The thing about living in the same place your whole life is that you form deep connections with people you’ve known all your life. Such is the case with Tony Andrus and Lorey Kroupa, both of whom passed away over the past week.
Tony was my brother Ward’s age, so they were in school together and hung out at Haserot Beach with other pals like Jerry Cooper, Mike Brigham and others. I remember being at the beach one time with my own pals – we always rode our bikes there – and across the parking lot was my big brother Ward and his friends. I think it was Mike who had a van, and I’m pretty sure I remember that song “A Horse With No Name” by America playing over the speakers in the van.
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When Tim and I had a band back in the day, Tony loaned us his keyboard. We had a little studio in the house we rented on Smokey Hollow Road (the old Leighton house, with the tree-lined driveway). We were grateful to add that keyboard into some of our songs. Little glimpses and memories like these will always be with me.
The Andrus family is one of those Old Mission Peninsula families that harks back many generations. Tony’s brother Jon and Jon’s wife Janine still live in “the Mission,” as my family has always called the little village, and Jon helped us build our log cabin here on Bluff Road. Here’s a picture of their sister Linda on “Topper” the horse.
In more recent years, Tony was a longtime employee of AcenTek, though he started with the company when it was Peninsula Telephone Company (read Tim’s interview with Vi Solomonson and her daughter Mary Jo here). Based on his Facebook posts, much of his work-time was spent in neighboring parts of northern Michigan, but you would still see him driving that white AcenTek truck around the Peninsula.
If you had the misfortune of having to call 911 over the years, Tony, a longtime member of the Peninsula Fire Department, was probably one of the kind souls who showed up to help you. I think that might be Tony on the right side in this photo, but someone correct me if I’m wrong.
Tony was also a gifted photographer, and I’ll miss his friendly greetings whenever I’d run into him at Peninsula Market or elsewhere. Some people you just think will be around forever, but as we all know, life throws a lot of curveballs at us. Tony’s passing reminds us to cherish our friends and family every single day.
Lorey Kroupa struggled with dementia in recent years, but even when I saw him just a few weeks ago at the Methodist Church’s “Trunk or Treat” event, he gave me a big smile out of his car window and said a cheery, “Hi, Jane!” What a joy! A big thank-you to his wife Marge for bringing him up to the church that day, and taking such good care of him.
Lorey was a gentle soul who always had a big smile whenever I saw him. Of course, many of you will remember him at Lorey’s Harbor Station, the little weigh station at Bowers Harbor that he transformed into a stand where he sold flowers, veggies and fruits. I’ll always remember the story my dad told about stopping to see Lorey there, in the hopes that he’d sign one of the many petitions Dad circulated around the Peninsula for this and that.
Dad started to tell Lorey about his latest project, and Lorey took the paper and signed it, saying, “I don’t need to hear about it, Walter. If it comes from you, I know it’s good.” Lorey had such faith in Dad’s vision for the Old Mission Peninsula, that he knew whatever he was working on would be ok to sign.
I will miss these two treasured souls, but know that their next adventure will be the best one yet.
An obituary for Lorey hasn’t been posted yet, but below is Tony’s obituary from the Reynolds-Jonkhoff website. I especially love the line about the community being a better place because of him. That is also so true about Lorey.
Details for a memorial service for Tony are still forthcoming. Marge Kroupa said they’ll have a service for Lorey sometime next summer. I’ll keep you posted on those.
Anthony “Tony” Paul Andrus
1956 – 2021
It’s with sadness that we announce the passing of Anthony “Tony” Paul Andrus on November 19, 2021, at Munson Medical Center after a brief illness.
Born February 24, 1956 at the same hospital, Tony grew up on the Old Mission Peninsula, helping on the family orchards. As he grew older, he realized his passions lay not in farming, but in electronics. Self-taught, he was always buying, building, tearing apart or putting together some new gadget or gizmo. He was the first person in the family to own a VHS player, something his younger nieces and nephews thoroughly appreciated. This aptitude lead to a career as a technician at the Peninsula Telephone Company (eventually bought by AcenTek), that lasted the rest of his life.
When not fixing other people’s gadgets, he enjoyed fishing, including annual trips to Canada with a friend. He also had a passion for photography, especially capturing wildlife. He would often wait for hours outside of a hole in the ground just to snap a picture of a fox kit when it emerged. This appreciation of animals also lead him to always having a cat or two around the house, usually strays he would name after the orchards or bushes he found them hiding in, such as Peaches, Apricot and Holly.
Tony also enjoyed cooking, especially barbecuing and smoking, and could very well be described as a “foodie,” though he would undoubtedly be miffed at such a pretentious title. Family gatherings were always a good excuse to try out a new barbecue sauce or soup he had been experimenting with.
He was politically active and enjoyed “sparring” on a variety of political topics. He was also an active volunteer member of the Peninsula Fire Department for many years, helping many of his friends and neighbors around Old Mission in times of crisis. When talking about him, his “gentleness” and “kindness” are the words most often used to describe him.
Born to the late Lawrence “Bud” and Bessie “Betty” (Helfrich) Andrus, and preceded in death by one sister, he is survived by one brother, two sisters, a cat, and a community left just a little better by him being in it.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cherryland Humane Society or a charity of your choice. Per his wishes, he will be cremated and a gathering to celebrate his life will be held at a later date.
Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services is caring for Tony and his family.
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb