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Andrew Harriss Symmes, Sr.

March 7, 1923 ~ September 1, 2017 (age 94)

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Andrew Harriss Symmes

March 7, 1923 – September 1, 2017

Greensboro, NC


Andrew “Andy” Harriss Symmes, 94, passed away September 1, 2017.  He was preceded in death by his precious wife Jean Deck Symmes.  Having grown up in Wilmington, NC, he was the son of the late Harrison M. and Mary Harriss Symmes.

On December 7, 1945, upon his discharge from the Marine Corps at the culmination of World War II, Andy married Jean Deck.  He set an incredible example of being a great husband, exemplified throughout 67 years of marriage, but even more so during Jean’s last years, at which time she was ill and Andy demonstrated unconditional love at her side.  His children and grandchildren all inherited many wonderful traits from him, such as fishing, sailing, ability to fix things, strong work ethic, fierce loyalty, steady temperament, and tenacity, to name a few.  The slogan, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine,” applies to Andy.  He served in the Marshall Islands during World War II, including the battle at Iwo Jima.  We treasure a Memoire he wrote about his military service, and a second volume written by his grandson Rob Godfrey. Andy and his wife, Jean attended many 4th Marine Corps Division Reunions, and treasured friends from that experience.  Andy was also a member of the Marine Corps League and the American Legion.  

Andy’s family legacy includes:  Andrew (Sandy) Symmes, Jr. and wife Jeanne, daughter Jean (Bunny) Godfrey and husband Robert, son Raymond (Ray) Symmes and Kathy, Mary Gwyn and husband Tom (former husband Tate Carty, deceased), and James (Jim) Symmes and wife Katherine.  Grandchildren and their families are Mark Symmes, wife Lauren, children Lorelai, Logan and Lillian (Lily); Will Symmes and wife Kirsten;  Jonathan (Jon) Symmes, wife Lauren, children Tate and Rex (deceased); Robert (Rob) Godfrey and Jamie Shuster; Elizabeth Godfrey Shepherd, husband Brandon, daughter Scarlett;  Anne (Annie) Symmes; Allison (Ally) Symmes; Ashley Gwyn Denny and husband Scott; Marshall Gwyn; Andrew Symmes and wife Evin; and Brian Symmes.  He is survived by his brother, Francis (Frank) Symmes of Wilmington, sister-in-law Mrs. Harrison (Joan) Symmes, and predeceased by brothers Harrison (Harry) and Courtland (Coty) Symmes.  The family moved to Greensboro in 1964, and was welcomed to Greensboro by Marlin and Shirley Freedman, who became family.  

With a BA from UNC and Masters from NCSU, he worked for Cone Mills beginning in 1964 as Director of Management Training and Personnel Research, retiring in 1984. Andy pursued many interests such as the Marine Corps League, sailing, became a Master Gardener, advocated for Court Watch, prepared meals at Christ United Methodist Church, delivered Meals on Wheels, and volunteered at Cone Hospital in the Emergency Room, but was passionate about the Marine Corps and his family.

There will be a memorial service for Andy at St. Timothy’s United Methodist Church, 5228 Hilltop Road, Greensboro, NC 27282, Saturday, September 9, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Greater Carolinas MS Society or the PKD Foundation (  


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