Johnny Andrew Single
The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

John Albert “Johnny” Andrew, Sr., who for 32 years led the direction of the newsroom as editor of The Stanly News and Press, died Saturday at Stanly Regional Medical Center. He was less than a week away from turning 79.

Andrew died just moments before Lifestyles Editor Jo Anne Efird’s column hit the streets Satur-day afternoon— a column in which Efird remembered how Andrew helped guide her when she began at the newspaper 40 years ago today.

“With Johnny Andrew as my patient and capable lead teacher, I soon began to understand and feel at ease with the differences in newspaper writing and regular English composition,” Efird wrote.

“For the first year I worked here, every word I wrote went across Johnny’s desk before it went to linotype. He carefully and patiently explained to me anything that needed changing to fit the paper’s style and why.

“The first thing he told me was, ‘My children read what I write and my mother reads what I write, and I write with that in mind.’”

Andrew always kept the county in mind.

An Albemarle native, Andrew graduated from Albemarle High in 1947. He then graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism in 1951 and a master of arts degree in 1960.

He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951-55, being honorably discharged with the rank of staff sergeant, intelligence operations specialist.

He was secretary of Press Printing Company and editor of The Stanly News and Press from 1956 to 1988, the year Press Printing Company sold the newspaper to Smith Newspaper Group. (The Stanly News and Press is now owned by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. - CNHI.)

Former Stanly News and Press features editor Fred T. Morgan was a member of Andrew’s staff.

Morgan remembered Andrew as a mild mannered man, one that was slow to anger but also firm in his beliefs and judgments.

Andrew was diplomatic when dealing with the public and very knowledgeable of journalism, Morgan said.

“Johnny insisted on good writing and accuracy in our reporting,” Morgan said.

“He frequently reminded us to never violate the public trust in the newspaper. ... In a small town like ours, the newspaper is the place to go for answers.”

In addition to Morgan and Efird, the staff included news editor George Weaver, who passed away in late May; sports editor Sam Andrew, Johnny’s brother; and J. W. “Hawkeye” Ivey, a regular columnist for the newspaper’s editorial page.

Bill Turner, retired production manager who continues to work part-time for The Stanly News and Press, began his career at the newspaper less than a year before Johnny Andrew.

“I started working at the newspaper for Raplh Andrew, father of Johnny and his two brothers, Sam and Tommy,” Turner said.

“Johnny was the youngest of the three, a personable type of person who made friends easily and featured many of them in his weekly column ‘Cracker Barrel.’ He got many ideas for his columns eating at the Donut Dinette and Whitley’s Luncheonette.

“I remember Johnny writing about his love of the old hymn, ‘Life’s Railway to Heaven.’ Then-Congressman Bill Hefner sang with a gospel group and on one occasion he saw Johnny in the audience and dedicated that song to him. I hope Johnny is enjoying his trip on ‘Life’s Railway to Heaven.’”

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