Andrea Kathleen Schroeder (née MacIntosh) passed away Friday, October 1. She was 57 years old. In the final hours of her life, she said she wanted to be remembered as “an ordinary person who had an extraordinary life.”
As tributes that poured in just hours after she passed made clear, Andrea was anything but ordinary: she was honorable, honest, funny, genuine, insightful, pragmatic, stubborn, fiercely passionate; always willing to lend a hand to those in need and a relentless crusader for the underdog. Andrea harnessed her talents to better the lives of others and impacted more lives than she will ever know.
A warrior to the very end, Andrea battled her rare form of stomach cancer with grit, determination, grace and her trademark humor. She was an inspiration and the embodiment of courage.
Andrea is survived by her steadfast wingman, husband of 30 years and the love of her life, Mark, whom she met on a blind date; their children, Maggie (fiancé William Banks), Luke and Grace; and their 9-year-old ‘puppy’, Boo, all of whom she loved ferociously and were the center of her enormous heart.
She also leaves behind her deeply proud parents, Dr. Robert Bruce and Martha MacIntosh; siblings Jack, Jeane (Tom Parker) and Katie (Dylan Brown); sisters-in-law Nancy, Diane (Matt Downey) and Cathy (Rick Arndt); and her godparents, Dr. John and Yvonne Meara. She was Aunt Andy to Allison, Erin, Molly and Cameron MacIntosh, Kate Parker and Scotland Brown, and considered them almost as brilliant and talented as her own kids. Andrea was preceded in death by her in-laws, Dr. Ray and Joan Schroeder, whom we know greeted her at the gates with a cold drink.
Born in Detroit, Andrea grew up in Farmington Hills, graduating Farmington High School in 1982 and Miami University (yes, in Ohio) in 1986. She went on to become a teacher, businesswoman, entrepreneur and longtime civic leader.
She was universally known for her quick, wry wit, razor-sharp sense of humor and an innate klutziness that provided endless laughs. She loved classic films and daylong binges of what her family called “Mom’s grey movies.” She spontaneously belted out showtunes in supermarket lines and legislative meetings. She loved Jimmy Stewart, 70s pop and 90s country, beer and coney dogs and had a lifelong obsession with the British royal family. An adventuress and avid traveler – albeit with a pathological fear of driving across bridges – Andy fulfilled her goal of visiting all 50 states by her 50th birthday.
To her family, Andrea was both the “fun mom” – loading everyone into the car on a whim at dawn to swim in each of the five Great Lakes by sunset – and strict disciplinarian, regularly and proudly grounding all three kids because “I warned them.”
Andrea loved her state, especially Northern Michigan and the city of Detroit, of which she could give a more comprehensive tour than any professional. She was genuinely committed to Clarkston, Independence Twp. and her larger local community. Serving as a state representative – and as Michigan’s first female Majority Whip in decades – was the honor of her life and she worked tirelessly and across party lines for her constituents. Of her many bills that became law, Andrea was most proud of “Save Our Students,” requiring Michigan schools to include suicide hotline information on student IDs.
The Schroeder-MacIntosh family is profoundly grateful to Dr. Philip Philip and Dr. Steve Kim, who gave Andrea hope and a lifeline where others saw none, and to the compassionate Detroit Karmanos nurses and hospital team.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you live like Andy: take chances, be a mentor, thank a teacher, give back to your community, right a wrong, swim in all the lakes, visit all the states, laugh until your sides hurt and tears stream down your face, always chose Lafayette Coney Island over American, Go Green! Go White! and pray for the Detroit Tigers.
Most importantly: Make a difference. Be extraordinary.
Contributions can be made in Andrea’s name to: Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute “Cancer Research Fund” (c/o Contributions - VE01FS, 4100 John R, Detroit, MI 48201) and the Optimist Club Foundation of Clarkston (P. O. Box 891 Clarkston, MI 48347) where Andrea’s family will establish a student scholarship in her name.
Visitation is Sunday, October 10, from 3 to 9 pm. at Coats Funeral Home, 8909 Dixie Hwy., Clarkston. Andrea’s funeral mass is Tuesday, October 12, at 11 am at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church, 5481 Dixie Hwy., Waterford Twp. There will not be a visitation or service on Monday, Oct. 11
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute "Cancer Research Fund"
c/o Contributions - VE01FS 4100 John R Detroit, Michigan 48201, Detroit MI 48201
Optimist Club Foundation for Clarkston
PO Box 891, Clarkston MI 48347