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ANDREA HELENE BROWN May 25, 1944 - March 29, 2020

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Andrea Brown, 75 from Mesa, AZ died on March 29, 2020 in Chandler, AZ under Hospice care.  She had been ill since December 9, 2019.

Andrea was born in Lakewood, OH on May 25, 1944 to Doris K. Brown nee Jantz and Milton C. Brown.

She attended school in Lakewood, OH and graduated from Lakewood High School and then received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH in 1966 where she had been on the Dean’s List for scholarship for seven semesters.  She immediately went into teaching first grade which had always been her dream career since she was a small child.  She was nominated for Teacher of the Year in El Paso, TX where she taught for 24 years of her 31 year teaching career.  Andrea had a great interest in learning more about teaching children with learning disabilities.  She also taught several years in the Head Start Program for pre-school children in the depressed areas of Cleveland during the summer months.

During her summer vacations, Andrea would hunt down garage sales for children’s books where she would purchase hundreds of books and then bring them to school for her students to check out and take home.  Andrea had the special quality of giving herself to others, sharing her time, talents, and ideas, and making her students feel that they are very special.

Andrea loved her students and she loved traveling to locations where she could learn new things (and could shop)!  Her college roommate and dear friend of 58 years, Ellie Knesper, would take trips with her throughout the year which she dearly enjoyed.   Besides traveling, Andrea was an avid bridge player and loved to host bridge on Fridays at her home as well as scrapbook with another group of friends at her community clubhouse on the weekends.  She also enjoyed music, singing with the Lakewood Civic Chorus and in the Pilgrim Lutheran Church choir.  Her sister recalls that they would sing along with their mother in the car while on trips or just around the piano in our living room.  “She loved harmonizing with me, a skill we taught ourselves while singing hymns in church.  Andrea would point to the notes and get me to sing alto to her soprano when I was just a very young child.  Because our parents were divorced in the early 1950’s, Andrea took on much of the responsibility of watching out for us after school.  She always let me lick the beaters, and as the younger child, I am sure that I helped perfect her ‘teacher look’ that could usually bring order to a classroom.  My job was always to get her to laugh, which I loved doing more than anything.”

The love of Andrea’s life was her daughter, Katharine Michele Brown Harder and her granddaughter Abbey Morgan Harder.  There was nothing in her life that meant more to her.  She counted the days until she would go to visit them in Houston, TX where Kate works for NASA, or when they would come to visit her in Arizona.

Andrea is survived by her daughter, Katharine (Kate) Harder, her son-in-law, Ron Harder and their daughter Abbey Morgan Harder.  Her sister Donna Jean Brown Fritz (Gilbert, AZ) , her nephew Carl Matthew Fritz (Vernon Hills, IL) and cousins Linda Jantz Ruth (Lewes, DE) and Deborah Jantz-Sell (Fairfield, CT).

Because of the current Covid-19 travel and social restrictions, a memorial service will be held later this year.


  1. REPLY
    Kathy King says

    Andrea was a very active woman. She lived her life around her daughter and granddaughter. She loved to travel. But my closest relationship with her was through food!😊She loved to come over for meals and treats. I think one of her favorite foods that I ever made for her was potato salad. She would always ask for some to take home and have for breakfast the next morning. She loved Thanksgiving and taking home dressing for the next day or two. Her Christmas was always made complete with crescent cookies. She could make them last for a very long time. There are many favorites that she had, including Hawaiian Chex mix, broccoli salad, egg casserole and we can’t forget ham gravy. That was a recipe that I had to learn. She was always so appreciative of homemade food.

    My heart goes out to Donna, Katy, Ron, Abbey and Carl. I know how much they will miss her. Prayers and blessings to all of you!

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    Ellie Knesper says

    Andrea and I were friends since the day in early September, 1962, when we met in our freshman dorm at Miami University of Ohio. In addition to sharing a dorm room for four years, we also shared so many great memories — helping to build a three story Minnie Mouse as our dorm decoration for Homecoming, opening the little gifts that her mother sent us for our Christmas calendar each year, suffering through botany lectures and physical science labs together, playing countless rounds of bridge, and building jigsaw puzzles on the outside surfaces of our suitcases, and leaving for our first ever European excursion just two days after our college graduation. It was hard to stay connected after college, but we reconnected after retirement and managed to visit and travel together a couple of times each year. Andrea is a warm, loving, and giving person who will be missed greatly by her friends and family. Rest in peace, good friend!

