OREGON—Howard “Andy” Witt Jr., Master Orator, Ice Bowl Attendee, Lover of Laughter, and always the most fun at any party, died on Tuesday, March 13, 2019, at Agrace Hospice Care in Fitchburg, Wis.
Howard’s story began in Ridley Park, Pa., where he was the fourth child born to Howard and Virginia (Melendy) Witt on May 5, 1947. Howard followed his rambunctious teen years by following his calling into radio. With his natural radio voice and being an incorrigible conversationalist, broadcast was a natural fit. He attained his 1st Class Broadcast license from Brown Institute in Minneapolis, Minn. While working for a station in Neenah, Wis. early in his career, Howard assumed the radio name “Andy,” which is how most people know him to this day. In 1973 Andy Witt took to the airwaves at 1070 WTSO in Madison, and would continue to be the morning personality until he retired from radio in 1993. Andy had an ability to make all around him comfortable, which was affirmed by all the relationships he established with radio broadcasters, celebrities and music acts. Multiple generations remember the voices of the “Pat & Andy” show and then the “Andy & the Bear” morning show, and how they provided a comedic and comforting refuge to their daily commute. Through his travels, Andy became a virtual encyclopedia of all Wisconsin sports, professional and collegiate.
Andy married Shelly Cunneen in February of 1989. As they planned a family, Andy changed careers and became a financial planner for Kemper Securities in 1994, before landing at Morgan Stanley, where he retired from in 2017. Andy approached the financial industry with the same jocular disposition that made him successful in broadcast. This marriage produced two children that Andy was incredibly proud of as they became the center of his life. Andy and his son, Mickey, were best buddies as they traveled often to Disney World and other adventurous locations. Andy credits Mickey for keeping him young and active. Andy’s daughter, Alyssa’s, relationship transitioned from Andy being a proud father, to Alyssa becoming Andy’s most trusted confidant and best friend.
In late June 2018, Andy faced his own mortality after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Andy faced the life changing news by turning the tears of those who loved him into laughter. While in the hospital, it took Andy only days to become a ballast between the hospital staff and the uncomfortable conversations that accompany a terminal illness. Many of these caretakers quickly entered Andy’s continuously growing inner circle, staying in touch even after Andy returned home to contemplate his final months. This is Andy’s legacy. For those of us that were fortunate to be part of Andy’s large inner circle, we understand there will be a permanent void in our hearts that may be only partially filled by reflecting on the multitude of stories and adventures had with Andy. More than anything, we will remember how Andy made us feel.
Survivors include his three children, Kendal J. Harker of Dubuque, Iowa, Michael “Mickey” Witt of Oregon, Wis., and Alyssa M. (partner, Zachary Monroe) Witt, of Oregon, Wis.; brothers, Fred (Sally) Witt of Oconto Falls, Wis., David (Joyce) Witt of Milton, Fla. and Ted (Cindy) Witt of Waunakee, Wis.; one sister, Debby (Paul) Riener of Woodville, Ohio; and many other extended family and friends. Andy was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Daniel; and sister, Wendy.
There will be no public viewing, as Andy’s family refuses to honor his request to have him standing in the corner of the room in his Hawaiian shirt with a beer in his hand so that he would be able to pose for pictures. Instead, there will be a private celebration forthcoming. Memorials may be made to the family.
The family would like to thank the following people for taking such exceptional care of Howie: Dr. Ernest Lee, Dr. Aric Hall, the entire staff on floor 6/6B of the UW Hospital and the staff of Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg, Wis.