Obituary of Andrew Wilson
August 9, 2023
Andrew Wilson, NYC
February 1, 1965 - August 9, 2023
Andrew. A beloved husband & partner, son, brother, father, uncle. A recent grandfather. A soulful friend. A revered colleague.
On the morning of August 9th, with soft sunlight shining on his face, our dearest Andrew died peacefully at his home in New York City. Until the very last, he was in his own bed and his wife Mia was, as always, by his side. There, too, was close friend Vera who, with her unwavering love for them, gave near round the clock guidance, care and comfort in Andrew’s final days and hours.
Andrew is predeceased by his father, Alexander Wilson. He is survived by his wife, Mia Tuttavilla, his mother, Jane Wilson of Newport, Wales, his sister and brother-in-law Vivienne & John Murray of Anchorage, AK, his daughter, Rachel, his son and daughter-in-law, Jonathan and Shana and his baby grandson, Reece. Andrew also leaves behind niece, Katherine and nephew, Alex, his many aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws and those friends who considered him their brother.
Andrew remained a son of Wales through and through. While born in the town of Newport, a significant amount of his time was spent in the idyllic, sleepy countryside of Caerwent, established A.D.75-80. In town, he lived with his devoted Mum and Dad on the weekends. In the country, weekdays were spent with his adored Nana and Bampy where he attended the little school just a stone’s throw from their holding or small farm. Surrounded by nature, where the Roman walls of Caerwent still stand today, Andrew was an exuberant and carefree boy. There were apple trees and lilac bushes and the scent of lavender filled the air. This environment shaped him and led to a quiet knowledge and liking of all creatures great and small.
Andrew and his sister loved being in the country with Nan and Bamps, where they climbed trees, shook apples from their limbs, ate vegetables from the garden, milked goats and chased down chickens and toads. Always cold when night fell, bundled in woolen sweaters knit by Nana, he and Viv became skilled at card games their grandparents taught them, just to pass an evening. When the electricity faltered in the old stone cottage, as it often did, they reached for their kerosene lamps and kept right on playing. By now, Andrew had developed an artistry for drawing; filling sketchbooks, at times by the light of those same kerosene lamps. Back in town, in the old Victorian, he acquired his passion for reading and music through his mother – a mom who happened to adore bands like the Rolling Stones. Through his father, his curiosity for science, design and engineering was nurtured, as he and Dad spent time in their little workshop taking things apart and putting them back together again…just to see how they worked.
As a teen, he took a job at a printing press. By day he worked hard to learn his new trade. It moved him, the machinery and sound of a long ago era. By night, with friends squeezed in, Andrew drove fast stick shift cars through the misty, rolling hills of Wales in time for sunset or an eve at the pub or a mountaintop music festival that might end (much to their surprise) at sunrise. Andrew, always athletic from boyhood, played rugby and cricket and eventually decided the more refined cricket was his game. With an eclectic taste in music, even as a teen, he taught himself to play the bass; his dedication to it never faded, always reaching for it to find quiet and solace in sound and vibration.
As a young man here in the states, he met and married Holly, settled in Long Island and raised two children with whom he traveled often. Truly interested in the old world printing industry, he’d stuck with it even as it changed and eventually found great success, garnering clients such as Goldman Sachs and Chase. After the dissolution of his marriage, while saddened for his children, he never faltered as their father. Their wellbeing, in all ways, remained at the fore.
Not one to leave mystical Wales behind for long, throughout his lifetime, he’d return again and again. To embrace his family; to walk its craggy shores.
At the time that he met Mia, he was an Assistant Location Manager for First Student, the largest school transportation provider in North America. Their relationship blossomed and grew and within a year and a half, in September of 2016, they exchanged wedding vows in a farm setting in Upstate New York. An exquisite day, they were surrounded by their closest friends and family. It was a heady and soulful time in their lives. They traveled. They danced. They laughed and they loved, and together, they created a beautiful home. One day they added Crosby, their “micro- canine” (as Andy would say) to the mix. Crosby too, is experiencing loss at this time.
Recognized by his colleagues at First Student as a skilled, dedicated, creative and natural leader, Andrew was promoted to Location Manager at Mount Vernon. As anyone in the industry knows, running the operations of a school bus depot, where the mandate is children’s safety first, is a serious position. He took pride in leading a great team and never understated their awesome responsibility. And he knew he could not, and did not, do it alone. For operations to run smoothly it took every cog in the wheel–from the office staff to the mechanics, to the bus drivers and the monitors, to the school districts and the unions. Even as phones were ringing off the hook, they got those kids HOME.
Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality–Emily Dickinson
Andrew always spoke of his gratitude toward his staff and colleagues, most especially, after he was diagnosed with a life threatening disease in November of 2019. Whether on location or recuperating at home from his many procedures and treatments, he never failed to recognize the incredible support he and his family were afforded at this trying time, and in the years that followed. Still, always up before the crack of dawn, he worked on–with purpose–because Andrew truly enjoyed staying engaged with people and being productive. He and his family often spoke of how fortunate he was to be employed by a company that fully supported his need for time, recovery and recharge. Whether it came through colleagues and friends in senior positions or his dedicated HR person, or through his staff and others, or even from clients–Andrew felt BUOYED. So rare. And he and his family marveled.
Throughout his time at First Student, he encouraged, trusted and delegated and in doing so, promoted self-confidence in others. Under Andrew’s guidance and ”you can do it" spirit, many of those he led progressed to more certifications, more licenses, higher positions, resulting in better salaries and therefore, a better quality of life. And yet, there was no conceit to him in this regard. In his home life, he didn’t speak of these aspects of work life. He simply did it; guided, cheered on and supported –naturally. Because that, he must’ve quietly recognized, is what a leader does.
Although it meant time to relax and reflect and be with his wife and family, the decision of when to step away from his position was a difficult one, for his wish was to ensure that even in his absence, his location remain in full working order. He pushed back his departure, he kept working, streamlining operations for a seamless transition. And in the months leading up to his family leave, he planned and discussed with upper management who the right person might be to step into his position. He championed one. Once at home, when the occasional call or correspondence came through from his successor, Andrew jumped right in to guide and assist, and knew, as he always had, he'd championed the right person for the job.
In this time of Andrew’s passing, operations at Mount Vernon are, indeed, in full working order and flowing along.
With his strength and fortitude, his will, stubbornness and most importantly his love of life, Andrew viewed the years he was given post initial surgery as a GIFT, and one not to be squandered. He did his damndest to live well through it all. And he DID. He gave and received more love. He traveled more. He danced and played more. He ate his heart out whenever he could. He laughed and cooked for and broke bread with friends more, loving our small gatherings. He still drew, designed and installed. He conversed with neighbors. He took more photos, beautiful photos, and more, more Crosby walks. He read–and read some more–until the reader fell on his chest. He baked bread. So much bread! He played music…loudly! And he meditated, because although he did not subscribe to any one religion, he did believe in Source, in connectedness, a Higher Love and Sagan’s “star stuff.” Andrew experienced joy. And not that long ago, he met and held his gorgeous grandson. You see, Life was sweet he knew, yet tomorrow, never promised, until the next scan or the next.
From the start, he was deeply grateful for the brilliance of his doctors and their teams at MSK. Their care gave him time. And later, for his hospice team, like his tenderhearted nurse, or the kind chaplain or his generous music therapist, who Andrew accompanied on the bass, until it became too cumbersome and his fingers lost dexterity. Heroes all.
Andrew touched lives. Even the building maintenance man wept, because he was a man of humility and gratitude. A dignified and beautiful man. A man of hope and dreams. An honorable man. A generous man. A protective man. A soulful man. A gracious and true gentleman. And we are grateful to have known him. The humor and the charm. For beneath that furrowed brow, lay a quick wit, a rascally grin, and a huge, kind heart.
We love you dearly, my Welsh prince…you are around, but will forever be missed. Beyond words. Beyond measure. Always.
“...there is a field, I’ll meet you there…”
For family members in the UK unable to travel, Andrew’s service will be livestreamed. Others who also wish to attend via Zoom, may do so at the link provided.
In lieu of flowers, a donation made in Andrew’s name would be much appreciated. Below is a list of organizations to which he gave his ongoing support. Choose which moves you. With warm thanks.
St. Jude Children's Hospital
Arbor Day Foundation
WNYC/The Brian Lehrer Show
And created especially for Andrew through MSK to support Pediatric Cancer Research.
August 27, 2023
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Crestwood Memorial Chapel
199 Bleecker St.
New York City, NY 10012Get Directions
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I will miss our talks. Thank you for being my good friend.
Posted by: Nina Brown-Lane - Clayton, NC - Friend August 16, 2023
I’m not very outgoing when meeting new people. My first time meeting Andrew, at a dinner party, was different, as if I knew him my entire life.He had a familiarity about him, a warmth, and I could see how Mia fell for him. A beautiful soul taken too soon from his beloved Mia ?? Maria
Posted by: Maria Tata-Stuart - Danvers , Ma - Friend August 27, 2023