Wendy Andrew

One of our own, Wendy Andrew, left us on June 8th, 2016. Wendy was President of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society in 1994. Wendy May Andrew passed away on June 8, 2016, from breast cancer. She was 54. Born in Anaheim, CA, she moved as a child to Central Florida where she grew to love its natural beauty and habitat. A 1980 graduate of West Orange High School, Wendy went on to the University of Florida where she earned a BS in Forest Resources and Conservation and an MS in Agronomy. She began her professional life in 1985, as a Staff Assistant on the Environment to Senator Lawton Chiles. In 1986, she became one of the first women employed as an Aquatic Plant Manager for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. She launched a 24-year career with Walt Disney World in 1992. As Horticulture Manager for Disney’s Animal Kingdom since 2000, Wendy lived her professional dream. Along the way she met the love of her life, Michael Andrew, while engaged as a diver at EPCOT’s Living Seas Pavilion. She took her passion for the natural world beyond her professional duties by consulting on environmental projects within Florida and around the world, including Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania, Mexico, Cambodia, and Thailand. She served on the Florida Department of Agriculture Endangered Species Task Force, as a Director and Treasurer of the Association of Zoological Horticulture, and President of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society. Florida Audubon recognized Wendy as Volunteer of the Year in 2012. Wendy cared as deeply about people as she did about the environment.
She loved the Southwest Community Church. In 2006, she melded her faith, her concern for the environment, and her compassion for people in her service work with ECHO, a faith-based organization dedicated to solving global hunger through sustainable farming. Acting as an ECHO Board Member from 2013 to the present became a richly rewarding experience for her. She was an accomplished amateur photographer, a prolific reader, and a great and generous cook. She enjoyed swimming, fishing, kayaking, and volleyball. Wendy completed over 20 triathlons – all since her initial cancer diagnosis in 2008. She was inherently curious and instinctively kind. Wendy loved her family and she lived her faith. She was the beloved daughter of Kathy Matheison who predeceased her in 2004. She is survived by her husband of 27 years Michael Andrew, her father Robert K. Matheison and his wife Arra Mae, her aunt Linda Palmer Garberson, her siblings Cindy, Molly, and Robert, and her nine adoring nephews and one niece. Wendy encouraged us all to never fear our challenges, to live life to the fullest, and to love God by loving each other. A celebration of her life was held on July 9 at The Pines in Windermere, FL. If you wish, please consider making a contribution in Wendy’s memory to ECHOnet.org