Lacoochee – Claud Andrews family



Whatever Happened to the Claud Andrews Family?

Agatha with young Bill and Bob.
Picture courtesy of the Andrews brothers.

Preface. The Claud Andrews family that lived on Superintendent’s Row in Lacoochee, Florida, was as well known in town as the company that sustained it. Claud Andrews was a bookkeeper in Cummer Sons Cypress Company’s office that included the payroll department. His wife Agatha Andrews, more widely known as Gate, was first a teacher in the local school and then became its principal. They had two children, Bill and Bob. Here is their story as told by the Andrews brothers:

Our father, Claud Andrews, was born in Burlington, NC. in 1895. He attended the University of North Carolina before he went to work for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL) when it was headquartered in Wilmington, NC. When World War I began, he joined the Army and received a commission in the infantry. After the war, he remained in Germany as part of the occupation forces, from which he became fluent in the German language. After the war, he returned to Wilmington to work for the ACL.

Our mother, Agatha “Gate” Leeuwenburg Andrews, was born in the Netherlands in 1907, and immigrated to the United States with her family as a young girl. Her family settled in Wilmington, NC, where she met and married our father in 1929. Claud took a job as a bookkeeper with Cummer Sons Cypress Company that same year and they moved to Lacoochee, Florida. Gate took a job teaching at the Lacoochee Junior High School (LJH), and enrolled part time in Florida Southern College to complete her degree.

Bill was born in 1934 and Bob in 1938. Both graduated from LJH, Pasco High School in Dade City, and the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Bill with a degree in Business Law, Bob with a degree in Chemical Engineering.

Claud remained in the employment of Cummer in Lacoochee from 1929 until the mill closed in 1958. During World War II, German prisoners of war, housed in Dade City, worked at the mill and at other industrial locations in Pasco County. Because of his language skills, Claud was a liaison between the managers of the mill in Lacoochee and the German prisoners.

Gate taught at the Lacoochee school from 1929 until 1949 when Principal “Prof” Mark St. Clair was elected Superintendent of Public Education in Pasco County and Gate became the Principal. She remained in that position until she retired in the 1970’s.

Cummer paid its employees at the mill in cash every Friday afternoon. The cash was sent from the Barnett Bank in Jacksonville via Seaboard Airline Railway. The train did not stop in Lacoochee, but did stop in Dade City. So every Friday morning, Claud and three other managers, either a mill foreman or a superintendent, loaded up with three Winchester rifles and drove to Dade City to pick up the cash at the Bank of Pasco County. There was never an attempt to rob them.

After they retired, Claud and Gate moved to Dade City, but then journeyed back to Lacoochee twice a week to teach adult education classes for several years. Claud passed away in 1979, Gate passed away in 1988.



After Bill and Bob Andrews left the Lacoochee-Dade City area and graduated from the University of Florida, their chosen careers landed them thousands of miles apart. Today, Bill Andrews and his wife, Dodi, live in Gainesville where he practiced law; Bob Andrews and his wife, Sally, live in Walnut Grove, CA. where Bob is a chemical engineer

Bill Andrews began the practice of law in Gainesville in 1959. He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives and served six two-year terms until 1978. Subsequently, he was appointed to the Florida Education Commission (advisory to the Commissioner of Education) for three years, and was then appointed to the Florida Commission on Ethics for six years. He retired in 1998.

He married Dodie Platt from Dade City, Florida, in 1955. They have three children and six grandchildren. The Andrews still maintain an interest in Pasco County where Dodie inherited a portion of her family’s orange grove on Frazee Hill.

After 36-years with the Shell Oil Company, Bob Andrews retired in 1996. His last assignment with the oil company was Manager of their refinery located at Martinez, CA on the north end of San Francisco Bay. Over the years he worked at several other locations including New Orleans, Houston, New York, Emeryville, CA and The Hague.

Bob and his wife Sally, who is from Orlando, have been married for 52 years. They have two children. Bob and Sally are no strangers to Dade City. They return often to attend his Pasco High School Class Reunion in the Summer. And sometimes an annual Lacoochee Reunion in the Fall.

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