Andrea Gambill, 84, of Chesapeake, Va., and formerly Fishers, Ind., passed away peacefully in the presence of family on Monday, April 1, 2019. Compassionate and caring, she exemplified the positive qualities of a true Christian. Andrea was born Marjorie Andrea Friis on February 18, 1935, in Detroit, Mich. Some of Andrea’s most extraordinary traits were her remarkable compassion, empathy, and gift of communication – especially writing. Following the death of her 16-year-old daughter, Judy, in 1976, she channeled her grief into addressing a void in the lives of he bereaved. In 1977, Andrea formed one of the earliest U.S. chapters of The Compassionate Friends (TCF) network in Indianapolis, Ind. She helped establish the first National Board of Directors for TCF, where she served as secretary and then vice president until 1982. After leading her own TCF chapter for nearly eleven years, Andrea’s dream of starting a “support group in print” in the form of a national magazine became a reality. In 1987, the first issue of “Bereavement – a magazine of hope and healing” rolled off the press on November 13 – Judy’s birthday.
In addition to Bereavement magazine, Andrea’s years of grief support to the bereaved, conference planning, writing and speaking gave her the education and insight to write many booklets, including two for Abbey Press. She also spoke extensively around the country to churches, civic groups, support groups, medical/hospital groups, schools and funeral directors. A few of her other notable works include the booklet Tinsel and Tears (a guide to getting through the holidays) and Do and Don’t Suggestions for the Bereaved and Their Caregivers. Andrea wrote and later gifted to the TCF National Office, Suggestions for Medical Personnel. In recognition of her outstanding service to others and community enrichment, Andrea was honored with the American Institute for Public Service Jefferson Award.
After residing in Carmel, Ind., for 23 years, Andrea and her husband, Jim, moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1992. While she loved the beauty of Colorado, Andrea’s love of family and friends was greatest. As such, Andrea sold Bereavement Publishing to a colleague and returned to Indiana in 2003. Andrea’s retirement was short-lived. Following Jim’s death in 2004, her long-time friends, who owned Centering Corporation in Omaha, Neb., asked her to be the editor of their new magazine, Grief Digest, working from her home in Fishers, Ind. Additionally, so people, including the bereaved and their caregivers, could more easily find the resources they needed all at one online location, Andrea created a website called GoodGriefResources.com. Some of these resource categories included books, CDs, videos, support groups, counselors, camps, conferences, training opportunities, and memorial products. Andrea was certainly not “all business” to be sure! She had an excellent sense of humor and was able to see the best qualities in nearly everyone she met. You would be hard-pressed to find a bigger animal lover than Andrea. Throughout her life, she counted many cats and dogs as family members, Even when she did not have pets of her own, she also fostered pets and did pet sitting in her home.
At her request, Andrea’s service to others lives on through her body donation to Eastern Virginia Medical School. A celebration of life service will be held April 6 at 4:00 p.m. at Liberty Live
church, 1801 Sara Dr. Chesapeake, Va., with visitation at 2:30 p.m. A second service will be held in Indianapolis on June 29 at 11:00 a.m., with visitation at 9:30 a.m. at Heartland Church, 9665 Hague Rd, Indianapolis, Ind. In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to the ASPCA (www.aspca.org) or the Patient Advocate Foundation (www.paf.org).