Andrea 'Ande' Simmons Thomas

Profile Updated: December 14, 2009
Andrea 'Ande' Simmons
Residing In: Newark, DE USA
Spouse/Partner: James (Jim) Thomas
Children: Kirsti, born 1968
Will, born 1969
Yes! Attending Reunion
Grandchildren and date of birth:

Eleanor, June 2002


Jim and I are in our 20th year of international student ministry at the University of Delaware. Mother lived with us from 2003 until her death in July 2008 (2 weeks before her 100th birthday)

In June 2008, through amazing circumstances, I located the sole survivor of the 1946 military plane crash in which my father and 5 others were killed. Frank Avry sent me copies of the accident report and his account of what happened that day. He also confirmed that what I had been told was a possibility 30+ years ago was indeed true--that the wreckage was still on the side of Lebo Peak in the Crazy Mountains, near Livingston, MT and he had an aerial photo that he took from a helicopter in Aug 2008 to prove it. The wreckage was clearly visible. In Oct 2008, Jim and I flew to Idaho to meet Frank. He had a "goodie" box of things retrieved at the crash site. In it I found a major's gold leaf shoulder insignia which Frank gave me. My Dad was 1 of 2 majors on the plane (so I have 1 of 4). Last July, Jim and I went to Montana and hiked 4 hours up the the side of Lebo Peak, around boulders, over fallen trees, across a rock slide to the site (There was no established trail). While there, one of the men guiding us, was digging in the dirt and found a lapel pin--small wings with a vertical propeller through it (officer, army air corps--there were 4 officers on the plane, so I have 1 of 8). The last photo I have of my Dad in his uniform, taken about a month before the crash, he is wearing 2 of them. All this 63 years after the crash and many people being there and retrieving things from the site. I also met a retired rancher in the area who, as a 9 year old, was at the site in 1946 with his father as the army team was recovering the bodies. Since returning home, I have received 2 more lapel pins from someone who had found them at the crash site. I still get goosebumps talking about this. This is but a brief synopsis of what has happened the last 18 months. 12/14/2009

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Jan 06, 2020 at 4:36 AM
Jan 06, 2019 at 4:33 AM
Jan 06, 2018 at 4:33 AM
Jan 06, 2016 at 12:21 PM

Happy birthday, Ande!

Jan 06, 2016 at 4:33 AM
Jan 06, 2015 at 4:33 AM