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Andy Sills, '67. 1948-2015. We're remembering our great friend Andy, who died Tuesday, February 24, 2015.
Truly, there was no one else like Andy, ever.


Photo, with Debby Hall SprInger, '67 In 1967. 

To see more photos of Andy (and us):


Andy tells his own story;



Man Identified In Fatal Highway 88 Crash

The San Francisco man killed in a motorcycle crash on Highway 88 yesterday has been identified. Amador County Undersheriff Jim Wegner indentified the victim as 66 year old Andrew Brant Sills of San Francisco. According to the CHP report, Sills was riding his motorcycle on Highway 88 near the Thunder Mountain Trailhead when, for unknown reasons, he drove off of the North Road edge and hit a deep dirt drainage ditch alongside the road. The motorcycle flipped end over end and the victim became entangled in the bike, ending up trapped underneath the motorcycle and unconscious. Emergency personnel tried to revive him, but the man ultimately succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. 


We offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to their families. 

This is a great loss for Sunny Hills High School and all of us. 

Noon, Thursday, February 26, 2015. 



Mr. Allen Whitten, Principal of SHHS writes; 

"Our boys soccer team has advanced to the quarter finals of CIF and play at home tomorrow [022715] at 3:00.  We will have a full sound system set up and we will announce Andy's death to honor him there."


FRIDAY, April 27, 2015. 

A friend of Andy's named John Maunos wrote on Facebook [with his permission]:

'Today. Spectacular and sad and beautiful and funny and inspiring and tearful and full of memories and stories and full of hugs and what a beautiful family. Lots of friends and family. Huge turnout. 150 or 200? Graveside service on a hill above the main cemetery. Bright and sunny and cool and hot sun. Dramatic clouds in blue blue sky. Many testimonials by friends and family who were profoundly touched by their relation to or friendship with Andy. Many many best friends. But Andy Sills greatest legacy I think was/is the family. Jay and Tina and Laura and Erin and Eli and Rachel and Rebecca and their beautiful children and spouses. Amazing. "Jackie Wilson said I'm in heaven when you smile." Van Morrison.
'The service and burial was today at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland CA. Noontime. A rabbi conducted the ceremony. At one point family members spoke about Andy. It was very moving. After lowering the coffin into the grave members of the family and then friends helped bury Andy. The rabbi read the Kaddish and then the family moved through the large crowd of friends to end the ceremony. Afterwards many people went to the home of Donnie Kemp and Rachel Sills Kemp to share food and remembrances of Andy. It was a splendidly sad day.'







Add Comment

Robert Althouse, '67 on March 16, 2015 at 8:13 PM said:

I’m sorry to hear about Andy’s passing. We’re all getting closer to that cliff.

I’ll put Andy’s name on our death-in-transition list which we read during our morning services.

Cheryl Lindsey Allison, '67 on March 4, 2015 at 8:09 PM said:

So sorry to hers that this very talented and very special person is no longer with us! Sympathy and love to his family.
Barb Smith Whitfield, '67 on February 28, 2015 at 10:16 AM said:

Andy was an incredible "spirit" of the class of '67. His infectious smile, his warm and friendly personality, his kindness to everyone, his ability to be a giver to all, and most of all he was a friend like no one else. You will be terribly missed Andy. We all loved you and will remember our time spent with you.

[NOTE: Barb added a loving heart symbol here, but the website won't accept It. Sorry. - Paul]
Julie Bomke Bannerman, '67 on February 27, 2015 at 3:44 PM said:

My sister Anne alerted me to the stunningly sad news. Thank you for your heartfelt tribute to Andy, a true mensch who brightened our lives.
Julie Twombly Engstrom, '67 on February 27, 2015 at 1:27 PM said:

I grew up in the wonderful world of Lisa Henry’s horses, swimming pool, mulberry bush and Debbie’s dad’s make-up filled play house. Cynthia ratted my wimpy hair and Dorothy zoomed me around in that unspeakably fabulous car (windows down; gear shift between the seats). I played in Janice Younger’s bomb shelter. I had crushes on Russell (always), Buddy and Chet (both way too good for me). Thank you all of my school chums for all of my memories. But I loved Andy. We all loved Andy. I don’t have a single memory of him that isn’t filled with warmth and peace. His goodness was soul-deep. ( I want to find my old dance picture of us and frame it.) I watched his Bonneville YouTubes with a broken heart for his family. What a sad day. He passed away much too early. I am so sorry for his family and the loss they will now have to endure. What a dear, sweet friend he was to all of us. His family must have adored him. I know I adore him still.
andy wendland 67 on February 27, 2015 at 8:53 AM said:

