Andy Summers

My most prominent spiritual mentor passed away this past month, and I wanted to share his obituary and some comments my friends have made about Andy. I have been trying to conjure up some words to reflect on how important Andy was to our world, but, it is difficult. Maybe it is just that: The world is undoubtedly a better place because of Andy.
May the compassion and social justice work that he dedicated himself to continue to spread.

Herbert Summers, Jr.
Asheville - Herbert Andrew Summers Jr., 68, died Thursday, March 13, 2008, in Asheville after a rapid onset of leukemia. Andy was a beloved figure in the Warren Wilson College community and deeply involved in causes for social justice. Born April 29, 1939, in Conyers, Georgia, to Herbert Andrew Summers and Mary Williams Summers, Andy married Katrina McKay in 1962. He attended Young Harris College and Southern Methodist Univ. and received his M.Div. in 1964 from the Candler School of Theology, Emory Univ., and his Ph.D. in 1974 from the California School of Professional Psychology. Andy served as pastor of United Methodist Churches in Georgia and California from 1961 to 1974, as director of the Fresno Pastoral Counseling Service in Fresno, Calif., and in 1980 as the Conference Pastoral Counselor for the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. He came to Warren Wilson College in 1991 as Minister to Students. He was a Diplomate of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and a member of the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church. With his interest in liberation theology, Andy traveled extensively in Latin America, leading seven student trips to Guatemala. He served as chair and as a member of the board for Witness for Peace, for whom he led a delegation to Colombia in 2001. He attended protests against the School of the Americas, wrote letters to editors, and served on countless committees. A lifelong student of jazz and a dedicated runner, Andy played saxophone in a Warren Wilson jazz ensemble and managed to smile and chat while running marathons. He was a jovial and welcoming spirit who took a great interest in all people, cats, and dogs. He is survived by his wife, Trina, of Swannanoa; his children, Andrea Summers of Ithaca, New York, Jason Summers of Seattle, Washington, and Ethan Summers of Swannanoa; and his grandchildren, Hannah Summers Staveley, Liam Staveley Summers, and Franklin Summers.
A memorial service to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 29, 2008, at the Warren Wilson College Presbyterian Chapel, 701 Warren Wilson Road, Swannanoa, N.C. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be sent to Witness for Peace

God bless Andy, his family and all his beloveds. What a man who really was a true human being, fully engaged in life and walking the earth with a loving and generous open heart. As I sit here sit morning and write a letter to another friend who is suffering from cancer, I am grateful that Andy's physical suffering with disease was so short lived. His spirit is still very strong. Love to you all. Dana

I know deep within my heart that I am who I am today because of Andy. He opened me to a world I never knew, helped me to see what is important and taught me to love so selflessly. Thank you Andy for all you have given so many of us. You will be missed but your spirit will live on through our work! With Love, Carrie

Oh, how I will miss that wonderful laugh. Andy, you brought joy, strength, and love into the hearts of so many. Your life is an inspiration to us all. I feel so blessed and honored to have known you and be touched by your beauty and life.Andy Summers-Presente! Love, Elizabeth

Oh Andy... How I love you...my heart is so full of gratitude for the way you opened my heart and mind to life and love and passionate service. You were my elder and mentor in the most vulnerable, young, and impressionable period in my life. I am so sad that you have died now. I wanted you to be here longer. I will miss you on this earth. ... May I live my life as fully and truly as you lived yours.Peace on your journey. Erin

1 comment:

gmcclure said...

Greetings old buddy! Andy, I reeling from the sudden news that you have physically left us. Like the others who have commented here, you touched my heart and mind in so many ways. You were the voice of love and spirituality that connected Allison and I as we married. You lived a life of true joy and love, demonstrating an relentless commitment to social justice and living a moral life.

It is amazing to think that nearly 15 years ago you led me into an investigation of human rights in Guatemala that I am still reflecting on and writing about to this day! As I work on my dissertation, my experiences with communities in Guatemala so long ago are increasingly relevant. Those times indeed marked me and molded the path I have chosen to follow. For that I am forever grateful.

Oh man, that laugh of yours could bring tears to my eyes. I think of you often Andy and look forward to catching up with you in the everafter!

With love, Gregorio