Remembering: Stocky Andrews

Stocky and Loy Andrews

BAR HARBOR — As a young man growing up in Philadelphia, Stockton “Stocky” Andrews, who died July 31, had two older brothers, Stuart and Schofield, whom he admired greatly and spent a great deal of effort trying to impress. So it was no surprise when, in 1944, after graduating from prep school, he followed his brothers into the armed services by joining the Marines. His division was being deployed to fight in the planned invasion of Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending the war. At the time, the gung-ho teenager was disappointed to have missed the action, but in retrospect, he figured the timing just may have saved his life.

After he completed his service, Stocky and his brothers were rather at loose ends. With nothing else to do, they decided to spend some time knocking about post-war Europe. When Stocky, or perhaps his father, Schofield Sr., decided it was time think seriously about his future, he followed his interest and, perhaps, the sun to Santa Fe, enrolling in the University of New Mexico. While there, he met a fellow from Scripps Institute of Oceanography in California who was doing some interesting things with underwater diving gear recently designed by a Frenchman named Jacques Cousteau.

Still without any career path in mind, Stocky followed the Scripps fellow out to California to help test out this new SCUBA gear.

Being among the first divers to swim freely underwater with the relatively lightweight aqualung strapped to his back was a huge thrill for the young man. But during one dive, he managed to enrage a sea lion, which chased him to the surface. Too quickly, it turned out, and the resulting damage to his left eardrum ended that adventure.

Around this time, Stocky was introduced to a young woman from his native Pennsylvania named Eleanor Lloyd “Loy” Dunham, who was visiting her dad in La Jolla.

As it happened, not only did they share the same birth state but they both had strong connections to Mount Desert Island. The Andrews had been longtime summer residents of Northeast Harbor, and Loy’s family summered at Porcupine House in Bar Harbor.

Loy recalls that she had caught glimpses of Stocky and his pals from time to time at parties on MDI, but as he was five years older than she, she only could admire him from afar.

Finally, on the other side of the continent, she got to meet the young man – who bore a striking resemblance to British movie star Leslie Howard. This time, the admiration was mutual.

In 1953, Stocky and Loy were married in Bar Harbor and then returned to La Jolla where Stocky had gotten a job with a bank. After their daughter Ellen Douglas “Dougie” was born, the Andrews decided they did not want to raise their children in southern California and came back east to Philadelphia, where their son Stockton, Jr. was born.

Summers were spent at various family homes on MDI until, in 1963, a big old gothic pile named Aldersea on the Bar Harbor shore came up for sale.

“It was in terrible disrepair,” Loy says.

Still, the view of the Porcupine islands and the breakwater at the entrance to the harbor was breathtaking.

The Andrews bought the creaky old pile; immediately removed a wing to make it somewhat more manageable and the family enjoyed many happy summers there. But when Stocky and Loy started coming up earlier in the spring and staying later in the fall, it became clear that winterizing a place with 20-foot ceilings would have been insane, and the old cottage was torn down.

In its place, they erected a contemporary home, which took full advantage of the magnificent ocean views and the morning sun. Stocky also had two special rooms set aside in the basement: one for a workshop, the other for a perfect scale model railroad he constructed.

At the time of his passing, the model layout was still a work in progress, but the complex crisscrossing of tracks that run along the cliff face of what appears to be a Western mining town is impressive.

His knowledge of railroad history was remarkable, as well, and when the Franklin Institute, a science museum and educational resource in Philadelphia was constructing a railroad exhibit, Stocky Andrews was called in to consult.

Stocky loved to be out on the water in the family’s boat, the Takeover.

“I always thought the only point of having a boat was to get you to a nice island, as fast as possible,” says Loy. “But Stocky loved being on the water. I don’t think there was a fair day all season that he didn’t take the boat out.”

When Stocky retired in the mid-1970s, the couple came to live in Bar Harbor year-round. As a couple, they enjoyed entertaining and their wit and humor at cocktail and dinner parties helped make the winter months as socially fun as the summer season. Stocky also immersed himself in several local organizations including the harbor committee and, with Loy, MDI Hospital. He also became an ardent volunteer fireman.

“Every night before he went to bed, he laid out his clothes in a way that, if the fire horn sounded, he could get into them quickly and get out the door,” says Loy.

Current fire chief Joey Kane says his memories of fighting fires with Stocky Andrews go way back.

“Yes, Stocky was already in place when I came into the fire department as a kid in the seventies,” he says. “And for as long as I can remember, he was someone we could always count on to show up.”

In the last ten years of his life, fighting several types of cancer seems to have consumed a great deal of Stocky’s time. Every time he thought he’d beaten it for good, it would crop up somewhere else.

Eventually and reluctantly Stocky Andrews conceded the battle, dying peacefully at the hospital he and his wife had put so much time and effort into making a place where babies could be born, the sick could be healed and death could be met with grace and compassion.

For more community news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

Know when to pay your respects.