In the early days of the company, Mr. Trudeau recalled, he would visit the Andrewses to work on his nascent strip, as all the Syndicate artists did.
“I would stay with them and help them pretend they had a viable business that, without my knowledge, was very much at risk,” he said. “It wasn’t until much later that I realized how much trouble they were in, but Kathy knew it. She was incredibly overqualified to just keep the books.
“Jim would show up at breakfast in a coat and tie,” he continued, “and after we had a few cups of coffee we all went to the basement, where he loosened his tie, took off his jacket, and started the day. Kathy would be up with the books. With so little money to count and so few functions to work on, there was a lot of downtime and lots of laughs, which I think kept her afloat. Together, Jim and Kathy were unstoppable. “
Mr Andrews died of a heart attack in October 1980 at the age of 44. Ms. Andrews joined the company six months later and quickly became the managing director of the publishing business, said her son Hugh, who later held the title. He remembered her signing each artist’s license check and mailing it with a personal note. “She knew everyone’s family and how they were doing,” he said.
“The youngest of seven children, she grew up sleeping three in one bed,” added Andrews. “She was a humble woman. Not being in the spotlight wasn’t a problem for her as long as everyone was working. “
The Universal Press Syndicate was renamed Andrews McMeel Universal in the late 1980s. Today it is the largest independent newspaper consortium in the world. When Ms. Andrews retired in 2006, she was vice chairman.
In addition to her son Hugh, Mrs. Andrews survived another son, James. a sister, Annabelle Whalen; and six grandchildren.