Retired Maury County schoolteacher, Sammie June Larkins Andrews, 83, died Monday, July 27, at NHC HealthCare Columbia, with her loving family able to spend precious days at her side. The family will hold a memorial service in her honor at a later date.
Born May 23, 1937, in Bruceton, Tennessee, Sammie was the daughter of the late B.C. “Red” Larkins and the late Sammie Moore Larkins. A 1955 graduate of Bruceton/Hollow Rock Central High School, Sammie attended David Lipscomb University in Nashville, and is a 1959 graduate of Bethel College in McKenzie, Tennessee. She earned a master’s degree in 1974 and her Master’s/Plus 30 in 1991, respectively from Middle Tennessee State University.
Named Maury County Teacher of the Year in 1980, Sammie taught elementary school for 33 years. Her lifelong dedication to education included her first teaching job in Apopka, Florida, where she taught fourth grade from 1960-1965. After moving to Columbia, Tennessee, Sammie served as a Kindergarten teacher at Macedonia Elementary from 1967-1969, followed by nearly two decades teaching fourth grade at Brown Elementary School from 1969-1988. Sammie began teaching at McDowell Elementary in 1988, where she was named the school’s Teacher of the Year in 1990, finally retiring from McDowell in 1996.
Sammie was a charter member of the local chapter of the Alpha Delta Kappa International Honorary Teacher’s sorority, serving a term as president. She also belonged to the Tennessee Education Association (TEA), the National Education Association (NEA), and served as a secretary of the Maury County Education Association.
Always up for a challenge, Sammie’s career included various jobs during the “off” summer months. Her biggest adventure to date was taking on the job of Head Cook in 1975 for the Broken Arrow Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she lived with her two children. In the late 70’s she served as a freelance copywriter for WKRM Radio in Columbia, Tennessee; she also served as a seasonal employee at Columbia’s Oak Park swimming pool; from 1978 to 1985, she was a unit secretary for Maury Regional Hospital – where she continued to volunteer after retiring; and she served as a part-time employee in the late 90’s for Dwaine Beck at Edward Jones and Associates.
An avid reader and animal lover, Sammie also enjoyed traveling to interesting and diverse destinations. But her favorite place on earth was “the house on the hill” she shared with her husband, John, for nearly 35 years. There she tended to her beautiful flowers and her much-loved Springer Spaniels, while anxiously awaiting the hummingbirds that arrived like clockwork each year.
Survivors include her husband whom she married May 11, 1985, John K. Andrews of Columbia; children Ben Bayless (Jennifer), Meg Bayless Lockhart (Les), and stepson Jimmy Andrews (Julie) of Columbia; step-grandchildren Lindsey Andrews (Josh) of Lyles; Nick Andrews (Jennifer) of Chattanooga; Ashton Andrews (Whitney), Trenton Andrews (Hope), Gracie Andrews Pitts (Kyle), Spenser Andrews Cheatham (Benton), and Allye Leland, all of Columbia; Cam Andrews of Florida; and CPT Porter Lockhart (Jillian) and Payton Lockhart of Colorado. One of her greatest joys was her large, blended family that included numerous step-great-grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
In addition to her parents and an infant brother, she was preceded in death by her stepson John Carl “Johnny” Andrews (Delilah) of Columbia, Tennessee.
Honorary Pallbearers will be Jeromatris Cooper, Deon Cooper, Dr. Bob Myers, Ashton Andrews, Trenton Andrews, Nick Andrews, Cam Andrews, Les Lockhart, Porter Lockhart, Payton Lockhart, Kyle Pitts, Josh McCrory and Benton Cheatham; along with the faculties and staff of McDowell and Brown Elementary Schools; former co-workers at Maury Regional Same Day Surgery, the Maury Regional Auxiliary, and the Ayers-Whitney Fellowship Class of the First United Methodist Church.
The family would like to extend their appreciation to Dr. Paul Perryman, Dr. Charles Ball, Dr. Susan Gray, Spenser Andrews Cheatham, Brittany Gant, Tonya Miller, Carrissa Stone, Noelle Hunter, and the numerous caregivers and nursing staff at NHC HealthCare Columbia, Caris Hospice, and the Bridge of Columbia – their care and compassion will always be remembered.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Maury County – an organization Sammie loved and supported for many years.