From Andy Greenwell Family
Andrew Daffron “Andy” Greenwell, 89, passed away Friday, January 25, 2019, at Patriots Colony, Williamsburg. Andrew, or Andy, as he was called in Hampton, was the proud father of six daughters and the loving husband of Jean Greenwell, his wife of 55 years, before she preceded him in death in 2014.
Andy, or “Daff,” as he was known in his hometown of Leonardtown, Maryland, was born on Oct. 29, 1929, to Florence Daffron Greenwell and Charles Benedict Greenwell. Daff was one of four children. He attended Leonard Hall and St. Mary’s Academy, where he met our mother, who was a boarder at St. Mary’s. Their first date was with one another to a class dance at the age of 15. Our mother often said that “God broke the mold when he made Dad.” She wasn’t kidding.
Dad did not follow a direct path after graduating from St. Mary’s in 1948. He became a chartered member of B Company, 121st “C” Engineer Battalion, 29th Infantry Division, Maryland-Virginia National Guard. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marine and the U.S. Army, including one year of service with the United Nations Forces in Korea 1953 to 1954. He bounced from the Merchant Marine to the University of Maryland, graduating with a B.S. Degree in Business and Public Administration in 1960. He later earned an MPA from Golden Gate University, where he lectured close to 10 years at Golden Gate’s graduate center in Hampton.
He began his career as a journalist in Hampton with the Newport News-Hampton Daily Press, where he became known as Andrew (Andy). According to Dad, after accepting the position of staff reporter, the editor insisted that his byline name be changed to Andrew because he didn’t want any disgruntled readers to refer to him as that “daffy” reporter. He served as a reporter covering local news for four years before accepting a position with the City of Hampton as director of the Hampton Department of Commerce from 1964 to 1975. This began his career with the City of Hampton, where he also became director of the city’s Department of Conventions & Tourism (1976 to 1990), and which culminated most notably as the Director of the Hampton Coliseum, serving from 1975 to 1995.
Dad always joked that he had no idea how a small-town boy managed to draw world-class entertainment. His determination to book acts to appeal to all audiences resulted in bookings including The Who, Rolling Stones, U2, Elvis, Kenny Rogers, Alabama, Grateful Dead, and events such as the Jazz Festival, Ice Capades, sporting events, rodeos, and graduations.
In addition to serving as director of the Hampton Coliseum, he was a member of the Virginia Governor’s Tourism Advisory Board, chairman of the Virginia Travel Council, chairman of the board of trustees of Hampton Elks Lodge 366 and chairman of the Hampton Roads Chapter, American Red Cross. In addition, he was an original Hampton delegate sent to visit Anyang, Korea, to establish a sister city affiliation. He was a participant in the Governor’s Civic Leaders Tour to Israel relative to the Virginia-Israel Commission. He was a life member of the VFW.
Dad was instrumental in the naming of the Ruppert Leon Sargent Memorial City Administration Building in honor of the late U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ruppert Leon Sargent of Hampton, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for combat action in Vietnam.
Dad enjoyed an active social life, particularly as a member of the Hampton Elks Lodge, where he loved to play cards with friends. After he retired, he made sure he could get there early for a seat at the card table. He looked forward to spending time with his son-in-law, Carl, on Thursday nights at the Hampton Yacht Club to meet up with friends.
Dad had a zest for living. He became a private pilot. He flew on an orientation flight in an F-15 Eagle jet fighter, was a guest of the skipper of USS Hampton for a four-day cruise submerged from Virginia to Florida and traveled extensively visiting more than 50 countries on six continents. His favorite memories were taking our mother to many of those countries, including fulfilling her wish to visit the Vatican.
But mostly, Dad loved to spend time with his family. He always said that the best thing that happened to him was marriage and family. As a father, he could be counted on to give us encouragement, guidance and confidence. He always felt we could accomplish any goals we set to achieve and never understood why none of his six girls wanted to become a fighter pilot. Sorry, Dad, that we didn’t make that happen.
Dad was as generous with his heart as with his wallet. Our mother always said he would give the shirt off his back to a stranger. His generosity gave him happiness in his heart. His idea of money was that it couldn’t be taken with him, so share with those who could benefit.
Dad enjoyed life and lived life to its fullest and because of that his favorite saying was, “Don’t cry for me Argentina.” Dad, we love you and will miss you.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean; sister, Barbara Ann Barry; and brother, Charles Benedict Greenwell Jr. He is survived by six daughters, Karen (Carl) Voglewede, Carol Hardy, Ann (John) Malarkey, Cathy Medders, Helen (Steve) Mallon and Beth (Lance) Heater; brother, Robert C. Greenwell; and close to a couple dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Disabled American Veterans.
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