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Lena Alice Mayes Andrew, 93, of Roswell: Merrill Gardens Resident Ambassador, Watercolor Artist,

Family visitation, memorial service in Johns Creek on Saturday.

Lena Alice Mayes Andrew of Roswell, GA, died Dec. 4, 2013. She was 93 and would have turned 94 on Dec. 14.

She was the widow of E. William (Bill) Andrew Jr., who passed away in 1993. They were married 55 years. She is survived by three children, Julie Alice Andrew Franklin (and her husband Floyd Franklin) of Chatsworth; E. William Andrew, III (and his wife Sandra Andrew), of Roswell; and Jone Mayes Andrew Ackerly Cross (and her husband Jim Cross) of Roswell. She had six grandchildren (Thomas Keith Franklin and Julie Anne Franklin Ridley; Bryan Curtis Andrew; Mary Alicen Ackerly Cowan, Tullie Jeanette Ackerly Ramirez, and Alan Ackerly, Jr.) and 10 great-grandchildren (Justin and Ben Ridley; Ansleigh Erin and Micah Charles Andrew; Andrew, Alexis, Adam and Aaron Cowan; and Claudia Sofia Ramirez. An eleventh (Gabriela Josefina Rameriz) is due in early 2014.

Mrs. Andrew had spent recent years as a resident of Merrill Gardens (now known as Emeritus at Big Creek) in Roswell where she was active in the numerous recreational and craft programs there. In her later years she became a prolific and talented watercolor artist, painting numerous still lifes and animal portraits for friends and family. Alice was also a regular bingo player and steady winner. When she was younger she created handcrafts for her home, her children, and her work as a pre-school teacher. In her later years she returned to that hobby and added to it the crafting of bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry.

Alice Andrew grew up in Griffin (Spaulding County), GA. She was the middle child of Julia Freeman Mayes and John Andrew Mayes. The family moved to its final residence on West Tinsley Street in Griffin when she entered high school. Alice was, according to a high school yearbook citation, "an aggressive little forward" on the girls' basketball team. She played all four years and was team captain her senior year. Her love of basketball continued throughout her life. In 1987 attended her class' 50th reunion.

Her father was a furniture salesman (according to her birth certificate) when she was born, but later went to work for the local telephone company, then Sunshine Products before finally retiring from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Experiment Station. Her mother was a homemaker.

Alice was always getting into trouble. The recollection of one prank that still gave her pleasure was buying a white mouse as a pet.

"It had pink eyes, so I named it 'Pinky,'" she said. But her older sister Marjorie ("Margie") was terrified of the rodent. Alice's response was to put the animal up her sister's dress sleeve. There was instant panic … and punishment.

"Momma gave me more whippings about putting that mouse on Margie than anything else. I think I got one a day."

Alice had several close friends in high school. Some of their escapades included driving into the rural countryside in spring and summer evenings to spy on couples who were "spooning." Their reputation as the "Moonlight Ramblers" came to an end when one night their car mired in mud and parents had to be called to get them towed out. Throughout her life she always enjoy pranks and practical jokes; she had an infectious laugh and dazzling smile.

While she was growing up a number of her family held elected political offices in Spaulding County, with frequent re-election struggles involving the entire family. Such early exposure produced a distinct distaste for politics. "I got so sick of it while growing up," she said, "I've hated it ever since." In her later years she avoided any political discussions and took no interest in government.

Her grandfather was the county sheriff. One of her clearest memories is of his taking her to execution chamber of the county jail and showing her the scaffold on which hangings took place. "I don't know why he took me in there," she said, "but it scared me to death. I don't think I ever told my mother. If I had, I think I would have gotten in trouble. And I guess my grandaddy would have, too!"

Alice and Bill got married Easter Sunday, April 17, 1938. After honeymooning in Daytona Beach, Florida, they returned to Atlanta and lived in a small efficiency apartment near Techwood Drive in downtown Atlanta.

He began a career as a film salesman for MGM in Atlanta, then moved to work for Paramount Pictures. He was later promoted to branch manager with RKO Radio Pictures. Her husband belonged to the local chapter of The Variety Club and was a judge for a Scarlet O'Hara "Look Alike" competition during the original premier week of "Gone With The Wind" in December 1938. "He was always active there," she said, "I just went along for the ride."

