Ventura’s Neal Andrews Passes Away

Former Ventura city councilman, mayor, and community advocate Neal Andrews has passed away at the age of 76. He died Aug. 4 after a lengthy illness, the Ventura County Star reports.

Andrews was elected to the City Council in 2001 and served for 17 years. At the end of 2017, he was named mayor of the city.

Andrews was a proud fiscal conservative but a social liberal, according to his friend and former city manager Rick Cole.

“Neal was a singular leader. He led not by building coalitions but by standing on his principles and that’s not always effective, but it’s always admirable,” Cole said. “And I think looking back at his time in office, the taxpayers of Ventura are lucky he stood up for them and the unfortunates in Ventura can feel the same."

Cole visited the former mayor just hours before he died.

No issue was arguably closer to Andrews’ heart than homelessness. He championed the permanent year-round shelter that will open in Ventura by the end of 2019. He also served on the board of mental health advocacy organization Turning Point for many years.

"He was always for the underdog. He would fight for them," said Jim Duran, lead pastor of River Community Church and executive director of City Center and Tender Life transitional-living facilities. “He would fight for people who were either without a house or without food. He was always that person who wanted to make sure everyone was cared for."

“Additionally, Neal served Ventura and the greater Ventura County region well by functioning as Ventura’s liaison to the RDP-21 organization created to save Naval Base Ventura County from the cut list, as the City’s liaison to the Association of Water Agencies, and representing the City at both the League of California Cities and the National League of Cities,” his obituary states. “Furthermore, Neal was instrumental in bringing the Highland Games to the Ventura County Fairgrounds in 2003, and had served on the Highland Games Board since its beginning.”

Andrews is survived by his partner of many years, Debora Schreiber, and his brother Garrie.