The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of former employee Andrew Konnerth Jr.
Andrew departed this life on February 7, 2021, which was also the anniversary of his 63-year marriage to his late wife Jean M. Konnerth. He passed away peacefully at Crystal Lake Rehabilitation in Pascoag, RI at the age of 99, due to complications from COVID-19. He leaves behind his children Karen Konnerth of New Orleans, LA, Lynn Konnerth of Stoneham, MA, and Andrew Konnerth III of North Smithfield, RI; his loving grandchildren Flora (Shepherd) Petterson of New Orleans, LA, Kyle Shepherd of New Orleans LA, Dora Maxwell of Fredericksburg, VA, Ellen Maxwell of Stoneham, MA, and Michael D. Konnerth of Pascoag, RI and 8 great-grandchildren.
Born in Erie, PA, on January 19, 1922, Andrew was raised in central Florida. His father, Andrew Konnerth, was a skilled woodworker from Saxon Transylvania, his mother Alice Rubine Skinner, a teacher. He enlisted in the US Navy and served from 1942-1946. Married in 1947, he studied biology at Southern Methodist University and earned a Master’s degree from Boston University. His professional career spanned from Manhattan Project, Wards Scientific, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Andrew eventually retired from Tufts University Veterinary Program. Post-retirement he and Jean spent many years, restoring whale skeletons for museum displays, including the Boston Aquarium, Baltimore National Aquarium, Nantucket Whaling Museum, New Bedford Whaling Museum, and Hawaii Maritime Center.
Andrew began his career at WHOI in April 1964 as Curator in Biology (Research Associate) under John Ryther. He was promoted to Senior Research Associate in 1975 and maintained his Curator title. He worked at WHOI until March of 1979.
Andrew remained a life-long avid reader with interests ranging from mythology, animal behavior, cartoons and other humor, politics, and his favorite poem, Omar Khayyam’s The Rubaiyat. He also maintained a woodworking bench and tools for a wide variety of projects. He was an adventurous and enthusiastic cook who enjoyed his culinary creations and he loved telling stories of his life experiences, of which he had a truly remarkable memory.
Andrew and Jean were dedicated to life-long learning and enjoyed traveling together, especially the “blue roads” on any map. They loved the adventure of moving to new locales and making new friends and lived in New York City, Dallas, Texas, Pittsburgh, PA, Penfield, NY, Sudbury, West Falmouth, Woods Hole, Weston, and Mattapoisett, MA, and Albuquerque, NM. and Andrew spent 10 years in New Orleans after Jean’s death near daughter Karen before returning to New England, near Lynn and Drew.
Donations may be made in Andrew’s memory to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, or any public library.
Information for this obituary is from the O’Keefe-Wade Funeral Home website.