Tuesday, February 28, 2012

John Collins Andrews


John Collins Andrews (1948-2012)

J
ust 12 days ago, around three o'clock, I was talking with Sarah in my office at the Utility when my cell phone vibrated. It was Ted. "I have bad news", he said. "How bad?" I asked. "JC has stage 4 lung cancer."

Within a few hours, I was sitting next to him on his bed in the hospital. He had thought he might have pneumonia when his son dropped him off at the south Austin hospital just two days before.

Jay turned to me. "Wow, this dying shit is really weird", he says.

There with Jimmy, his long time pal from childhood, Sherry, who looked like his long lost sister, and Dana, the Angel Doctor, we chatted with the oncologist. We chatted about palliative care, about future testing, about money, about wills, power of attorney, about S.S.I, about M.A.P., about who would do what and when.

The oncologist was particularly polite but blunt. "Texas is one of the worst states for someone in your situation, " he said. "You will need a champion...someone who will break through the system...someone who will stubbornly work in your behalf." He said he would give us some time and order some more imaging to see if the cancer was in the brain and in the bone.

It was.

Over the next few days, JC's room was busy. Mick brought him Torchy tacos, which Jay ate. His Plainview friend Dee brought soup. Ted, his neighbor, co-worker, former lawyer, and friend hovers like a helicopter parent. Gazork, another boyhood friend flys in from Boise. His son Daryl comes in and out, doing his best to cope with the situation.

Because you see, John Collins Andrews and Susan Bright, the poet/activist were a couple. And just 13 months ago, we had Susan's service at Barton Springs Pool after her short bout with cancer.

By Thursday, plans were finalized. Jimmy and Gazork would drive Jay to a hospice in his boyhood home, Plainview. There he could see his aging mother Dorothy, and meet up with the rest of the family on Friday. The drive took all day, but JC sat up as they drove up the caprock onto the high plains.

On Saturday, Liz, Jay's doctor sister from San Francisco arrives to join their brother James. They all visit as Jay grows weak. I never heard him complain or saw him weep.

At midnight, our brother crossed over.

Liz's obituary captures him pretty well.

John Collins Andrews. Beloved son and brother, cherished father, boundless friend, John Andrews died in Plainview, Texas on February 25th, 2012 after a brief illness. John, known as J.C. to his family and close friends, was such a colorful person. He lived on his own terms in many ways, forever questioning the status quo but also taking time to appreciate all that was around him. In equal measure he could passionately discuss the politics of wind and water or convey an infectious wonderment in the geologic formation of the Llano Estacado.

John was active in the
evolution of capturing the wind power of the Panhandle and an advocate of the Save Our Springs (SOS) Initiative in Austin.

John was born April 26, 1948 in Lubbock, Texas. He liked to say that
Buddy Holly lived on his block. He loved his West Texas roots and returned often. He graduated from the University of St.Thomas in Houston with a degree in history. There he was introduced to the art scene of the DeMenil’s and to the era of independent film production. John was an early guerrilla documentary film maker when the art was first developing and he had a special talent for editing that was well respected and recognised in the film community.

After graduation and
travels, John settled in Austin where he and wife Susan Bright later established the venerable Plain View Press and began publishing poetry, essays and other literature. This literary venture spanned over 25 years.

John discovered his love of street vending when he and a friend
created the very first “rolling armadillo” toy and began selling on the drag at the 24th Street Market sometime around 1971. This evolved into, and thus began, the tradition of having a booth with his family at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar every year and providing a lively place for friends and visitors to stop by and chat, purchase literature, jewelry and trinkets, and enjoy stimulating conversations. Truth be told, John was known for giving away almost as much as he sold mostly because John loved the conversations as much as the sale.

John was a true renaissance man, equally at ease at art openings and
political meetings as he was working on carpentry projects in his garage or in a bass boat on the lake. John was a friend to, and involved with, so many different groups of people in Austin it would be impossible to name them all without leaving some out. Moreover, his dedication, loyalty and love for his friends, and especially his family and his son, Daryl, is one of his most endearing and memorable traits.

John was preceded in death by his father, John P. Andrews, and his
wife, Susan Bright. He is survived by his mother, Dorothy Andrews and brother, James Andrews both of Plainview, sister Liz Andrews of San Francisco, CA, son, Daryl Bright Andrews and grandson, Tristen Cinelli of Austin.

A celebration with family of John’s life is planned for
this summer in West Texas somewhere near the Caprock where the wind blows. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donation to Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP.org), a healthcare reform advocacy group.


I first met JC when he and Jimmy came out to Space City Video at the mansion in Taylor to edit some videotape. At the time, they were doing vanity horse jumping videos. That was 38 years ago. Soon, they were making more meatier films. One, was the Grok Book poetry readings. I watched Jay fall in love with Susan as he edited her fire and form. They were married not too long after.

