August 30, 1939 — February 7, 2024
A priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into a bar and say, “Andy, it’s time.” Andrew ‘Andy’ Bengert told his last joke on February 7, 2024, with his son Dennis by his side.
Andy was born in Holdfast, Saskatchewan on August 30, 1939, just a few short minutes after his twin brother Dennis. Not expected to live until the morning, Andy instead spent the next 84 years living life on his own terms and bringing the rest of us along for the ride. One of nine siblings, Andy lived most of his life in Kelowna, BC with a few misspent years in Vancouver, BC and Edmonton, AB. It was in Edmonton that Andy married and started a family with the arrival of his two children, Dennis and Joanne. After returning to Kelowna to raise his family, Andy started working at Western Star Trucks. He spent the next 26 years at Western Star telling dirty jokes while building both trucks and lifelong friendships. Andy loved babies and was Papa to four grandchildren: Taylor and Brayden (Dennis), and Sebastian and Mac (Joanne).
Andy was a man of contradictions; he was singular, one-of-a-kind, but also an identical twin. Save for Andy’s children, there is no one that meant more to Andy than his twin brother Dennis. As troublemaking boys and then as rebellious young men, the twins were inseparable and this close bond lasted Andy’s entire life. Even into their 80s, they couldn’t resist playing the “which twin is which” gag on anyone who would fall for it (And oh-so-many fell for it).
Everybody knew Andy as a jokester, a comedian, and the life of the party, but he was also generous and giving to those who needed it the most. He was known for his oversized personality, but his heart was even bigger. Family plans were often diverted after Andy picked up a hitchhiker and went out of his way (and everyone else’s) to deliver them to their destination with a few extra bucks in their pocket. Andy made a point of giving blood as often as they would let him. As a universal donor, he knew the importance, but always made it seem like he was only going for the cookies and orange juice. And every so often, he would befriend someone who seemed unfriendable – because if he didn’t, who else would.
As someone who became an adult in the late 1950s, Andy embodied the iconic “rock and roll rebel.” That era’s timeless music was an integral part of his life and he shared this love of music with his kids, often quizzing them to ensure they were well-versed in the songs of Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins and Gary Puckett. However, he was not beholden to his 50s rock and roll, Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon was also a staple in Andy’s home. But for all of the music that surrounded him, the man had absolutely no rhythm. His foot simply could not tap to the beat of any song, instead preferring to follow a trajectory that not even Andy could understand. And to experience him “dancing”, it is a wonder that he was so successful with the ladies.
The ladies. It is essential to mention Andy’s endless pursuit of the ladies. Andy possessed an unusual charm and he seemed unable to turn it off, occasionally to his detriment. For him, this paired well with his love of driving fast cars, including ones that didn’t belong to him. Trans Am, Corvette, Buick Skylark … Andy drove them all, pedal to the metal, and unsuspecting motorists were subjected to the full wrath of Andy’s temper if they dared to pass or otherwise slight him.
Beautiful women, fast cars and … puzzles? His mind worked as fast as the cars he loved to drive. When the Rubik’s Cube became popular in the early 1980s, Andy was the first one on the block to solve it. Then came the Rubik’s Ball, Triangle, Revenge and Dodecahedron. Andy could solve them all. In his later years, Andy’s daily routine included working on crossword puzzles, and he was happy to include others in this pursuit. When visiting, you would often find yourself sitting at his kitchen table with various dictionaries spread across it, trying to find a 4-letter word for a Shakespearean monarch. Andy was a renowned expert in four-letter words.
Andy held extremely strong opinions, and one of the most predominant was his absolute hatred of mayonnaise. He felt a special kinship with others who similarly despised its tangy zip, and once considered moving to a smaller town where he felt people would use less of it.
Andy. He never met a person that he wouldn’t help, a puzzle he couldn’t solve, or a skirt he wouldn’t chase. Eternity just got a lot more fun.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a blood donation to Canadian Blood Services.
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