WILMINGTON — Roland Rosario ‘Ronnie’ Andrews, 70, died Friday, March 31, 2017. Born Roland Rosario Andrews in Brooklyn, N.Y., Ronnie was the first of three children to his mother, Rae, and his father, Roland.
After the completion of his father’s tour of service in the U.S. Navy, the family moved south and settle in Annandale, Va., a town he called home throughout his childhood and early adulthood.
The son of an Italian immigrant, Ronnie learned to embrace challenge and that hard work availed endless opportunity. He excelled in sports, especially football. As a captain of the varsity squad, he patrolled the midfield of the Annandale Atom’s vaunted defense as their starting middle linebacker. In fact, it was there at Annandale High School that he met his love, his everything — Pati Mary. The two were inseparable from the start.
After high school, Ronnie went on to become the first of his family to graduate college earning a bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University. Soon thereafter, the two were married and started a family of their own.
With a growing family to support and job opportunities scarce, Ronnie found work as a truck driver, delivering parts and materials for Ferguson Enterprises, a local plumbing-supply house where his father worked as a salesman. It wasn’t the sort of job he’d envisioned, especially as a college graduate. But he never complained. Nor did he find fault or expect sympathy. Instead, he hustled. He worked hard and showed up every day. Eventually, he earned the chance to move into the warehouse. Then, counter sales. Then, inside sales. And so it went for more than 30 years. Ronnie Andrews became known as a man who would get the job done, no matter what. He built a reputation as being one of the most influential leaders of the company.
Ronnie took his job seriously, but nothing was more important than family. In all his years of grinding away in the corporate world, he never missed an opportunity to cheer on and to celebrate his children’s accomplishments. A constant presence, Ronnie made a commitment to be where he was needed. In the stands and at the recitals, encouraging, when needed, challenging to be your best when the going wasn’t easy and being an example of what hard works brings.
But his best and brightest legacy is that of what exists in the love of another. In his marriage to Pati Mary, Ronnie showed the power of the human relationship that unfolds when a man is given the gift of of a woman’s affection, one that spills forth over the years into a family, a career, and then, retirement, and eventually a closing chapter. Whatever doubt exists, this much is beyond debate — Ronnie loved his bride, his children and his grandchildren. More than life itself.
While he is gone from us here, Ronnie will never be far — his spirit and fight and character deeply rooted from the seeds he planted. And for that, we are grateful.
Ronnie Andrews is survived by his wife, Pati Mary; two sons, Daniel and Mark; daughter-in-law, Michelle; and six grandchildren, Olivia, Owen, Luke, Jake, Mia and Dylan.
A celebration and burial service for Ronnie Andrews will be held at 1 p.m., Wednesday, April 5, at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, 5820 Myrtle Grove Road, Wilmington. The family will be receiving guests following the service at 5201 Helms Port Ave., Wilmington.
In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation in memory of Ronnie to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.