Eat, drink and be merry. Preferably at the beach.
For Angela Andrich, this was what life was about, her family said. And the longtime Bay Shore resident and school district worker lived it to its fullest.
Andrich died at home Monday from brain cancer. She was 57.
Born Angela Graci in 1956, Andrich was raised in Deer Park and graduated from Deer Park High School. In May 1980, she married Steve Andrich and soon the couple settled in Bay Shore, in a house where they would remain for the next 30 years, raising three children.
For nearly two decades, Andrich worked as a technology assistant for the Bay Shore School District, running a computer lab for K-2 students at Mary G. Clarkson Elementary School.
"She absolutely loved her job," said her daughter, Lauren Andrich of Bay Shore, a Newsday employee. "She loved being with the kids, even though they always mispronounced her name. One called her Mrs. Sandwich."
Andrich loved the beach, her daughter said; it was "her favorite place above all else." As soon as Memorial Day hit, every Sunday Andrich would help prepare elaborate picnics and then would head out to the Sore Thumb beach in Babylon Town with extended family and friends. "She just loved being around everybody. She really was the start of every party."
Living with longtime prankster Andrich meant staying on your toes, her daughter said. A nice hot shower could suddenly take an unexpected turn when the cup of cold water Andrich had balanced above the showerhead fell down on you, she said. Andrich was known to start water balloon and pillow fights, her daughter said, and at parties, she would likely be the first one to start lobbing food across the table.
"She was notorious for putting rubber bands around the faucets so they would spray water at you," she said.
But for all her cheeky fun, Andrich was also the first one to step in when somebody needed help, her daughter said, whether it meant taking someone in or helping kick-start a fundraising drive. An impromptu effort to put together baskets of pink items for breast cancer awareness yielded a slew of baskets and nearly $2,000 to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip.
"She never did anything small," her daughter said. "Her little bit would go a long way."
In addition to her daughter, Andrich is survived by her husband, Steve; sons Justin and Steven of Bay Shore; sisters Joanne Campos of Palm Coast, Fla., Fran Guido of Saratoga, N.Y., and Linda Virgilio of Deer Park; and brother Frank Graci of Lindenhurst.
A wake will be held Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Albrecht, Bruno & O'Shea Funeral Home in East Islip.
A funeral will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in West Islip, followed by cremation. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking donations be made to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.