Andrea Margaret (Bannach) Spears passed away peacefully on a snowy spring morning, March 24th, 2016. She was surrounded by her loving family at her home in the woods on the land on which she grew up, just as she had wished.
Andrea was born on October 5th, 1943. She was the third of four daughters to Amel and Catherine (Novitski) Bannach of Custer, Wisconsin. Andrea graduated from Maria High School in 1961. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Education and her second Master’s Degree in Environmental Education from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point (UWSP). In the early 1960s Andrea lived in Southern California, and that is where she met and fell in love with William (Bill) Spears. On July 8th, 1967 Andrea married Bill, and together they raised two children, Matthew and Lea. Andrea and Bill enjoyed 49 remarkable years of marriage together.
Andrea dedicated her life to her family and to teaching children, and she was passionate about nature and the outdoors. Her teaching career began at Pitt School in Wisconsin Rapids. She taught Math and English at Ben Franklin Junior High, and she also taught at nearly every elementary school in the Stevens Point School District.
Andrea spent most of her teaching career at Plover-Whiting teaching 6th grade, where she retired in 2003. During her tenure at both Madison and Plover-Whiting schools, she developed school nature trails and gardens with the help of her students and children. Andrea also once headed the negotiating committee for the Stevens Point Area Education Association.
After retirement Andrea taught education classes at UWSP and drove charter and school buses. She later taught at Head Start in Waupaca and worked as a nanny for a number of families; taking these opportunities to once again teach children and develop their love for learning.
Andrea also volunteered at The Central Rivers Farmshed and typical of Andrea, she recruited many others to her causes. When Andrea wasn’t ambitiously pursuing her post-retirement activities, she enjoyed gardening, kayaking, collecting artwork created by her friends, fishing in Canada with her family, and wintering with her husband Bill and their adorable dog Benn along the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama Shores.
Andrea was a source of enthusiasm and generosity to all who knew her. She frequently organized gatherings of family and friends, and she provided so many delicious meals. Within almost any group Andrea was an initiator—if not an instigator. Her friends from teaching, kayaking and gardening all recognized Andrea as a force of nature; a driving spirit that will be remembered dearly.
The family deeply appreciates all of the incredible support from Ministry Hospice: especially Mariah, Stephanie, Ellen and Gretchen. In lieu of flowers, donations to your local Hospice or to the Central Rivers Farmshed (https://secure.donationpay.org/farmshed/) are encouraged.
Andrea is survived by her husband William Spears; son Matthew Spears (Nate), Ann Arbor, MI; daughter Lea Spears (Sayer), Custer, WI; sister Barbara (Mark) Mader, Gresham, WI; sister Judith (David) Peplinski, Custer, WI; and sister Peggy (Michael) Elliott, Rome, GA; as well as by numerous nieces, nephews, and all their wonderful children.
Funeral services will be held at Shuda Funeral Home, 3200 Stanley St., Stevens Point, WI, (715) 344-2113.
A visitation will be held from 4:00-8:00 PM Friday April 1st.
A second visitation also will be held 10:00-11:00 AM Saturday April 2nd, followed by a Prayer Service starting at 11:00 AM.
Online condolences may be sent by visiting www.shudafuneral.com.