Our prayers go out to Jay and the rest of Andy's family. When I first moved to Cali in 1960 from Kansas he was one of the first people to befriend me.Unfortunately in our 6th grade class with Mr. Scott at Ladera Vista I was known that year as Wendy since we already had one Andy in our class.I will never forget the kindness that he showed me. It meant a lot to me.God bless his soul.
Russell Lowe, '67 on February 26, 2015 at 8:20 PM said:

I am holding Sills in my heart
Mantras for a good transition
May he be free of suffering and the causes of suffering
May he be at peace
May he be happy
The fourth remembrance recited daily
" I know everything and everyone I love and cherish are of a nature to change and that I cannot escape being separated from them "
That which he really was continues -the not born the not dying
Chris Gaston Purkiss, '67 on February 26, 2015 at 6:57 PM said:

Andy was a superb human being who defined my awkward teenage yrs. This man had the wisdom of a scholar fostered by the humility and kindness of an angel. Even @ 16 he cared deeply about social injustice and had amazing energy fueled by his passion for life. He never tried to impress others but he could tactfully enlighten them. He loved Bob Dylan and the Doors..... taught me how to drive a stick shift, took me to Homecoming in my ugly homemade dress, and taught me not to “sweat the small stuff” (like having a bad hair day!). We had lost contact over the years but connected via FB on Feb 14th, and thankfully I had the opportunity to convey my admiration to him….Like so so many others, Andy changed my life for the good and reminded me never ever to postpone joy! (oh, in HS he was a badass wrestler too!)
Linda (Percan) Callen, '67 on February 26, 2015 at 6:37 PM said:

I haven't seen Andy in years but will never forget his huge smile that always made me smile too. Rest in peace Andy. My condolences to his friends and family.
Darlene Specht Brehm, '67 on February 26, 2015 at 6:25 PM said:

RIP Andy...Your smile will never fade....
Holly Cresswell, '68 on February 26, 2015 at 5:47 PM said:

I'm so sorry to learn about Andy's death. This is such sad news.
Nancy Gannon Vieira on February 26, 2015 at 5:01 PM said:

Read in one of our local papers that Andy's accident happened not far from where I live. I will bring some flowers from the class of '67 to the spot. Until then thoughts are with his wife and family. Andy always had a smile for everyone.
Carol Roberts, '67 on February 26, 2015 at 4:56 PM said:

I heard that news last night from my sister...I never saw him again after we graduated since I was in Tahiti every time there was a reunion...I just now came in from an incredible surf...all alone at a beautiful place w/whales jumping close enough that I could see their eyes!! I thought about Andy when I was out in the water and what a shame he's gone from this spectacular place called Earth...so sad....make every minute of every day really count...that's all I take away from people passing ....sigh....mahalo for the notice, Paul and take care.
Patti Powers, '65 on February 26, 2015 at 2:27 PM said:

So sorry to hear the news. I used to play doubles tennis against his parents in the 1970’s at the John Wayne Tennis Club (now called the Palisades). Very nice people and such a long time ago. My condolences to Andy’s family.
Liz Ehinger, '67 on February 26, 2015 at 2:00 PM said:

Oh, I'm so sorry. Loved Andy. Vintage 67: a very good year!

Add Comment

I have some memories of Andy, too. 

The most shining memory was from Tuesday, June 9, 1965, when Gemini 4 landed on the moon and astronaut Edward White II went outside his vehicle and performed the first American space walk. Andy was so thrilled and exuberant about that milestone that he wrote a one-line summary of it at the upper right hand corner of his weekly theme Mrs. Frances Obler had us write in English 2 at Sunny Hills High School. I remember because he sat next to me and I saw it. Andy loved America and the American people, and how we responded to great challenges. 

