Neal Williams Andrews, of Mechanicville NY, died on December 11, 2016 in Puebla, Mexico. He was born on July 29, 1962, in New York City, to the late Loring B. and Margaret Cherry Andrews.
The family moved to Saranac Lake from Queens, NY in 1966, but returned to New York City after Loring’s death in 1973.
Neal is survived by his sister, Leslie Andrews, of Tacoma, WA. Other survivors include his uncle Gordon Andrews of Riverside CT, and his cousins, Christine of Maui HI, Cindy of Old Greenwich CT, Carey of North Palm Beach FL, and Scott of Albuquerque NM.
Neal graduated from Tottenville High School on Staten Island and earned a degree in landscaping at Colorado State University. For several years he owned a landscaping business in Saratoga Springs, before becoming a nurse, with a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Plattsburgh. He worked for many years in the emergency department at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, as well as at other hospitals in the Albany area.
His work as a nurse gave him time to pursue his passion for the outdoors. He was a longtime member of the Adirondack Mountain Club, and he traveled all over the world to hike with friends he had made who shared his enthusiasm. At an early age he had climbed the 46 Adirondack high peaks at least once in both winter and summer, and later climbed the highest point in each of the 50 states. Always looking for new outdoor adventures, he took rigorous trips throughout the years to many far-flung places.
Neal dedicated himself to passing on his outdoor knowledge and his love of the Adirondacks to young people, bringing groups of Boy Scouts and others up north to climb in all weather conditions.
For the past 10 years he was deeply involved in working with refugees in the Albany area. He spearheaded a program to send refugee children to summer camp, in order to familiarize them with the outdoors and life in their new home. He worked tirelessly to raise money to make this possible, and he became close with many refugee families, whose children called him Uncle Neal.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Neal’s name can be made to Refugees to Camp, c/o Volunteers for Refugees, c/o Laura Amedio, 126 Wellington Ave., Albany, NY 12203.
A memorial gathering will be held on Saturday, January 14 at 2:00 PM at the William J. Burke Funeral Home, 628 North Broadway, in Saratoga Springs, NY. Burial will be in Pine Ridge Cemetery in Saranac Lake in the spring, with his parents.
Funeral arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. Family and friends can share their memories and sign the online guestbook at fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com/