Connie Andruss, born Helen Constance Archer on December 9, 1925 in San Antonio, died at home in Norman on December 21, 2021.
Throughout her life, she was thankful for having been born into her family. Her father, Olin Wellington Archer, a newspaperman (at one time managing editor of The Daily Oklahoman), was an avid reader and lifelong learner, traits Connie shared. Her mother, Helen Gabel Archer, was a Quaker and Unitarian, whose wisdom, patience, and calm demeanor were Connie’s aspirations. Connie had a pleasurable childhood, with particular focus on her pony and on learning the violin. Playing classical music on violin and viola became a lifelong pursuit.
Connie graduated from Classen High School in Oklahoma City, and went to the University of Chicago at age 16. She then attended Antioch College, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Oklahoma. Following WW II, a high school acquaintance, Duane Andruss, who returned from combat duty as a forward artillery observer in the European theater, wooed her persistently, and they married in 1946, a marriage which was sustained until his death in 2007. Her early adulthood was devoted to family, as her mother’s had been, with four children arriving at somewhat regular intervals. She had rubella during her fourth pregnancy, with the result that a daughter was born with hearing loss. Connie returned to OU for a Master’s of Science in Communications Disorders in 1968, and taught deaf students at schools in Oklahoma City until her retirement at age 66.
She was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Norman from 1956 until her death, and active in church education groups, as a musician, usher, and in other capacities. She played violin briefly in the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, then in the Oklahoma City Civic Orchestra, and in several groups in Norman. In her later years, Connie enjoyed playing chamber music in an informal weekly gathering with three friends, usually in her home, continuing until her death. She loved cryptograms and games with family. She was also devoted to charitable giving to and volunteering in a wide variety of causes, including the Irving Middle School orchestra and tutoring in reading and ESL.
Connie was preceded in death by her husband, Duane Andruss; and her sister, Barbara (Bobby) Allen. She is survived by her brother, James Archer; sons, Mark and Matthew Andruss; daughters, Wendy Adler and Kit Andruss; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and an extended family of other relatives and in-laws.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation in her name to a charity of your choice.