Mandala, Andrew

Passed: July 12, 2015


Andrew (“Andy”) Robert Mandala, 76, passed away at his home in Goodyear, Arizona on July 12, 2015, after a very brief illness and just two days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His children were blessed to spend his final days with him, and he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family.

Andy was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1938, the youngest child of Andrew and Frances Mandala. He grew up as “Bobby” in a large extended Italian American family in Brooklyn, and loved his cousins like brothers. He was a proud graduate of James Madison High School in Brooklyn, after which he took night classes at Brooklyn College while working full time.

Andy was a great believer in the American Dream, firmly and rightly believing himself to be an example of its promise. He knew by seventh grade that he wanted to be a journalist, and doggedly pursued that goal. As a young man and to the great chagrin of his father he quit his job as a bank teller to take a much lower paying job at the New York Daily Mirror. He began his journalism career as a copy boy at the Mirror, working his way up to a position as a reporter. He moved on to the Bond Buyer, a finance trade publication, working first as a reporter and later an editor.

Work brought Andy to Washington, D.C. in the early 1960s. While still working full time at the Bond Buyer and later for the National Savings and Loan League, he founded Mortgage Commentary Publications, a financial newsletter publishing group.

It was in Washington that he met and married the love of his life, Cheryl Irwin Cason. Andy and Cheryl were partners in both love and business, growing Mortgage Commentary from a single weekly newsletter with 18 subscribers into a multinational enterprise that in 1986 became part of Thomson Reuters publishing. Andy was a visionary in business, taking calculated risks and pursuing crazy dreams with great zeal and great success. He was also a crackerjack reporter who took tremendous pride in his craft.

Living first in Chevy Chase and later on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, one of Andy’s great loves was boating on the Chesapeake Bay. From 1979 until last fall, Andy and Cheryl boated all over the Chesapeake on the Raggedy Ann III, a 1965 Chris Craft Constellation that he lovingly maintained thanks to an encyclopedic knowledge of the vessel and an infamous affection for varnish. He loved being out on the Bay, and would often remark on calm sunny days that, “today would be the day to go.”

Throughout his life Andy cared deeply about faith, fairness, and community. While living in Chevy Chase, he and Cheryl were active members of Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder for many years. During that time he and Cheryl founded a community service program through the church to bring home-cooked meals to local homeless shelters.

After they retired Andy and Cheryl travelled extensively and danced wherever and whenever they could. He loved being where he could look out over the water, with Hawaii long holding a special place in his heart.

In 1998 Andy and Cheryl bought a winter home in Goodyear, Arizona, where they built a wonderful life filled with laughter, dancing, sunshine, golf and softball. Andy became an active and cherished member of the local softball community, first as a player and later as a coach. He was known and loved for his enthusiasm, his love of the game, and most of all his sportsmanship.

Above and beyond his tremendous successes in business and community life, Andy’s family was his true pride and joy. In addition to Cheryl, his wife of 45 years, Andy is survived by his son and daughter-in-law Larry and Juli Mandala of Plano, Texas; daughter and son-in-law Liz and Jon Bernreuter of Phoenix, Arizona; son and daughter-in-law Drew and Lisa Mandala of Miami Beach, Florida; and daughter and son-in-law Cheryl Mandala and Dr. Terry Kelly of Anchorage, Alaska. He is also survived by five wonderful grandchildren whom he loved enormously – Jackson and Harrison Bernreuter of Phoenix; Mia and Dylan Mandala of Miami Beach; and Elias Kelly of Anchorage. Andy was fiercely proud of all of his children, and dearly loved being a grandpa, a position at which he excelled.

Andy was an impassioned storyteller, a skilled and merciless editor, and a giver of great advice. He was also terrifically funny. His was a house full of love and laughter, and his life a template for living well. The day before he died, he told his children, “I’ve had a wonderful life.” And he had.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Mandala Scholarship at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, 555 N. Central Avenue, Suite 302, Phoenix, AZ 85004. A memorial service will be held this fall in Goodyear, Arizona.

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Thompson Funeral Chapel