Deceased April 27, 2009
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Andrew Steele had a way of crashing into your life. One of the first things he did at Amherst was break his collarbone during Ultimate Frisbee. Stumbling back into James, he fell into Carisa Olivo’s room and begged her help in finding Health Services—they ended up dating for the rest of freshman year.
Andrew’s room was the de facto social club. With his door always open, Andrew would be in his room with a rotating cast until the wee hours, laughing, sometimes dancing and always listening to the hundreds of reggae and dancehall albums he kept in milk cartons. If not for Andrew, I would not have my minute knowledge of Shabba Ranks, Yellowman or Bob Marley.
Although raised in California, Andrew always yearned for European life. A high school year in Florence led to an Amherst semester in Paris. Supplied with the prerequisite baguettes, brie and red wine (we thought we were unique), his Paris apartment was a warm—and cramped—gathering point. And I will never forget when our train through Spain was delayed for hours when a Basque separatist group blew up the tracks down the line. For the rest of our Amherst career, we’d look at each other, shrug, and say “bombas” whenever something was delayed.
After Amherst, Andrew’s marketing career took him from Northampton to Boston and then to San Francisco—to eBay. When eBay offered to transfer him to its international division, he moved to Berlin in 2005. A little less than two years later, Andrew stepped back from corporate life. He traveled, studied French and made the first steps toward a writing career. But Andrew’s next stage was cut short with his death in Berlin on April 27. Like so many of his friends, I’d stayed in touch. But I’ll always wish we could have hung out one more time, listening to dancehall songs as Andrew explained the trivia of each.
Ian Mount ’92