Andrew Ernest James


Like many children of the 80s, Andrew Ernest James spent summers outside from sunup until the streetlamps came on.  On Sat., Oct. 28, 2023, the lamps came on for Andy one last time, calling him home to the Lord. He was 41.  Born to Debbie and Robert James in 1982, Andy was raised on the Eastern Shore and had a tie to the area and its people that never wavered. In childhood, he spent his free time fishing at the bay, building forts, and ramping his sister’s modified Power Wheels Barbie Car in the neighborhood gully.  A ladies’ man well ahead of his time, Andy met his future wife, Gabrielle Seals, in second grade at Daphne Elementary, reconnecting years later. After graduating from Fairhope High School in 2001, Andy began his studies at Auburn University, where he played saxophone in the marching band.  He attained a bachelor’s in civil engineering in 2005 and his master’s the following year.  He then returned home to the Eastern Shore where he and Gabby were married, raised their two boys, Aidyn and Nolan, and Andy began his professional life with Volkert, where he focused on, among other projects, restoring the tributaries of Mobile Bay.  A polymath, Andy had intensive knowledge about so much and was a success at all that he devoted himself to, though he was too humble to tell you so himself. Just a few examples: as a professional engineer, he earned multiple awards for his work, including the Mobile Area Council of Engineers’ 2017 Young Engineer of the Year and the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2019 Engineer of the Year; as a fisherman, he practiced and practiced until he threw the broadest cast net imaginable and rarely came home empty-handed; as a woodworker, he learned from his dad how to make beautiful furniture (and to critique his dad’s work); and as an outdoorsman, he never failed to find the best spot, be it for fishing, camping, or hunting. Once while hunting pheasant, Andy took what appeared to be an ordinary bird. How rare it turned out to be.  Its plumage, plain at a glance, shone differently with wings spread.  It was one of a kind.  Andy was not the tallest or the fastest but, like that pheasant, he was rare, as all who had the privilege to know him learned.  More than most, Andy knew what was right and had the integrity to hold course even when difficult. He had the rare combination of a servant’s heart and a brilliant mind, always ready to lend a hand, advice, or a story (sometimes with footnotes and annotations).  He was a friend to many, and, to many, there is now an Andy-shaped hole in the world. Andy is survived by his loving wife, Gabby; his sons, Aidyn, and Nolan; his mother and father, Debbie and Bob; his sister, Ashley Bloodsworth (Mack); his brother, Austin (Katie); and many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Even though Andy went home too soon for us, we know he lived a blessed life, surrounded by his loving family and the many wonderful people who cared for him.  Please join us as we celebrate Andy’s life at Wolfe-Bayview Funeral Home, 19698 Greeno Road, Fairhope, Alabama 36532.  The visitation was held on Wed., Nov. 1, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., and the funeral at 10:00 a.m. on Thurs., Nov. 2, 2023.