews, a renowned journalist who went on to work for the late U. S. Rep. John Dingell. 

In her work and in her personal life, Andrews made it her mission to help people.

She graduated from Melvindale High School and Central Michigan University. She taught in Vassar, married the late Ronald Andrews, a renowned coach and teacher, and moved to Trenton in 1961.

In 1970, Ms. Andrews, best known as Pat, went to work at the News-Herald Newspaper, where she served as a writer and editor until 2004. 

During those decades, she wrote countless articles about Downriver residents and events, and even started a few happenings of her own, including the Miss Downriver Pageant and Soup Day, an annual benefit for the Salvation Army.

She also co-founded Women Celebrating Life-Downriver, which continues to help many local women fighting breast cancer with their expenses, and served on the board of the Guidance Center in Southgate. Many other local charities as well as arts organizations were aided by Ms. Andrews and her tireless efforts to promote their events and good works over the years.

In 2004, she began an eight-year stint working for the Congressman, and even there, although her work was mostly immigration issues, she helped support local events from time to time. After retiring from Dingell’s office, Ms. Andrews continued to write articles about Downriver events and people for local news outlets.

Ron Hinrichs of Riverview, president and CEO of the Southern Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, was an intern in Dingell’s office when Ms. Andrews worked there. He shared this anecdote from 2008, when he worked for Greenfield Village:

“I’ll never forget the night she worked so hard to save Christmas and Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village in 2008,” Hinrichs wrote in an online tribute to Ms. Andrews. “Our Christmas trees were stuck at the Canadian border, and Pat worked throughout the night to get them cleared through customs and to Greenfield Village so we could stock our tree lot for the Holiday Nights program.

“Pat meant so much to our entire region… Pat is a true warrior and champion and she will be greatly missed. What a legend!”

Taylor Communications Director Karl Ziomek, the former Managing Editor at the News-Herald, who worked with Pat for years said this: 

“Pat was an institution for decades at The News-Herald Newspapers, whether she was  working out of our Wyandotte, Grosse Ile or Southgate office. Pat represented an era of local newspaper coverage that included a heavy emphasis on ‘society’ or features and entertainment news and opinion, and no one connected those dots like Pat Andrews. 

“There wasn’t a ‘mover and shaker’ that she didn’t know. Her Rolodex was full. She was the type of editor who was as comfortable talking food recipes, important events, new businesses and/or the latest behind-the-scenes talk about key players in the region, but at the same time could lend to discussions on important breaking news. 

“Don’t let anyone tell you that Pat was always easy to work with, because wasn’t always the case. She could be tough and even stubborn, but I think that anyone who worked with her came away an improved professional because of the impact that she had on the people around her. I know I did, and I’ll be forever thankful for knowing Pat and her late husband Ron. The Andrewses were institutions Downriver.”

Scot Peacock, who was a photographer at the News-Herald at the time Pat worked there, has fond memories of the time.

“Pat was one of the most generous people I have known,” he said. “We worked together at the News-Herald through the 80s and I feel privileged to have known her.”

Former Wyandotte resident Michael Patrick Shiels, an author, travel writer and TV host, is one of many who posted online tributes about her.

“Patricia Andrews will eternally remain a force in Downriver media, politics and the social scene,” Shiels wrote. “She was a mentor, a thoughtful friend and a connector of people. Her enthusiasm for family and fun and her wry humor will live on in her admirers — including me.”

Ms. Andrews is survived by her children, Sandra, Christopher (Tracey) and Jennifer; three grandchildren, Alexandra, Allison and Alyssa; and her sister Judith McKay. Memorial contributions can be made to Women Celebrating Life-Downriver at wcldownriver.com and Cass Community Social Services of Detroit at casscommunity.org.

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