Andrew “Andy” Andreasen will be remembered for his hard work ethic, use of common sense and being a champion for the underdog, according to his friends, family and colleagues.
Andreasen, a member of the Washington County Board of Supervisors and a longtime Blair business owner, died unexpectedly Thursday after collapsing at his store, Andy's Mow Town. His family said he suffered a massive heart attack. He was 46.
“He was probably the hardest working kid around,” Andreasen's father, Roger, said.
Andreasen was elected to the District 7 seat on the county board in November 2016 and quickly became known for his willingness to listen and his knowledge of the county.
“He certainly listened to the patrons all the time,” Supervisor Steve Kruger said. “The other thing I liked about Andy was if I needed to know about somebody in the county, he knew about most people in the county in that area.”
Board Chairman Steve Dethlefs said Andreasen brought his unique perspective as a former farmer and a small business owner to the board.
“Andy brought great value to the board,” Dethlefs said. “He was a hard worker. He took his responsibilities on the board seriously.”
Andreasen began his career as a mechanic for John Deere, working in Bennington and Missouri Valley, Iowa, while farming with his father and grandfather.
On Dec. 1, 2006, Andreasen and his wife, Shelly, opened Andy's Mow Town, a successful small engine sales and service shop, which served Blair and the surrounding area.
“He ran a really good business. He had very loyal customers,” said Jordan Rishel, executive director of the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce. “I, personally, would use his business.”
Rishel said Andreasen was reliable and honest.
“It is a huge loss,” she said.
Jay Anderson, who also serves on county board, first became friends with Andreasen when the pair coached their daughters, Josie and Faith, in softball nearly 10 years ago.
Anderson was looking for one last player to fill out the roster when Andreasen called him.
“That started our friendship,” said Anderson, who counted Andreasen as one of his best friends.
While he didn't know much about the sport, Andreasen offered to help coach, Anderson said.
“He was such a warm, caring, supportive, uplifting individual to those girls on the softball team,” he said. “They all loved him. He wasn't loud, he wasn't boisterous. He was reserved and quiet, but he would talk individually to these girls.”
That was Andreasen, he said.
“You would never know this about him because he was just so darn quiet, but inside of him was just this amazing person,” Anderson said.
When Anderson told Andreasen he was planning to run for county board, Andreasen said he was going to run, too.
“Our whole mission was we were going to get all this stuff straightened out on the board that was constantly in the news,” he said.
Andreasen was very straight forward and wanted to do what was best for the community, Anderson said.
“If it is right and good for people and good for taxpayers, he was going to support it,” he said. “He always championed the underdog. He didn't like seeing people get treated unfairly.”
Andreasen was also always open to conversations.
“When I was considering running and got elected, I reached out to him several times just to get some information. 'What do I need to know? What do I need to make sure that I'm researching and doing ahead of time to prepare myself?' Rishel said. “He was really good at helping me that way.”
Washington County Attorney Scott Vander Schaaf said Andreasen also served as a sounding board for others.
“He wasn't a problem creator, he was a problem solver,” he said.
Andreasen's common sense, board members said, was one of his strengths.
Anderson, who sat next to Andreasen during board meetings, said the two men thought alike on issues.
“I would talk to him all the time and get his opinion on stuff,” he said. “If I thought my opinion, if I wasn't sure about it, I would ask him because I knew his was based on common sense and what was best for his constituents.”
“His opinion was sound and we'll miss him,” Dethlefs said.
Board members also expressed their condolences to Andreasen's family.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family because it's tough, especially with someone that young,” Kruger said.
“He is certainly gone too soon and will be missed,” board member Lisa Kramer added.
Andreasen is survived by his wife, Shelly; children, Nate (Heather) Andreasen, Craig (Holly) Andreasen, Brandon (Tonya) Andreasen, Josh and Faith; grandchildren, Landen, Klaire, Eden, Elliott, Kaelynn, Ella, Emerson, Aubree and Elmer; parents, Roger and Donna Andreasen; sisters, Audra and Karen; grandmother, Viola Crone; and aunts, uncles and nephews.
Funeral servies will be 11 a.m. Thursday at Country Bible Church. Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Campbell-Aman Funeral Home in Blair.
County attorney: Andreasen's seat must be filled in 45 days
A three-person panel, which includes the county clerk, county treasurer and county attorney, will be used to fill the vacant seat left on the Washington County Board of Supervisors following the death of District 7 representative Andy Andreasen.
Washington County Attorney Scott Vander Schaaf said the county will take applications for the seat, though there are still some uncertainties about the process that need to be clarified.
However, he said, the seat must be filled within 45 days, according to state statute.