Andrew “Andy” Schweitzer

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Andrew John Schweitzer, 87, died peacefully on September 26, 2020 surrounded by his loving family in Bismarck, ND.

A Mass of Christian burial and celebration of life will be held on Friday, October 2 at 1:00 p.m. at Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.  Burial will follow at St. Mary’s cemetery.  A livestream of the service will be available at cathedralparish.com.

Visitation will be from 5:00-7:00 p.m., followed by a Rosary and Vigil Service at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at the Bismarck Funeral Home.

Andy was born on March 10, 1933 in Fort Yates, ND to Eva Kuntz and Frank Schweitzer.  He was the oldest of four children.  He attended the St. Bernard’s Mission School, where he loved the Sisters who taught him. His family rented a small farm in Fort Yates, and Andy’s favorite daily activity was bringing in the milk cows on his little paint horse “Nibby”, riding bareback, with nothing but a halter.  He also enjoyed catching bullheads and carp in the creek that ran through the farm. He says his mom’s fried carp was the best fish he has ever had in his life.

When Andy was 11 the family moved to McKenzie, North Dakota.  Andy loved life on the prairie, and farming with his parents and siblings.  He enjoyed the wide-open spaces and would often hunt and fish for food for his family.  His favorite gamebird was sharp-tailed grouse.  He often said that “he felt he had the whole world at his doorstep”.  He loved watching sunrises and sunsets over the prairie.  He spent a lot of time working, playing, and riding horse with his brother Victor and his cousins.

Andy graduated from St. Mary’s Central High School in 1951. At SMCHS he especially loved Fr. Blaine Cook and the Sisters who taught him much about faith and life skills.  He was a standout lineman in football for the Saints and loved the rivalry among the local teams.   He also played football for Bismarck Junior College for one year.

After high school Andy continued to work on the family farm and participated in local rodeos.  He and his favorite horse Jackson competed in calf-roping.  He also rode bareback, saddle bronc, cow, and bull riding.  He perfected his cow and bull riding skills by riding his milk cow, Agnes, out of the barn every night.

On June 25, 1958 Andy married the love of his life, Margaret Alice (Margie) Schafer.   Andy often was heard saying, “Margie has always been my girl.”   They enjoyed dancing, playing cards, entertaining friends, traveling and welcoming any and all into their home.  Together Andy and Margie raised 10 children, and had several foster children.    Andy loved fishing and camping trips with his family and attending any and all of his children’s events, including sports, dance recitals, and musical concerts.   He was very proud of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and their accomplishments.  Andy’s message to his children was: “Stay close to Jesus, because I love you so much, and He loves you even more than I can.”

Andy had several careers throughout his life. He worked for the Bismarck Fire Department for 33 years.  He also took over the family farm and owned the family-operated Schweitzer Tree Service. Andy often commented that he has trimmed or cut down trees on almost every block in Bismarck.  After he retired from the Fire Department, he delivered flowers for Roberts Floral and worked with PRIDE, Inc as a Residential Caregiver for over 13 years. During this time, he established many special relationships with his clients.  At the age of 80, he decided that it might be a good idea to finally retire completely!!  “In his spare time”, he was also head coach for the Saints Kids Wrestling Club and led them to a state championship. He also coached junior high wrestling for the St. Mary’s Saints. He enjoyed the kids and touched the lives of many wrestlers.  He was very thrifty, could fix almost anything, and was truly a jack-of- every trade one could imagine.

Andy had a deep love of the Catholic faith and he lived to instill that in his family. His constant message of love and acceptance made a lasting mark on all who knew him.  The family home was a revolving door and everyone was welcome.  Andy loved people, loved life and lived every day to its fullest, always giving thanks and glory to God.   He often said, “We can have heaven right here on earth.”

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Margie, 10 children: Todd (Deb Dutchuk), Tammy (Tom) Munson, Tedi (Tom) Maher, Teresa (Salvador Quiejú), Toby (Cathy Sullivan), Trent (Amy Snyder), Tanya (Odell Brown), Travis (Trina Splonskowski), Tricia (Joanne Stelter) and Tanner; 32 grandchildren: Luke, Ginny (Hamilton), Mary (Jordan), Molly, Faith, and Ty Schweitzer; Jackie (Horn), Chelsea (Richter), Micah (Schmitz), and Josey Munson; Jake, Jessi (Stavn), and Toby Maher; Lexi (Nichols), Lindsey, Hallie, and Sommer Schweitzer; Madelyn, Victoria, Joseph, and Isabelle Schweitzer; Annalee and Ana Betty Kramer; Sam, Frank, Andrew, Annie Rose, Maggie, Sebastian,  and Christina Schweitzer; Savannah and Rhett Schweitzer; and 13 great-grandchildren; Benedict, Frankie, Liam, Emmett, Jack, Everly, Brooks; Laiken, Easton, Rockie, Elsie, Rubie, and Emmie; and sister, Joanne Smith,.

Andy is preceded in death by his parents, Eva and Frank; infant son, Thomas; brother, Victor; sister, Rosemary; and brother-in-law, Bernie Smith.

In leiu of flowers, memorials preferred to St.  Mary’s High School.  Please go to smchs.org or lightofchristschools.org to make a donation.

To view the Rosary and Parish Vigil, please click here.

To view the Mass of Christian Burial, please click here.