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    Carl Fritz says

    Growing up as a kid, we would share “major” holiday dinners together….Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. Like most families, the “menu” was usually the same. That wan’t a bad thing because the food was always really good. We all loved what we called “Grandma’s Cheesecake” and would frequently have that for dessert at these family gatherings. For some “odd” reason Andrea and my mom would have this funny “battle” at dessert time and try to be the one to have the “last bite.” I witnessed this for many years and finally decided at one Easter dinner enough was enough. I was going to win this thing. I took a bite of cheese cake and hid it on my lap. My mom and Andrea bantered back and forth thinking one of them would crack and the other would get to claim victory. It was really too easy. I watched it all go down. I can’t remember which of the two of them thought they had won at that dinner. As soon as one of them claimed “victory” I pulled that piece of cheesecake off of my lap and claimed my rightful victory and we all laughed our asses off! I know it’s an odd story, but I know that all of us who were there remember it with a smile on our faces. Love you Aunt Andrea!

    • REPLY
      Kate Harder says

      That “last bite” you finally won was actually on my birthday dinner. I think it was the first year after grandma died and probably added a bit of tension relief given the holiday time and missing her.

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    Reeva Meyer says

    Andrea and I were growing up friends at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Lakewood, Ohio. Our mothers, both named Doris, were fast friends for decades. Her mom started a junior choir at church, and Andrea and I were part of it. It was a formative, faith building experience for me. As the years went by, Andrea and I became mostly Christmas card friends, but I certainly continued to care about her. My recollections of Andrea include her beautiful singing voice, her overall kindness, and her love of teaching and bridge. I believe she got me a summer office job during our college years, and we enjoyed taking lunch breaks together. It’s been good to read recollections from more recent years; I wish I had known about the broccoli salad and Grandma’s cheesecake, for example, but I’m glad to hear about them now.
    I have a lovely image of Andrea singing contentedly and beautifully, not a care in the world, full of joy and her wonderful laugh. Rest well, Andrea.

  5. REPLY
    Sandy Bulgrin says

    I met Andrea, Donna & Kathy many years ago while scrapping at a local store. Over the years our friendship grew as we shared our love of paper arts. Several years ago she invited us to scrapbook at her community center in Los Palmas. There I sat next to her where we would share suggestions on how to make a page look the best. She was very creative and her pages were always beautifully done. Her favorite photos to scrapbook were of her granddaughter and her many trips as friends. I’ll miss sharing these memories & photos with her, but most of all I’ll miss her friendship.

  6. REPLY
    Donna Dugenske says

    Loved playing bridge every Friday night at Andreas. She was a great hostess. Going to miss her smiling face. May God rest her soul & Peace to all her family she has left behind.

  7. REPLY
    Donna Fritz says

    Thank you for your kind words. Friday’s were always “do not call between 5:00 and 9:30” days. This was her important time!

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    Linda Ruth says

    I tried to send a childhood picture of Andrea, Donna, my sister and I visiting in Cleveland with no success. Delaware, my home, and Ohio, Andreas home seemed so far away at the time so I didn’t get to grow up with them except on visits. But in past years I was thrilled to be included in Kati’s wedding and also visits to Andrea and Donna in AZ, and they made each visit so special to my husband and I. Our relationship actually grew after our parents passed away. We always said how proud they would be to know we had this loving bond and stayed in touch. When I would talk to my husband about my cousins in AZ he would get mixed up with who was who. I called Donna my younger cousin whose laughter and humor would always bring out the best in me. And Andrea would be my older cousin who was always an old fashioned gal in many ways. I remember watching her continue to put curlers in her hair each night before she’d go to bed and wondering how she actually slept on them. She had a ready smile and absolutely beautiful complexion and also a tad of a stubborn streak but that Is just part of our German heritage some of us inherited (not me of course!). Seeing her picture will remind me of good memories and her happiness of raising her daughter Kati, having a granddaughter, traveling and teaching, all passions in her life. You did good cuz!
    To all of Andrea’s family, we all made memories together so that now we can share them together. She will always be in our hearts! Love you all and May peace be in your hearts

    • REPLY
      Donna Fritz says

      Thank you my very favorite “older than me” cousin. Your words were so heartfelt and right on! I love you both and look forward to seeing you soon. PS Love love the curler story.

  9. REPLY
    Irma Heasley says

    We miss the Friday night bridge games that Andrea hosted most every week. Besides being a great hostess she always had her house decorated for every season. I have fond memories of our trip to Maui and she made me a Purse like scrapbook.

    • REPLY
      DONNA FRITZ says

      Is that the trip you rode on a zip line? I remember picking you both up at the airport.

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