AP NEWS

Ralph Andrews dies at 88

November 23, 2016 GMT

Ralph Andrews, one of Statesboro’s most compassionate residents who contributed generously to various causes and helped found the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards, passed away Tuesday. He was 88.

Andrews owned and operated Andrews Klean Korner locations for many years before selling the business in 2005.

He was among a group of citizens who felt there should be an awards program for others who selflessly gave of their time, effort and donations and so created the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards in 1989. Andrews was honored in 2002 with the Deen Day Smith Founders Award and again in 2012 with the Deen Day Smith Lifetime Achievement Award.

Andrews was a “doer, a go-getter,” said Patsy Bobo, another founder who, along with Joe McGlamery, created the annual awards banquet.

“Anything I would need, he was of that group that would come through,” she said. “He was always willing to help. Ralph was very gracious.”

Another founder, local attorney Gerald Edenfield, remembered Andrew as a treasured friend.

“He was truly an outstanding citizen who contributed much to our community,” Edenfield said. “With his passing, our community has lost a giant.”

Andrews was a great supporter of Georgia Southern University’s “A Day for Southern” fundraising drive for over 24 years. He was a long-time contributor to efforts of the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County and is a past member of the Statesboro Rotary Club.

The Meals on Wheels program depended on Andrews for more than 20 years to provide and help serve more than 60 sack lunch and breakfast meals every week. He was also a strong supporter of the Safe Haven women’s shelter.

He served on the Statesboro Regional Library board of trustees from 1992 to 1998 and as a deacon of First Baptist Church Statesboro.

Andrews’ compassion didn’t end with the big things, however. Through the years, he also enjoyed helping the less fortunate by doing small things, such as offering free dry cleaning to those in need. He gave numerous young college students jobs and fatherly guidance as they worked for him in his dry-cleaning centers.

Every year as winter approached, his business was the collection hub for coat and clothing drives organized by different civic clubs.

In 2001, he was named Business Leader of the Year by the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce. He received the Winston Bells Humanitarian Award in 2000, the NAACP Humanitarian Award in 2001 and was named a Beta Gama Sigma honoree in 2002.

Andrews Klean Korner is a full-service, laundry and dry-cleaning establishment founded by Andrews in 1984. He built the business by maintaining exceptional customer service and providing convenient locations to his customers.

“I worked for him for 13 years until I bought the business,” said Eddie Stephens, who now owns the business. “It was like two friends working together the whole time. He was some kind of a great fellow.”

William “Buddy” Rabitsch recalled working with Andrews years ago in the business office at Georgia Southern University (then Georgia Southern College).

“He was a great person to work with, very efficient,” Rabitsch said. “He enjoyed life and made others enjoy it, too.”

“Those of us who knew him will really feel his loss,” he said.

Bobo said Andrews “was kind, loved Bulloch County and was faithful to the First Baptist Church.” As for the founders and organizers of the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Awards, “he made us all lifetime friends,” she said. “He brought us together. I call us the Statesboro 100.”

Andrews was involved with the awards up until this year and was a sponsor for most of those years, she said.

Visitation for Andrews will be Saturday, Nov. 26, from 4–6 p.m. at Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home in Statesboro. The funeral service will be Sunday, Nov. 27, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church Statesboro.

Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.