Andrea Maude Drummond White was born at Toronto Women’s College Hospital in Toronto on Monday, May 3, 1943, to Alexander “Drummond” and Mary Geraldine (Perrin) White. She was the eldest of three children; Andrea, Rosemary (1946), and Drummond (1951). Their family resided in North Toronto and when her father returned from the war, the family moved closer to the downtown.
Throughout her childhood, the White family moved regularly between Ontario and Quebec. These moves were challenging, as the education systems were quite different. Andrea spent her last year of high school in Switzerland and fondly remembered the friendships made and many adventures.
Andrea was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at a young age and given a poor prognosis; not letting that define her, she lived a full and meaningful life proving the doctors incorrect. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toronto, her Bachelor of Social Work at the University of British Columbia, and her Master of Social Work at Wilfred Laurier in Waterloo, Ontario. Andrea had a fondness for learning and believed in the importance of education and the opportunities it would provide.
Andrea began her career as a social worker in Montreal, working in mental health settings. Over the years she had stops in Peterborough and Toronto before settling in Chesley in 1985. Andrea bought her little piece of paradise from the Fox family and settled into her new home and everything the community had to offer. Andrea continued her career by working for Grey Bruce Regional Health Centre in Owen Sound, still in social work, but travelling to the patient’s homes to provide care. This was a cutting-edge program in its time and Andrea helped to lead the way. Andrea retired in 2000 after a career spanning 30 years. She continued to support her community through volunteer work with Victims Services.
Andrea enjoyed the company of her close friends and family, capturing every family gathering on film and sharing the photographs to ensure that the memories didn’t fade. Andrea was an avid storyteller; sharing family tales and adventures with each new generation preserving the memory of those who had passed. She was also a quiet woman, often keeping to herself enjoying the company of books. As an avid reader, she enjoyed a wide variety of genres, often completing a couple of books a week. Her favourite subjects were murder mysteries and studying the characteristics of children.
Like mysteries, Andrea loved the challenge of puzzles —crosswords, sudoku, and especially jigsaw puzzles. She enjoyed countless hours in the long winter months completing her jigsaws. If time allowed, and the stack of books had dwindled, it should be no surprise that Andrea also enjoyed murder mysteries on television, like “Murder She Wrote” and “Inspector Morse.”
In 1991, Andrea was fortunate enough to meet John Van Roode of Cargill. They quickly became friends, and in time their relationship blossomed, and they fell in love. Andrea and John both enjoyed reading, storytelling, and playing the piano. They were inseparable until John’s passing in May of 2021.
Andrea also enjoyed Shakespearian Theatre and would travel annually to Stratford with her friend John Stewart and her brother Drummond to take in a week of summer productions and reconnect. Active in the arts locally as well, Andrea participated in a few theatre productions at the Bijou. She led a life full of activity from fly fishing to curling, lawn bowling, or taking daily strolls throughout Chesley. Every season offered new activity for Andrea, but she preferred the autumn with the changing colours, crisp air, and fall fairs when Rosemary and her girls or other friends would visit the region.
Andrea’s faith played an important role throughout her life. She was raised in the United Church but later went on to explore her faith in both the Anglican and Presbyterian settings. She was involved with the Chesley and Area Ministerial for years and loved the opportunity to perform a Biblical story. She found her true faith home in recent years and joined the Hanover Mennonite Church. Andrea loved her church community deeply and valued worshiping with them weekly when her health would allow it.
Finally, Andrea loved her family dearly. Throughout her life, she remained connected to them and was always interested in the happenings of their lives. She enjoyed spending time with her nieces and nephew and her great-nieces and nephews at every opportunity. She spent hours reading to them when they were young, teaching them card games as they grew older and the important lesson of losing gracefully. Andrea didn’t often lose, so winning against her became a challenge for the whole family! Andrea taught many important life lessons; remember those you love, find time for a good book, pause long enough to observe and enjoy what life offers, always have an “A” wardrobe for special occasions, and be patient— it will reward you in fishing and in life.
Sadly, in recent years Andrea’s health declined. She treasured all the phone calls and visits from friends and family when the pandemic would allow…. especially her sister Rosemary or brother Drummond. She made the most of each day and tried to look at the positives in life. Andrea passed away surrounded by her family and friends on her 79th birthday, May 3, 2022.
Andrea was the much loved and loving sister of Rosemary Johnston of Barrie and Drummond White and his wife Norah (Love) of Whitby. Andrea will be lovingly remembered by her nieces and nephew, Katherine, Alison (Bill), Emily (Dan), Amanda (Brad), Devin (Allison), Lenore (Brandon) as well as her great-nieces and nephews Paige, Sarah, Henry, Emmett, Hudson, Wilton, Arya, Maisie, Ophelia, Ezra, and Miles. Andrea was predeceased by her beloved John Van Roode, and her parents Drummond and Mary (Perrin) White.
Andrea found fulfillment as a social worker first in Montreal then Toronto and later in Grey-Bruce County, a region that she fell in love with and called home. Chesley and the surrounding area captured her heart with its open spaces, history to explore, and even a river, or two, to drop a line and fish for a few hours. Andrea enjoyed the company of her close friends or time alone in a canoe, never turned down a card game or a puzzle she couldn’t solve or a mystery that didn’t need to be read. Known to her family as Abby or Tante she was always ready for an adventure, a story, or simply a hug.
A memorial service honouring Andrea’s life will be held at the Hanover Mennonite Church on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at 2:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Hanover Mennonite Church or the Heart and Stroke Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.