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Peasley: Woodstock leader remembered

Dan Andrew, a 1936 Woodstock High School graduate, and I became friends in 1953. He was involved in community events such as building a swimming pool in Emricson Park and heading the All-America City committee in 1963-64.

Andrew, remembered for his strong leadership in Woodstock, died March 31. He was 95.

Born in Nebraska in 1919, he moved to Woodstock in 1925. Andrew graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in accounting when he was 20. He was commissioned in the U.S. Horse Cavalry (he was in ROTC at the University) in August 1940; 3 months after Paris fell to German tanks

By August 1941, Andrew realized U.S. involvement in the war was inevitable and volunteered for active duty in ordnance. He quickly developed a reputation as an excellent administrator and quickly moved up in responsibility.

He was assigned to active duty at a Twin Cities ordnance plant, then at a plant in Minneapolis. Dan, 22, and six other officers managed a plant employing 30,000 people.

In 1944, Andrew was ordered to the Chicago Ordnance District. This covered seven states and contracted for ordnance parts, including production from Woodstock Die Casting. His responsibility was primarily in personnel and labor relations; later he was chief executive officer.

Andrew and his wife, Lorena, returned to Woodstock in 1946, where Dan became industrial relations director for Electric Auto-Lite (Woodstock Die Casting). His military experience in personnel and labor relations proved valuable in helping Auto-Lite meet the urgent demands for employment.

Andrew commuted twice weekly to the University of Chicago to obtain an MBA. Shortly after China joined the North Koreans in the Korean War, Andrew became executive officer at the Joliet ammunition plant. As an accountant at General Electric, Andrew was in charge of the IBM unit in 1940-41.

In 1968, Andrew and Lorena left Woodstock to accept a position in labor relations. He moved to Park Ridge to become president of a large Chicago-based bank in Park Ridge. Andrew continued his Army Reserve duties until he retired and returned to Woodstock in 1986.

• • •

Woodstock VFW Post 5040 is requesting support from the community by attending the fish fry and prime rib dinners from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday evenings. As I chatted with member Denny Burrs, he reminded me the Woodstock VFW is a not-for-profit business, and the bulk of the money from fundraisers is donated.

“We have a variety of good food, and we welcome customers,” Burrs said. The chef is Ann Hansen, wife of VFW member John Hansen, manager of the Post. Current president is John Widmayer, and Ed Chambers is vice president.

• Don Peasley has been editor, columnist and historian in McHenry County since October 1947. He began his association with Shaw Publications in 1950. 815-338-1533. He is a frequent contributor of articles and photos.

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