Richard Andrews

Memorial Service

2:00 pm
Friday, May 17, 2024
Chapel of the Cross
304 E. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

Obituary of Richard Nigel Lyon Andrews

Please share a memory of Richard to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

Pete Andrews, beloved son, brother, spouse, father, grandfather, teacher, mentor, professor, singer, and folk dancer, passed away unexpectedly on May 5, 2024 at the age of 79. In 1944, Pete, the eldest of 3 sons, was born to the Rev. and Mrs. Nigel Lyon Andrews, in Newport, Rhode Island. Pete grew up and attended schools in Newport, RI, Syracuse, NY, New Haven, and Old Lyme, CT. He spent his summers swimming, sailing, biking, picking blueberries, and fishing in Nantucket, Cape Cod, and Jamestown, RI. Pete graduated from St. George’s School in 1962. He attended Yale University from 1962-1966, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a minor in English. While in college, Pete sang with the Yale Russian Chorus. In October, 1963, he helped Yale students organize a Freedom Vote rally in Hattiesburg for the Mississippi Mock Election. This was a precursor to the Freedom Summer of 1964.

After college, Pete served in Nepal with the Peace Corps from 1966-1968. Participating as a linguist in an agricultural group, Pete helped teach farmers how to plant Mexican Wheat, a species which only requires 12 inches of rain to grow in the dry season. The use of Mexican Wheat over the years has significantly contributed to Nepal’s food supply. An interesting story from his stay in Nepal was that Pete assisted in rescuing a cow from a well. Cows are sacred in Hindu culture, and Pete was the only person in his village who could swim. Six months later in Narayanghat, Pete translated pesticide warnings from English to Nepalese because the farmers had never worked with pesticides before. While he was there, he joined a Nepalese cultural group which presented poetry, songs, and plays.

After returning from the Peace Corps, Pete started a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill. In the fall of 1968, he met his future bride Hannah at the International Folk Dance Club. Pete and Hannah were married the following spring on June 7, 1969.

Pete completed his Masters in 1970 and a PhD in City and Regional Planning at UNC in 1972. Pete, Hannah, and their newborn, Sarah, moved to Ann Arbor, MI, where Pete taught for 9 years on the faculty of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources. While there, he helped raise his children, enjoyed folk dancing with his wife, and performed in Gilbert and Sullivan shows.

In July, 1981, Pete and his family returned to UNC-Chapel Hill where he taught for 34 years until June, 2015. Pete served as a Professor and a Chair of the Department of Public Policy, UNC College of Arts and Sciences. He was also a Professor in the following departments and programs: City and Regional Planning, Environmental Sciences and Engineering of the Gillings School of Global Public Health, the Environment, Ecology and Energy Program, and the Carolina Institute for the Environment. From 2004 to 2009, he held the first Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Professorship in Public Policy. From 1997-2000, Pete served as the Chair for UNC’s faculty.

Pete used an interdisciplinary approach to improve environmental policy. According to his friend and colleague Daniel Gitterman, “Pete challenged his students to critically evaluate arguments and recognize the complexities and frequent paradoxes in public policy issues, all the while working towards creative and constructive solutions.” According to Gitterman, one of the best examples of this was “in Pete’s response to UNC’s Nike controversy” beginning in 1997. A group of students challenged UNC for selling “it’s good name” [in exchange] for athletic contributions to a high-profile company who was accused of exploitative labor practices in third-world countries. Pete responded by creating a seminar course on the economics, ethics, and environmental and labor impacts of globalization, using Nike as a case study. This was taught in collaboration with colleagues from Anthropology and the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Students read about the complexities of global manufacturing and trade, followed by face-to-face discussions with senior Nike managers, their critics in the global arena, senior UNC administrators, and scholarly experts on key issues involved in the controversy. The course was ultimately featured in a segment of a documentary on ESPN. Nike’s CEO Phil Knight attended the final class session to hear the students’ recommendations. In a speech to the National Press Club several weeks later, Knight credited UNC students with several policy changes at Nike.

Between 1999 and 2020, Pete wrote 3 versions of his book Managing the Environment, Managing Ourselves. This book provides a comprehensive history of environmental policy spanning 4 centuries, which has helped policy makers, scholars, and students better understand the global, environmental challenges we face today. In 2015, Pete was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an honor bestowed by the Governor of North Carolina for a record of exceptional public service to the people of North Carolina. One way in which Pete’s legacy lives on at Carolina, is through the Richard N. L. (Pete) Andrews Environmental Policy Fund. This Fellowship is awarded annually to a rising senior majoring in public policy, environmental studies, or environmental sciences engaged in research and/or service on solutions to local, state, national, and/or global environmental policy challenges.

Throughout his career, Pete made positive impacts in environmental science and policy at the local, national, and international levels. His influence made a difference in places throughout the world including North Carolina, United States, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Thailand.

Pete’s love for people, cultures, and the world were paramount in his life and a driving force behind his constant engagement with family, friends, colleagues, and causes. He was an advocate for communities great and small. He loved to travel with members of his family, and exposed them to different cultures in Europe, Thailand, Nepal, and Africa. In church, he served as an usher, a reader, a vestry member, an advocate, and a Lay Eucharistic Minister. His service to others was driven by his love of humanity and his faith. He was a devoted member of the Choral Society of Durham (Durham Choral Society) from 1990 to 2024.

After officially retiring in 2015, Pete created the 3rd edition of his book which was published in 2020. He held several leadership positions which included President of UNC Chapel Hill’s Retired Faculty Association, and Vice President and President of the Residence Association at Carolina Meadows. As the isolation of COVID lifted, Pete greeted residents and staff with a smile, listened to their stories, helped them feel included, and served as an advocate for their ideas. In 2023, he helped co-create and perform in Carolina Meadows first musical, Movin’. He continued to sing, travel, and enjoy the thrills of being a proud father and grandfather through his visits and adventures with his family.

Pete is survived by his loving wife, Hannah, his brothers, Paul and John, and John’s wife Eleanor Howard. He is also survived by his children Sarah and her husband Roland, Chris and his wife Emily Harville, and his grandchildren, Amber and Nicholas Roehrich, Charles and James Andrews, and Marjorie Harville.

A funeral service will be held (with burial) at Chapel of the Cross, 304 E. Franklin St. Chapel Hill, NC 27514 on Friday, May 17, 2024 at 2:00 PM. Family, friends, colleagues, and fellow singers are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Richard N. L. (Pete) Andrews Environmental Policy Fund, The Chapel of the Cross organ fund, or CORA (the Chatham OutReach Alliance Food Pantry) in his name.

Walker's Funeral Home- Chapel Hill is respecfully serving the Andrews family. 

Share Your Memory of