I remember one evening during our December break from college our freshman year in 1967. I came home to visit Rob Allingham, '66 in Sunny Hills. There came a knock on the front door, and in came Andy, so full of life and energy he was practically turning cartwheels. He loved UC Berkeley, wore an African dashiki, and had his hair in a fluffy Bob Dylan-style 'natural'.  Best of all, he greeted me and Rob with unabashed, robust hugs -- and the comradely hug had not yet reached my circle of new friends at UCLA. It felt great! So Andy taught me to let it all hang out and hug my friends passionately, and I haven't stopped yet. By the way, he was planning to become a kindergarten teacher then, which I think he actually did for a while. Not sure. 

A lot of us remember the our senior year Town Hall Class of '67 meetings Andy hosted on his parent's driveway on Catalina, banked high above street level. We sat on the asphalt in the cool air while Andy held our attention with his presence, with his hands jammed into his pockets and wearing a sheep-skin collar coat. One of those meetings was when Fred Dozier, '67 suggested we adopt CLASS OF 1967: IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR as our class motto, as Liz Ehinger remembered today. We passed the idea by acclamation. 

I always listened to Andy carefully, and I also remember at one of those meetings there was a dispute or controversy over some issue I've forgotten. Somebody had apparently written an anonymous letter critical of someone else. Andy said, 'If you wrIte a letter, you should have the hair to sign your name on it." YES! He could communicate and make himself understood. 

Of course, Andy could be hilariously funny, and he often enlisted his pals in a gag. Remember how he and Buddy Sutton announced themselves as a famous acrobatic team? When it came time for them to perform, Andy wore a cape and his wrestling team uniform, took a running start, leaped into the air, flew four or five feet, and Buddy caught him flawlessly and gracefully in his arms. Both guys smiled and took their bows. 

I've been thinking about Andy today since noon, through some tears, and now I believe maybe the most important thing about him was the way he could make his classmates believe in themselves. He smiled and seemed to have a moment for everyone, and in various ways -- often subtle or even silent --  he communicated how much he liked us, appreciated who we were, held a high regard for us, and convinced us he believed we were special people. By doing that, he forced us to take a look at ourselves to see what he saw in us, and conclude he must be right. It would not have worked if he hadn't meant it and been sincere. I doubt if there was a single friend or acquaintance of Andy, then or through his life, who didn't benefit from him that way. He truly had charisma, that rare, noble magnetism and ability of a leader to sway people. Surely he did.  

Andy's death causes us all to remember the last time we saw him. For many of us, it was Class of '67 Reunion in September 1988 at an Orange County hotel.  Most of us stood or sat talking that evening in a large, semi-lit lounge with a circular fireplace and an open patio at one end. Fashionably late -- about 9 or 9:30 PM, there was a stir and we saw Andy walk in with a escort, maybe two. He stood straight with his chest out, buff and in a black Versace T-shirt. His hair had begun to thin, he wore it short, and he looked a little Roman. Classmates moved toward him as if they wanted to touch the hem of his garment. He was about to be mobbed.

Like a rock star, or the pope, he made his way to the far side of the fireplace and sat on the faux marble edge. I think he sat and spoke to Joanne Mongeon (and who wouldn't want to, indeed?) The next thing we knew, a line of classmates -- a receptIon line! -- formed to wait their turns to talk to Andy. Fifteen or twenty classmates, maybe more, most with drinks in hand, spouses in tow, waiting patiently.  When each classmate's turn came, he or she would bend at the waist to speak into Andy's ear -- because it was loud in there, you see? -- and exchange a few pleasantries, and he remembered us all with a few words and a smile. 

I talked to Andy several times on Facebook starting last week. One day I wrote a short update of all the '67 Lancers I know something about -- where we lived, our occupations (or retirement), special notes or interests. It came to about 200 of us. His old friends, in other words. I made sure to send that list to Andy, and the next morning he replied, 'THAT IS UNBELIEVABLY MINDBLOWING AND POWERFUL, PAUL!! THANK YOU!!" I'm proud of us all, and so was he. He died with some knowledge and understanding of what we were all up to. That means a great deal to me. 

Andy Sills is one old friend I'm never going to forget, everybody. God bless you, Andy. I'll see you in the morning. - Paul Saevig, '67 [February 26, 2015]