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Thelma Jean (Gunn) Andrews

March 20, 1933 ~ January 2, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old
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Obituary

Thelma was born to Bruce and Anne (Sedore) Gunn in Detroit the youngest of seven siblings that survived infancy. Her nick name growing up and used by siblings lifelong was ‘Hope’. At age 10 her mother, seldom well, died. She and her next older sister, Dorothy, were given into the care of their oldest sister, Anne, by her brothers Bruce, Owen, Harold, Jack. This was during the war and all 4 boys were in the Navy. When asked what was the most important event of her childhood she would always reply with undiminished joy ‘all four came home’. She referred to sister Anne as ‘Mom’ until her own death.

Anne, her mother, prayed for the conversion of all her children. When she died early only the three girls were believers. Her sister Anne continued the daily prayers of their mother for her four brothers. During the war, three became believers, one later. From these prayers, in their extended family scores are now believers and more than a dozen in full time Christian service – pastors and evangelists - including Thelma.

Needing coats and shoes, during her teen years Thelma often lived with other families, helping them with household chores and children. She graduated from Detroit Redford High School in 1951. She attended Brightmoor Tabernacle with all her relatives and where her brother Bruce was one of the pastors. Her mother had been a charter member helping to found the church. There she met Percy Andrews, whose parents were also charter members.

She had just graduated from high school when they began dating. To hear them tell the story ‘he chased and chased her until she caught him’.  Percy was older, employed as an electrician, and caring for his parents. They married in 1952 nine days after she turned 19. Her first child, Jerry, was born 10 months later (she insists on the number of months being known) while she was still a teenager. Her second child, Jeanne, was born five years later. Percy and Thelma were married for 58 years until his death in 2010.

Because of her sense of displacement and her experience of love in family she soon became a foster parent to many children. Within days of marriage she took in relatives. Over the next ten years she took in 22 foster children from the Detroit Children’s Welfare Society – some for weeks, some for months, some for years – almost always boys older than Jerry and Jean.

She served as Sunday School Department Chair for junior high girls for many years, teaching with her sister Dorothy. Percy taught 16 year-old boys for 20 years. She and Percy led preaching and singing services in Assembly of God churches in Michigan, usually pastored by friends with whom they had grown-up. When young, and with their children, they led Vacation Bible Schools in Kentucky. Later they did the same with their grandchildren on Native American reservations in South Dakota and Montana. Much later they travelled with Ward Presbyterian Church to mission assignments in Detroit and Michigan. Percy travelled to Mali annually on mission until his death, once with a granddaughter.

She and Percy joined Ward Church in 1968. There she served on missions committees and later for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination.

In her 30’s Thelma began studies at Detroit Bible College graduating with one the highest GPA’s in their history. She continued her study of Biblical Greek in women’s Bible studies until her last year. She taught the mission Perspectives class. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from Eastern Michigan University and served as the Head Caseworker for Protestant Youth Organization, then the largest adoption agency in Michigan. Soon she became the Dean of Students at the college (later William Tyndale College), where she was named Alumna of the Year and served until her retirement.

Thelma lived alone for her last 12 years, travelling when able, enjoying her 5 great-children, until her stroke and later heart attack when she was then cared for by her daughter Jeanne in Marshall Michigan. She died surrounded by her family, sure of Savior. She died knowing she will see her mother, all her siblings, Percy, her mission partners and friends, and her foster children that passed before her.

Thelma is survived by her two children Jerry (Lois) and Jeanne (Kevin); six grandchildren Jason Holland, Rachel Holland, Sada Andrews (Matt Hopper), Brittany Miko, Allyson Miko, Carly Miko; five great grandchildren Caleb Ratnathicam, Nathan Ratnathicam, Rayne Ratnathicam, Silas Hopper, Amos Hopper; many nephews and nieces; many foster children and their families.

The Memorial Service is in the Chapel of Ward Presbyterian Church, 40000 Six Mile Road, Northville, Michigan 48168 11:00 AM Friday January 13, 2023; a lunch reception follows.

Blessed in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.     Psalm 116:15


Services

Memorial Service
Friday
January 13, 2023

11:00 AM
Ward Presbyterian Church Northville

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In Loving Memory Of

Thelma Andrews

March 20, 1933-January 2, 2023




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Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Ongoing
Online Event

profile

In Loving Memory Of

Thelma Andrews

March 20, 1933-January 2, 2023




Look inside to read what others have shared


Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   


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