Br Andrew: A man of the people

In his ways, Br Thomas Andrew Simpson cfc, MBE, was a man of the people.

For “Br Andrew” as he was affectionately called, seeing people overcome obstacles and succeed in education and life was what he stood for and assisted in his engagement with students and parents.

A sobbing mother at the Modilon General Hospital morgue aptly summed up Br Andrew’s ways as his body was attended to on Thursday afternoon 13th June, 2013:

“You were there for me when I needed help.

“It was because of you and my son graduated.”

And there was this condolence message from one of the many university and teachers college graduates that Br Andrew had a personal impact on their lives.

“I would have not gone back to school (tourism and hospitality studies at DWU) if it wasn’t for Brother Simpson and I am deeply sorry.”

“I know I learnt a lot of things from his encouragements that have changed me completely and he would be really missed,” said Mark Warua, the ANZ Bank’s area sales supervisor based in Mt Hagen.

“He was a great mentor of every person he came across and I am deeply sorry when recalling the times he used to call me into his office to talk about Rugby League,” said Warua, who played for the PNG Kumuls and toured Townsville in Australia in 2004 while a player for the DWU Diwai club in Madang.

Br Andrew was born on 30th August, 1948, in Sydney, Australia.

He was educated at St. Felix Bankstown (1954-1956), Christian Brothers High school Burwood (1957-1963), St. Edmund’s Juniorate, Strathfield completing his Leavening Certificate. From 1966 – 1968 he obtained his Teachers Certificate, at Mount Saint Mary College, Strathfield. Br Andrew obtained his Bachelor of Arts (Education) at the Macquarie University from 1973 – 1978. From 1981 – 1987 he completed his highest qualification in Master of Arts (Teacher Education) also at Macquarie University.

The late Br. Andrew’s work experience was mainly in school and college education and he has held a number of positions. From 1969-1970 he was in-charge of the primary section of Christian Brothers’ College, Young, NSW then from 1971-1974 held the position of primary headmaster at Christian Brothers High School – St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. From 1979 – 1986 was a lecturer at the Mount Saint Mary College of Education, Strathfield (Now Mount Saint Mary Campus of Australian Catholic University).

Br. Andrew then moved to Papua New Guinea in 1987 and started his work at St. Paul’s Teachers’ College, Vunakanau in Rabaul. Later on in 1988 he was appointed as Principal and worked in that capacity until 1990. Then from 1991 to 1995 he moved to Wewak as the Principal of the then St. Benedict’s Teachers’ College (now a campus of DWU). After his stint in the college environment he moved to Goroka in August 1996 and worked till 2002 as Regional Leader, Christian Brothers Edmund Rice Region of Papua New Guinea. Then from 2003 to his passing time, he worked as the Vice President, Academic and then Vice President, Student Affairs at the DWU.

 

During his life time Br. Andrew was heavily involved with many professional associations (too many to list) in the fields of education as well as in other Christian and professional organizations including Chairman of the Catholic Education Secretariat and Chairman of Callan Services for disabled persons in PNG. Also his experience in higher education was recognized and he was appointed chairman of the Lutheran School of Nursing Governing Council as well as a serving member of the Working Committee to set up the Lutheran University.

Br. Andrew was passionate about his congregational responsibility and worked in many areas that they needed his skills and experience. He provided those services both in Australia and PNG with distinction.

As well as his educational and Christian work he was also involved in sports. Br Andrew was a staunch supporter of the Western Suburbs Magpies rugby league club and then the merged West Tigers the home club of the Western Suburbs of Sydney where he grew up and played for the Magpies. He gave a lot of time to help develop the rugby league code in PNG and through his engagement he touched many lives. Br Andrew was very popular and was liked by those who worked with him and knew him. In honour of his contributions to both education and rugby league in PNG, he was awarded Member of the British Empire (MBE) few years ago.

As Vice President (student Affairs) of DWU he worked tirelessly serving many students and the general community until his passing on the night of Wednesday 12 June, 2013, two month short of his 65th birthday. The late Br. Andrew has touched the hearts of many people both at DWU and in PNG and we will sadly miss him. The DWU Community will host a Eucharist celebration in honour of Br Andrew’s life at the St Joseph Freinademetz Chapel at 9 am on Wednesday 19th June, 2013. After the mass, the body will then be taken to Alexishafen Catholic mission station outside of Madang town to be laid to rest in the mission cemetery.

May his soul rest in eternal peace!