When World War II broke out, they were living in Charlotte. In the summer of 1943 he was drafted and served with Company B, 168th Infantry, 34th Division, U.S. Fifth Army, in Italy. While he was overseas, Alice and her newborn daughter Julie moved back to Griffin. She worked for Saul's, a downtown retail clothing store until her husband returned in December 1945.

After the war they moved back to Atlanta, where Bill was the assistant manager of the RKO Pictures offices.

Because of his connection with the film industry, her husband brought movies home for the entertainment of family and neighbors. From the 1950's until the mid 1960's it was a Friday and Saturday night ritual to have visitors and watch a movie or two shown on his 16 millimeter projector and pull down screen in front of the living room window. The evening's program even included cartoons.

"[You children} had parties when you were in high school," she recalls. "I guess when he went to work for RKO was when we began showing movies at home."

In 1959 the south's first open-air retail shopping center was being built in Atlanta, and Alice, her daughter Julie and a neighbor, applied to work at Rich's, an "anchor" store in Lenox Square. She was hired to work as a sales clerk in the infants/children department. She worked at Rich's until she retired in 1977. Her last assignment was in the Juniors department. Although Federated Department Stores (the company that purchased Rich's operations) can find no definitive evidence, their Human Resources Department admits she was likely to have been one of only a very few employees who worked their entire career at that one store. In November 1969 she was honored as one of nine employees of Rich's at Lenox who made a perfect score on customer service reports.

Alice always had a great love for children and infants. After leaving Rich's she took a position at The Preschool of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Buckhead. The family had been members of that congregation for a number of years. She began working as a caregiver with the infants and served there for 15 years. At the end of her career she experienced the joy of caring for children of young people she had watched over when they were small at The Preschool. She was recognized before the entire congregation of the church upon her retirement from The Preschool.

Traveling was always something she enjoyed. In 1955, with her year-old daughter Jone, the entire family drove from Atlanta to visit relatives in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. "It turned cold after we got to New York, and started to snow so we had to go out a find someplace to buy Jone a snowsuit," she remembers.

She cruised from West Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island in 1973 with her youngest daughter Jone and Jone's fiance but the trip turned into a disaster. The ship's engines died in the middle of the night. A storm came up as passengers were being transferred to another ship and the rising and falling of the waves, as well as the wind-driven rain made it a frightening experience.

"I was wearing a brand-new green and white outfit. The rain was so hard and we got so soaked by the waves, when I got on the other boat, it had faded on to everything else I was wearing," she said. She never sailed again.

In the late 1970's, Alice's oldest daughter and her husband, Julie and Floyd Franklin, managed the Cohutta Lodge on Fort Mountain in Chatsworth, Georgia. Alice worked frequently on weekends as the hostess for the lodge's restaurant. The location became such a favorite spot for her she has requested her ashes following cremation be spread there.

In 1979 Julie and Floyd and their family took a short-term assignment working on an agricultural project in Alexandria, Egypt. Alice and Bill went for a visit and took the chance to visit Italy, allowing him to re-live some of his war-time experiences.

"We really enjoyed Italy, but Egypt was just dirty," she remembers.

She and her husband took a cross-country rail trip to visit Bill's sister and family in California. They took all the grandchildren to Washington, D.C. in May 1986 by train.

Her two daughters, Jone and Julie, orchestrated a 90th birthday party in 2009. Many old friends and family members she had not seen in some time were invited and attended. "That was the greatest birthday party I've ever had," she recalled.

In 2013 she underwent double cataract surgery and recovered vision she had been losing for several years.

Alice served as a Resident Ambassador at Merrill Gardens. At one point she asked to resign from the duties but the staff and management would not let her, saying the work she did was too valuable. While there she was vigorous and frequent in playing bingo and dice.

If you ask her where she would like to visit the most, she says, "I love to go to museums." She could not elaborate on that except to say she always enjoyed them even from her younger days.

Until her health prevented it, she regularly attended the Sunday evening gospel singing at Merrill Gardens.

Alice Andrew traveled, taught, served. But the most significant aspect of her life was her love of her family and people. She was always friendly, smiling and laughing with anyone and everyone.

Family visitation will be at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 10250 Haynes Bridge Road in Johns Creek Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, from 1-2 p.m., followed by a memorial service at 2:00 PM. Pastor Tom Kenney will officiate. Speakers will be daughter Jone Cross (who serves as lay assistant for the congregation) and son-in-law Floyd Franklin.

 

 

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