Bennie “Poppa” Andrews is a quiet, courteous man. He spends his days at the Good Samaritan-Stafholt nursing home, and the staff love him. They affectionately call the soft-spoken man “Poppa,” and rave about how sweet he is. And, while he may be a little forgetful, it’s really no surprise when you have a century of memories and thoughts rolling around in your head.
On August 30, 2012, Andrews celebrated his 100th birthday.
Friends and family came from across the country to help celebrate the milestone birthday at the Squalicum Harbor Boathouse in Bellingham. In attendance were Andrew’s son, two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
When asked how he felt about turning 100, Andrews said, “I ain’t surprised at nothing.”
Andrews grew up on a farm in West Monroe, Louisiana, and spent most of his life working the grocery field, starting in retail before becoming the manager of the wholesale grocery in Monroe.
After retiring from the grocery business, Andrews took up tax preparation to supplement his retirement income. He was a tax preparer until he was 96 years old.
He married in 1935, and he and his wife Maude were together for 65 years before she died on July 4, 2000. They have one son, Ben Andrews, who lives in Bellingham.
Throughout his life, Andrews has been involved in the church. He had a hand in planting two churches and a stint as a deacon in the Baptist church. His son Ben, 75, remembers going with him to brush arbor revivals and hearing him speak.
“In all my years, I never met another human being who did not like my dad,” Ben said. “I always said that if I could be half the man my dad was I would have been successful.”