William Franklin Andrews, 83, passed away on January 16, 2022.
A 1957 graduate of Franklin High School, Frank, as he was known, married the girl he had walked to school since she was in first grade, Carolyn Smithson, in 1959.
Born Dec. 11, 1938 to feuding parents who divorced and abandoned him before he was two years old, Frank was raised by his maternal grandparents Norman and Mona Sullivan who were Williamson County sharecroppers. Growing up with a family of 15 in a sharecropper shack and struggling for a place at the table gave Frank a longing and inner strength to excel. His grandmother had a deep and abiding faith in God. She instilled in Frank this faith which he has passed on to his children and grandchildren. His grandfather taught him as the last generation of mule-powered farmers to work hard, love your neighbor and always plow a straight row. Frank recalled separating the corn crop into cribs after harvest — a certain crib for the landlord, another for the Sullivans. He said, “Grandpa would let us play in the landlord’s crib, tamping it down, as we worked; but he never let us play in his own crib.”
After high school, Frank took college courses in creative writing and tried a number of jobs around Franklin, including pumping gas and slaughtering chickens, but found neither of those suited his interests.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army and trained in a mobile medical unit in Colorado before becoming disenchanted with military life and returning to Franklin at the first opportunity. Not wishing to go back to farming, he settled in at the Ford glass plant in Nashville, watching windshields pass by on an assembly line. Still not quite satisfied with his work, he attended a demonstration by a representative of WearEver Cookware offering generous commissions for cookware sales. Frank had a knack for cooking and soon found he had one for sales, too. He traded his job at the glass plant for the luck-and-pluck life of the traveling salesman, carrying cookware sets around the state and cooking for home-cooks with non-stick pans, common today but new and exciting to demonstrate then. He loved to demonstrate the ease of cooking with non-stick pans, making a neat omelet, having a friendly bite together with his prospect — and then wiping the cooled pan clean with anything at hand, in a second: no sticky cheese, no sticky eggs. Frank knew just the right moment to suggest to the over-worked home cook that it was time to do something for themselves for a change: “Stop scrubbing!” He made the sale most times, for years, and was chased away with a gun by a suspicious homeowner only once.
Frank later trained to be a Realtor, starting with Smithson Realty in the late 1960s. Frank founded several real estate companies including Frank Andrews Realty Co. and Church Street Realty and served under his son Victor as vice president of Andrews Appraisal Service, Inc. from its founding in January 1986 until his passing. Frank was past president of the Williamson County Association of Realtors and Realtor Emeritus with the WCAR, and past regional vice president of the Tennessee Association of Realtors. He trained many female Realtors in the 1970s and ’80s, at a time when local real estate was a male-dominated profession. Frank saw that women often make the final decision on a home purchase, so it seemed natural that buyers would be comfortable shopping with a female Realtor. He was proud to be a Realtor helping families find a fundamental thing: a home of their own. He once interviewed a couple about their needs and announced, “I know just the house you’re looking for.” They left the office and he drove the couple straight home to the surprised Carolyn and announced he was there to sell the house.
He was author of two books, “From Humble Beginnings: Songs of a Native Son” (2005) and “From Humble Beginnings: Tales of a Native Son” (2017), both published by his son Brent.
He was also a singer and songwriter who sang his song “Life Is A Shadow” at many funerals over the years. He was involved with the Pull-Tight Players Theatre where he loved to sing in the chorus for productions of “Camelot,” and also in the Optimist Club that brought youth sports leagues to Franklin in the 1970s. He spoke to many schools, organizations, and clubs around the region about poetry and growing up in Williamson County after the publication of his books. Frank was a member of Lighthouse Apostolic Church, Franklin.
He died of complications from pneumonia, after beating a coronavirus infection.
Frank was preceded in death by his grandparents; his mother, Edith Sullivan; and his sister, Wilma Jean Andrew Rittenberry. Also, his beloved in-laws, the Rev. Walter Lee and Ovella Smithson, who had a strong positive influence on his life.
He is survived by Carolyn; children Victor (Suzanne) Andrews and Brent (Ginny) Andrews, all of Franklin; Becky (Chris) Steere, of Aspen, Colo.; adopted niece, Beth (Lloyd) Nelson, Northfield, Minn.; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews, friends, and extended relatives.
A funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home with Jimmy Smithson officiating. Visitation will be from 4:00-7:00 PM Tuesday and one hour prior to the service. Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Price Stallard, Will Andrews, Chris Steere, Charlie Steere, Campbell Andrews, Bill Crossan, and Filipe Vieira da Rocha will serve as pallbearers.
WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 615-794-2289 www.williamsonmemorial.com