James Andrew

Greene County businessman, farmer, veteran, historian, James Henry Andrew of Jefferson was born April 19, 1921 to Norman H. and June Edith (Holloway) Andrew at the Andrew farm in Grant Township and died on Sept. 26 at the age of 93 years.  

Beloved by his family for his wise counsel on almost every subject, he was a keen observer of both human nature and the world around him. His autobiography and personal histories of his wife Alice Ann and others are testaments to his belief in holding dear life’s experiences, and reverence for history and lessons learned.

An excellent student, Jim attended country school at Grant #4 for eight years and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1939 as president of the class three of four years in high school. His career in business began while still in high school when he started work at Home State Bank and continued for two more years.

In the fall of 1940, he entered the University of Southern California in Los Angeles with a major in engineering. World War II interrupted his studies. He entered the United States Army on May 4, 1942. After basic training he was selected for Officer Candidate School. Upon completion, Jim was commissioned as a

2nd Lieutenant and qualified as an expert rifleman.

After further training and an 18 month assignment at Fort Sam Houston, TX, he was assigned to the 4173rd Quartermaster Depot Company in the rank of Captain and Company Commander. The unit served in the Manila area of the Philippines. Following WWII, he remained in the Army Reserve Corps, assigned to the Pentagon for annual reserve training and retired at the rank of Colonel after 30 years of duty. Throughout his life, he took pride in considering himself a “citizen soldier.”

He resumed his banking career upon return from the Philippines. After three years with the Jefferson State Bank, he opened a new business in 1947, the Andrew Farm Store. As a pioneer in the introduction of anhydrous ammonia nitrogen fertilizer and hybrid seed corn to Greene County, he was also a dealer of Purina livestock feed and supplies, and sold farm fertilizers, farm chemicals and spraying equipment.

On May 2, 1948, Jim was united in marriage with Alice Ann Thompson, daughter of Oren Park Thompson and Bessie Vane (Black) Thompson at the home of her parents. To this union were born three children, James Oren Andrew, Jane Ann Andrew and Karen Jean Andrew. Shortly after their marriage he began construction on the home he designed on Edgewood Avenue where he and the family would live for the next 65 years.

In 1960 he sold the farm store business to a national fertilizer company. Using the proceeds he expanded his farming operation to add to the land he bought with his WWII pay. An innovator in on-farm grain storage and handling, he purchased and installed more than 40 grain bins from the US government. The total storage capacity of 206,500 bushels afforded greater marketing flexibility of corn and soybean crops.

When son James O. returned to the farm following University of Iowa graduation and military service, Andrew Farms Inc. was formed as a family farming corporation.  Waterways, terraces, farm ponds and other conservation practices were implemented. No-till farming was adopted to maintain and improve the land of which the Andrew family members were owners and good stewards.

Following retirement from ag business and active farming, Jim pursued a wide range of interests.  These included the research and installation of 24 historical markers in Greene County, constructing a model coal mine and other displays for the Greene County Historical Society museum, collecting railroad memorabilia, lightning rod balls, silver Victorian figural napkin rings and other hobbies.  He and Alice traveled widely in the US and Canada in their motor homes, wintered in San Antonio for a decade and toured in Mexico, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

In June 2012, the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum and History Center was dedicated at the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad depot in Boone. His entire collection of over 5,000 railroad items, caboose and replica depot were donated to the center along with financial support for the building construction.

While he was a voracious reader, writer of numerous family histories which he originally typed on his IBM typewriter, bird watcher/feeder, carpenter, accountant (with the ten-key calculator always at the ready), he was first and foremost a family man.  He devoted great thought and planning to annual family camping vacations that covered every continental state, provinces of Canada and Mexico.  In later years, he enjoyed building playhouses, birdhouses and other projects with his grandchildren.

Proud of his Scottish heritage, he instilled values of honesty, frugality, hard work and respect for ancestral lineage. He was a solid rock to whom his children and grandchildren turned for advice, guidance, support and reassurance. A scout leader for many years, the achievement of his son’s Eagle Scout rank was a great source of pride.

Raised in faith at Pleasant Hill Church of which his grandfather James Andrew IV was a founding member, he was active for many years in the First United Methodist Church.  Most recently, he was a member of the Christ Lutheran Church, Jefferson.

For their many volunteer efforts for the community, county, historical society and churches, he and Alice Ann were honored by the Jefferson Area Chamber of Commerce as “Above and Beyond the Call” award winners.  Recently he was recognized by the Greene County Historical Society with a special program as “Mr. History.”  Quick to find humor in many day-to-day situations, he was adamant that if history was to be absorbed by the younger generations, it had to be “fun!”

He was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife Alice Ann in 2010 and his sister Jeanne Andrew Dunson.

He is survived by son James O. and daughter-in-law Jacque of Jefferson; daughters Jane Ann of West Des Moines; Karen of Ames; grandchildren Tristan Monaghan of Des Moines; Jane Andrew Anderson (Steve) of Adel; Alison Monaghan of Des Moines; Julia Andrew Griffin (Tom) of Johnston and Jennifer Andrew of Adel; and great grandchildren, Camden Anderson, William Andrew, Grace Griffin, Stella Anderson and Trenton Andrew.

Services: Oct. 2 at 2:00 p.m. at Slininger-Rossow Funeral Home in Jefferson with visitation Wednesday, Oct. 1 with family present from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  Interment will be at the Jefferson Cemetery with full military honors.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Greene County Historical Society, Jefferson or the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum and History Center, Boone.

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Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161