County mourns death of Johnny Andrew

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John B. “Johnny” Andrew, one of the true stalwarts of the Switzerland County Community, was killed on Tuesday afternoon when a tree that he was cutting down on his farm broke free and fell on him.

The Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department is still working on the final report, but Sheriff Nathan Hughes said that the accident happened at around noon. Johnny Andrew had been cutting the tree on the river side of his property, across State Road 156 from his home on the east edge of Vevay.

Very active in the community, word of Johnny Andrew’s passing shocked the entire county community. A longtime farmer, he was very active in the Switzerland County agricultural community.

A native of Jefferson County, Johnny Andrew graduated from Central High School in Madison in 1960.

For the past 44 years he farmed near Vevay.

One of the most respected tobacco farmers in the area, Johnny Andrew often provided opinion and commentary to burley articles that appeared in the Vevay Newspapers.

For years he worked at the Maddox Tobacco Warehouse in Madison, and employed several members of the Switzerland County community to help him with his large tobacco crop each year.

He was active in the Switzerland County Extension Service and was a 4-H leader along with his wife, Jeanette, for many years.

He was also very active in the Switzerland County Antique Tractor Club.

Johnny Andrew was also a strong member of the Switzerland County Republican party, serving as a Precinct committeeman in Jefferson II. He was also a longtime member of Switzerland County Farm Bureau.

But of all of the activities and organizations that Johnny Andrew was involved in, he is perhaps best associated with his love of organizing kiddie pedal tractor pulls.

Each year at the Switzerland County 4-H Fair, dozens of children would line up to sign in and be weighed and placed into competition categories for the pedal tractor pull.

Each child would wait anxiously until his or her name would be called, and when it was, they would bound to the tractor and pulley mechanism – where they would be greeted by Johnny Andrew’s smiling face.

As each child struggled to move the weight down the course, Johnny Andrew would walk along and cheer on the child and encourage them until the last inch of movement.

As the assembled audience of friends and family applauded, each child left that tractor with the congratulations of Johnny Andrew, who always told them that he was proud of them and that they had done their best.

Switzerland County has lost a piece of its very fabric with the passing of Johnny Andrew; but – as he was famous for saying – “It’ll be alright”.

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For a complete obituary of Johnny Andrew, see page 2 of today’s edition.

– Pat Lanman