- Published on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 01:00
- Written by Town Crier Report
Photo By: Courtesy of PaloAltoHistory.com and Palo Alto Historical Association Archives
Rosemary McAndrews, a self-made woman who emerged as a leader in business in an age dominated by men, died May 17. The Mountain View resident was 92.
Without any formal education beyond high school, the Butte, Mont., native successfully climbed the corporate ladder from the position of secretary at Stanford University to director of Stanford Shopping Center.
Smart, strong-willed and determined, Mrs. McAndrews made a notable impact in her many endeavors. As a property manager, she was integral in updating the name of Stanford Industrial Park to the current Stanford Research Park. At Stanford Shopping Center, she oversaw a major expansion beginning in the mid-1970s with a layout that realized her vision of a European street market. She retired in 1993.
Architect John Field recalled his collaboration with Mrs. McAndrews on the center as “one of the most creative” of his career.
Commenting on the website Paloaltohistory.com, Field said: “At that time (1970s), the center was a major holding of the university’s portfolio, and we were violating every rule used by the big developers. We were even told that without enclosing the center, no major retailer would put a store there. That took courage and conviction on Rosemary’s part.”
Prominent Palo Alto resident Boyd Smith, speaking at her June 6 service, described Mrs. McAndrews as a woman of "pluck and vision." He said she persuaded the men of major department stores in San Francisco to locate branches in a new mall at Stanford.
Mrs. McAndrews served the community in a number of roles. She was president of the Stanford Faculty Club as a nonfaculty member, headed the Stanford Historical Society and was a member of the Mountain View Visual Arts Committee.
“She was a mentor for women,” said her daughter, Lisa. “She was always advocating for women taking on bigger positions and earning better salaries.”
In her free time, she was an avid hiker who enjoyed art history.
“I admired her for creating friendships throughout her life,” said Lisa, who noted friendships that lasted 60 years.
Too poor to attend college, Mrs. McAndrews placed tremendous value on education, her daughter said.
“She made sure I went to college and to grad school,” Lisa said.
Los Altos resident Cathie Perga became friends with Mrs. McAndrews about 10 years ago, when they played bridge together. "I can tell you she was a formidable opponent," Perga said. "She and her partner, Elayne Woulfe, were almost impossible to beat."
Perga added: "Rosemary's wit was well known. Her conversation was such that you wanted more. She could come up with a great quotation, often Shakespeare, that was perfect for the situation!"
Lisa said her mother was in “fantastic shape” until the last six months of her life.
Mrs. McAndrews is preceded in death by her husband, John McAndrews. She is survived by her daughter Lisa McAndrews and three grandchildren: Evan McAndrews Frogley, Laurel McAndrews Frogley and Colin McAndrews McGuirk. Services were held June 6 at Stanford Memorial Church.
Her ashes were scattered last weekend along Waddell Creek north of Santa Cruz.