Wayne Reuel Andrus, age 97, peacefully went Home to be with his Savior and Lord on April 17, 2019 in Bastrop, Texas. He was born March 14, 1922 in Lansing, Michigan. He was the oldest son of Warren and Muriel (Chapman) Andrus. He was married 72 years to his life-long sweetheart, Roxabelle (Clark) on October 18, 1942, they met in the church orchestra. She preceded him to Heaven on April 28, 2016. He was a member of Rosanky Baptist Church, Rosanky, Texas.
Wayne served in the US Army from 1942 to 1945, in the 101st Airborne, The Screaming Eagles, as Glider Infantry and later transferred to the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. On December 7, 1944, he became a Combat Medic. He participated in the Normandy Invasion at Utah Beach on June 6, 1944, Operation Market Garden in Holland and in the Ardennes Forest in France during the Battle of the Bulge. He returned home, unannounced, to surprise his family on Thanksgiving Day, 1945.
Private Wayne Andrus was a glider pilot and a medic who fought in some of WWII's biggest campaigns. On May 14th he was laid to rest in Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen, Texas. The 2019 Memorial Day celebration, held at that cemetery on May 27th, honored Wayne's service with the reading of a letter he wrote to his mother from Berlin in May of 1945. The letter chronicles 11 months of an eyewitness account in a soldier's life from Normandy all the way through when the Germans surrendered. (The entire letter is posted in his "Guest Book" page on this website.)
Links to the news coverage of the Memorial Day event at Texas State Veterans Cemetery:
Wayne, after 27 years, retired from Michigan State Police in 1984 and he and Roxie joined Roving Volunteers In Christ's Service (RVICS) in Smithville,Texas where they, with a team of volunteers, offered their time and skills, traveling from Michigan to Florida and many places in between They went to Christian campgrounds, churches, colleges, involved in various building programs and repairs supporting those ministries and organizations. In 2009, he retired for the second time.
He loved his Lord, family, church and loved helping others. He enjoyed being with the family, music: he played any of the brass instruments, but the trombone was his favorite. He sang tenor in the choir and we had many happy times gathered around the piano with his brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces. Over the decades, he has served in churches as Deacon, Trustee, choir member, sound tech and often helped with repairs, various projects around church, his mother's home, or anyone else who needed help. He was an avid reader, loved woodworking, fishing, travel, camping and the family pets. He enjoyed his grandchildren: sharing his vast knowledge and teaching them life skills.
Wayne is survived by 1 brother: Arlee Andrus (Jo Andrus) of Lansing, Michigan. 3 daughters: Carol Judy Leib, of Streator, Illinois, Rebecca Lynn Dowdy, (Ken Dowdy) of Bastrop, Texas and Deborah Mae Hakkesteeg, (Frans Hakkesteeg) of Bastrop, Texas. Also, he is survived by 7 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, 8 great-great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, 3 sisters (Vonda Hayes, Ardis Tarrant Humphreys and Vada O'Donnell) and 1 brother (Roger Andrus and 1 grandson, Rick Leib).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Rosanky Baptist Church Building Fund. Or RVICS (Roving Volunteers In Christ's Service) Smithville, Texas. A Celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. on June 1, 2019 at Rosanky Baptist Church, Rosanky Texas.