Friends say man killed in crash was very loved and a friend to all

Friends say man killed in crash was very loved and a friend to all
Photos courtesy of Kari Connor.

A deadly Spokane crash took a dearly loved man away from the community Friday night.

Now, some of the friends he’s had for decades are remembering his kindness, spirit, and friendship.

Kari Conner first met Andrew Vathis about 15 years ago at the Albertons on E. 57th.

“He called me stylin’ Kari Conner,” Conner said. “Andrew is one of those people that is going to make you giggle and smile because he was just so happy.”

His smile was one many people remember from the 26 years he worked as a courtesy clerk at Albertsons. Rick Chase met him when they started working together at the grocery store all those years ago.

“There was no such thing as a stranger to him. He was a friend to everybody,” Chase said.

Vathis was a team leader during Hoopfest when he competed on the Ben & Jerry’s team. Conner said his kindness even showed on the court.

“If they had a good shot, he’d go up and hug the opposing team and that was what Hoopfest was all about. That’s why we kept doing it year after year,” Conner said.

Hoopfest was something Chase looked forward to all year, according to his friends.

“Every year, all he could talk about as Hoopfest and he just absolutely loved and looked forward to Hoopfest every single year,” Chase said.

He loved most sports, according to Conner. She said he’d never forget if you promised to take him to a hockey game.

Now that he’s gone, his mother and his friends are left with memories of the man they loved so much. Tributes are pouring in across social media, too.

I’m so sad to hear this! Andrew stopped at my yard sale once & bought bags of stuffed animals that he wanted to give to charity to help kids in crisis. He was such a nice man. https://t.co/2YdULcmanu

— SarahLynn (@pillowfarmer) January 26, 2019

Andrew was a staple on our trips to Albertsons, he always brought smiles to our firefighters. He will be missed https://t.co/yhbbkvNEmY

— Spokane FD8 Firefighters (@IAFFL3711) January 26, 2019

Oh no! This is heartbreaking news. Many fond memories of conversations with Andrew when we lived in that neighborhood. He will be missed. � https://t.co/VZallN71VL

— Holly Jones � (@TheHollyJones) January 26, 2019

“People would see him, you know, picking up the carts and he was friendly to everybody and he’d remember you every time you shopped,” Conner said. “So, I think he brought a light to the Albertsons and to the South Hill.”

The Albertsons store he worked at released this statement following his death:

“We are devastated about the passing of our dearly loved friend and co-worker, Andrew Vathis, on Friday evening.

Many of us were lucky to have him as a constant in our life as he has worked in local Albertsons stores since 1994.

Andrew brought energy, positivity, and humor everywhere he went and quickly became an icon in the community. His passing has deeply affected us all and no words can express how much we will miss him. We are lucky to have called him our friend and co-worker for the 24 years we worked with Andrew.

We will announce details regarding the memorial once we hear more from Andrew’s family.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Andrew’s family and friends.

Sincerely,
The Albertsons 57th and Regal Team”

Conner said a group of friends are organizing a memorial for Vathis. KXLY 4 will share those plans once they are released.

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