Retired Hammond firefighter Harry Andree was a great dad who put his family first.
Married 63 years to his high school sweetheart Delores, who survives, Andree loved spending time with his close-knit family, including his seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren, said his son, Michael Andree. And his loving family was there for Andree during his illness.
Andree, 81, of Hammond, taught his four children respect.
“If his firefighter friends came to the house, we called them ‘uncle’ out of respect,” Michael Andree said.
A Hammond Battalion Fire Chief with 42-years of service, Andree originally wanted to be a police officer, but that department wasn’t hiring and the fire chief recruited him.
“He loved it,” Michael Andree said. “He was very dedicated.”
His passion for firefighting was passed to his son Michael, a retired Griffith firefighter of 33 years, and his two grandsons, Michael and Eric who are Griffith firefighters.
Andree told of saving several lives with his crew, his son said. At the Pullman-Standard fire, Andree escaped death by diving underneath the fire truck as a wall collapsed on him. One of his co-workers was killed. Andree also worked a winter fire in downtown Hammond where everything including his helmet iced over. A favorite photo, his son said, shows Andree in his gear carrying a soaking wet dog out of a fire.
A veterinarian’s son and an animal lover who always had two dogs, Andree served many years as a veterinary assistant at EBright Animal Hospital in Hammond.
Andree enjoyed fishing with his family and woodworking especially making clocks for family members.
“He made a firefighter’s Maltese Cross clock for me and for my brother a duck clock to match his wallpaper,” Michael Andree said.
He misses talking to his father.
“We used to talk about everything,” Michael Andree said.