Virtual Life Story Celebration
Sunday, October 25, 2020
12:00 PM EDT
Online Only via Zoom
Our virtual service will begin at:
9am - PST
12pm - EST
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
The Atlantis Blue Project Foundation
Please consider a memorial contribution in Andy's honor to benefit the sea species and habitats in the Bahamas.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Upjohn, Andrew Bray
Of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Formerly of Kalamazoo
Andrew Bray Upjohn, beloved outdoor adventurer, and seeker of experiences and personal connection, died of heart failure, at age 58, early Sunday morning, on September 27, 2020. Andy was born on August 1, 1962 and grew up in Kalamazoo and Gull Lake in Michigan. He spent much of his youth reading books about adventure, and spent as much time as possible outdoors. He attended Gull Lake High School and graduated from The Flint School, after traveling the world aboard the tall ships Te Vega and TeQuest. Andy loved books and movies, and like the character in his favorite book, The Razor's Edge, came to reject a conventional and materialistic life. For many years, Andy became a student of Buddhism, always eager for conversations with monks in Thailand and elsewhere. Over his lifetime, Andy traveled as an ocean sailor, ocean kayaker, canoe paddler, mountain climber, mountain biker, and motorcyclist, his trips taking him through the U.S., Europe, Russia, and Asia. He shared his love of the outdoors by instructing and leading tours, at Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, on kayak expeditions in Baja, Mexico, and scuba diving at Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, in Key Largo. Andy was an excellent writer, his ongoing travelogues infamous among family members and friends. Andy called many places home: Marin County, California, Seattle, Amsterdam, New Zealand, the Azores, and Thailand. After decades abroad, he settled in the Fort Lauderdale area, in Florida, a state he had returned to over decades, paddling extensively in the Everglades, along coastal islands, and through the rivers and intercoastal waterways. He died in Stuart, Florida, where he regularly stayed when working on one of his boats - most recently, a fishing trawler, which he was revamping for long-distance travel. Andy had a full and rich life, and although he was always on the move, he made many connections with people drawn to and inspired by his quiet charisma. He loved and was committed to his family, extended family, and close friends, who kept him grounded during his life on the go. He is survived by these family members, who loved him dearly and always will: his wife Mang (Pitsini Aramsujjakul) and stepchildren Amu and Akemi; his mother Janet Gavagan; his sisters Judy Upjohn (and nephew Gryphon Rue Rower-Upjohn), Cathy Upjohn (and niece Julia Minkin), twin Laurie Upjohn, and his brother Bill Upjohn (and sister-in-law Mary, and nephews Christopher, Andrew, and David Upjohn), niece Elizabeth Lyford Stewart (and grandniece and nephew Laila and Caleb); his former wife Alexandra McKay; and his partner, Joy (Kirtsiri Thammasat), her daughter Jaeb, and granddaughter, Sienna. A virtual celebration will be announced with family inviting friends to join them via live stream with burial at Mountain Home Cemetery in Kalamazoo. Please visit Andy's personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read his Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to The Atlantis Blue Project Foundation (www.atlantisbahamas.com/ocean/blue-project-support) which benefits the sea species and habitats in the Bahamas. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.