JC, as much as anyone in my life made ideas manifest. He made the video documentary of my Pampa Wind Farm in 1981. He helped me build my first passive solar houses. He was the contractor when Eddie and Phil and I completely rebuilt Sholz Garden in 1987. He helped me manage my West Campus properties during the real estate black death of 1988.

In the nineties, we went west and put up the first met towers to pave the way for the wind industry 10 years later. He shot (and lost) my first attempt to create a light bending solar laser in the bowels of the UT Austin physics lab. He helped me build my Frank Lloyd Wrong home in Elgin and countless other projects.

He even cut all of the little tiny pieces that we used to build Argonon, so I could build that giant model City of the Future.

In the last 10 years, I was busy at the Utility and he was busy with Plainview Press. He also truly found his calling working on the street, tying those beautiful knots to carry those gods and deities from his trinket wheel.

When Susan passed, he asked me to direct the service.

JC was as important to me (and so many others)

as track is to a train.

And he is right....

"This dying shit is weird."

Over the last few years,

we would always say goodby by saying

"love you Brother."

love you Brother...

safe crossing





Note: There is a JCA Memorial Altar forming at 1509 Dexter. Please bring flowers and mementos....a central texas service has not been planned yet.

Important...There is a memorial for JC Tuesday, March 6th at 5:30 at Marias Taco Express, 2529 South Lamar


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20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice thank you

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a blink of an eye ... Austin and the springs has lost two amazing
people.

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Michael.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully written - thank you for giving us that slice of life...

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. Wow. So sad.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beautiful, sweetheart...d

6:05 PM  
Blogger Mary Margaret Quadlander said...

I am so sorry to hear of John's passing. My favorite earrings were made by John. I bought them 15 years ago at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and wear them weekly.
Friends are leaving way too fast!

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I met John while vending my jewelry on South Congress. We became friends and vended together for several years there. I enjoyed listening to JC when he talked about the different kinds
of Stones. From fulgurites to turquoise, John could tell you where
it came from and how it was created. For every icon on his table,JC could tell you it's meaning and how different cultures used it. He will be greatly missed for knowledge, his stories about his travels and vending at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.
~
Marsha Krumrey,
Austin, Texas

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J.C. was a friend from a time long past but thought of often. He was friendly and kind to all. He did not follow the "norm" ...he was his own man. This earth needs more people like him.
Adios, my friend
Angie Lopez, Dallas, TX

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay-Sonic was one of my oldest friends and a true Texas character in every way. We were all children of the '60s and found our way thru the highways of those years in
lovely Austin. He came to live with me and my wife, Mary Janice Keys, right after we got married in 1973. We always liked to say Jayce came to celebrate our wedding and stayed a year and a half !

Happy Trails, J.C. ! Love, D&J

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James:
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Karen, UF/Gainesville, FL
~
Karen Skaggs,

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 04, 2012

To the family, my deepest sympathy on your loss. Can't imagine the feelings and thoughts running through you right now. Pain and sorrow can be unbearable in times like this. But, our heavenly father is the source of all comfort and he gives you the comfort you need in your time of grief.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 04, 2012

J.C. was a loving person who helped all and also loved his family. He would do anything to help. He will be missed dearly. Rest in peace We all love you.
~
nick crews,
Austin, Texas

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We will always be thinking of you.
~
Nick Crews,
Austin, Texas

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I guess I should say our loss. I only met him once, but had an instant like. The world has lost someone that made a difference.
Blessings and Love to you, Kathleen

6:01 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

There is a memorial for JC today at 5:30 at Marias Taco Express, 2529 south lamar

6:03 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

PHS class od 1966 remembers J.C. with love and smiles. Rest in peace dear friend...

9:46 AM  
Blogger Sharon Perkins said...

We knew JC as John. I went to high school with him but don't remember much about him. I recently got more acquainted with him thru the Hi-Plains Gem and Mineral Society in Plainview, TX. He would come to our annual rocks as a dealer. I saw him several times thru the years at other club's shows across the state. He was always so very nice and helpful and friendly. I soon learned to look forward to seeing him. With saddened heart we send our deepest sympathys to John's family and dearest friends. May God Bless.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 07, 2012
Always, John: Thank You Family for sharing him with " Us ".... sincere condolences...Love, Always, Sylvia Benini
~
Sylvia Benini,
Austin, Texas

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 07, 2012

Vaya con Dios my dear friend ! South Congress has lost a great Iconic Treasure and has been deminished by Johns passing May your black wheel of tresures spin forever in our hearts !
LOVED YOU .....BRAH
~
RAY CISNEROS,
AUSTIN, Texas

7:17 PM  

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