OBITUARY – Dr. John Andrews Remembered

We are sorry to announce the passing  of our Life Vice-President,  John S Andrews,  MA, PHD, MCLIP, who died on Thursday 19 May 2016, aged eighty-nine, after a short illness.

John was the  second (and longest serving) President of the Librarians’ Christian Fellowship (as we were) and served in this role from 1982-1997.   Prior to his election as President he had been a Vice-President, and he became a Life Vice-President after retiring from the presidential role.

Before,  during  and after his presidency  John wrote many articles for our magazines and I remember that on occasions when I was short of material an unexpected article from John would arrive suddenly in the post, thus filling a large gap in the next issue.   He chaired many of our annual conferences and annual lectures and played a major role in preparing and leading the services of thanksgiving that we organised for many years as part of the conferences of the Library Association (now CILIP).

John  joined our Fellowship at a very early stage and was present at our first Conference in 1976.   He took a great interest in our Fellowship and attended many meetings, usually with his wife Penelope, often staying overnight in order to do so.   He spoke  to  our 1979 conference on the life of the scholar and librarian Sir Frederic Kenyon and to our 1982 Scottish conference on the social responsibility of the Christian librarian.  He was a great source of encouragement and inspiration.

Before his retirement John served as Sub-Librarian of the University of Lancaster from 1968-1989.   Prior to that he had been Assistant Librarian at the Brotherton Library in Leeds (1954-1963) and Sub-Librarian in charge of the Institute of Education Library (1963-68).

Highlights of John’s career at Lancaster included building up a special collection of Quaker materials and selecting books from the collection of the late Rev. Alec Vidler, a leading Anglo-Catholic theologian.

John’s PhD thesis on German hymns formed the basis of his book  A Study of German Hymns in Current English Hymnals (Peter Lang, 1981).   He had spent some time in Germany during two years of National Service and he was later to return to that country as  British Council Librarian (1971-1973)  on secondment from Lancaster.

John was for many years a well known member of the Christian Brethren, although in later years he attended a local Baptist Church.   His thanksgiving service was held at the Lancaster Baptist Church on Tuesday 31 May 2016.   He was a man of wide sympathies and interests and his circle of acquaintances and  friends included such people as the late New Testament scholar, Professor F.F. Bruce, who gave our annual lecture in 1982.  He contributed to various books including the first edition of the Lion Handbook The History of Christianity where he wrote on church music.

Readers will wish to pray for Penelope Andrews and other members  of his family at this sad time of loss.   He had a son, Brian, six grand-daughters, and two great-grandsons.

I am sure that we would all echo a tribute to John by his friend and university colleague Graham Rand:  “John will be fondly remembered by ex-colleagues and former students for the depth and breadth of his knowledge, his gentle humour and his humanity.  He will be greatly missed”.   I am grateful to Graham for some of the information included in this obituary tribute.

Graham Hedges, Hon. FCLIP, MCLIP, is Secretary of Christians in Library and Information Services.