By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/5/14
The lacrosse world is mourning the death of longtime Philly youth, club and college coach and former team USA member Deb Andress, 56, who passed away Tuesday night after fighting cancer for many years.
Andress, of Doylestown, was a a 2001 inductee into the City All Star Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, a national champion player at Penn State and a member of the US National team from 1980-84. Andress also played for the Philly I and II club teams and more recently coached in Bucks County in the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (OLMC) CYO program for many years and also the Lady Bulldogs youth program, which evolved from OLMC.
Andress also co-founded the popular D and D Sports Camps in 1994 with Dee Cross, as well as the Five Star lacrosse camps for many years.
Andress also was named the inaugural coach at Penn State Abington in 2008, but did not begin her tenure as coach until 2010 after fighting her illness.
“She was great at motivating everyone to give their best effort and to have fun,” said Andress’ close friend, Karren Schnellenbach. “She touched so many aspiring young players and gave them the skill set to follow their dreams to continue to play thru high school and onto college.
“She loved and was very devoted to her ‘Bulldogs’ and built an incredible youth program – a program she was very proud of which with a combined effort we will keep the Bulldog program and tradition going strong.”
Cross said that Andress what somewhat of a pioneer for women’s lacrosse in Bucks and Montgomery counties and beyond.
“Debbie introduced a lot of younger girls to the game of lacrosse,” she said. “They came to her camps and she was always the life of the party; happy and beautiful.
“She could light up a room; whatever she did she did with every ounce of energy. I had the pleasure and honor to coach alongside of her and see how many lives she has touched.”
Lacrosse enthusiasts and supporters helped support Andress in the runnings of “Team Andress,” in 2008 and 2009 at the National Brain Tumor Society Race For Hope 5K Run/Walk – Philadelphia at the Art Museum. Andress termed the phrase “Varsity” as a motivator to all that faced a challenge.
Schnellenbach said Andress will always be remembered as a true role model in lacrosse and life.
“I think Deb would want us to remember her as an incredibly positive, fun, and loving person who was a friend to all that met her,” Schnellenbach said. “To me her smile and upbeat personality was most infectious. A beautiful lady with a beautiful spirit!
“Deb lived her life as a giver. She never burdened anyone with her illness and remained faithful that she would win this fight. She was an inspiration to all of us who watched both she and her family remain strong and determined. Deb’s been a very bright light in so many lives and that spirit will never be forgotten.
“Deb’s experience has reinforced to all of us how precious and short this life is! Her term ‘Varsity’ meant to embrace the moment and go at with it 100% effort and heart which is how she lived her life as a wife, mother, sister, friend and coach!!”
Andress played both field hockey and lacrosse for Penn State, and was a member of teams that won two AIAW National Field Hockey Championships during her tenure. Andress has remained in touch with the game through founding and directing summer camps and leagues. She served as head of the selection committee and was a full-time instructor in Kinesiology at Penn State Abington.
“Deb is simply unforgettable and very, very much loved,” Schnellenbach said. “She was such a beautiful girl inside and out—she always had a smile on her face and laughter in her heart. Her love of life, her spirit, and bright, beautiful ‘in your face; personality will live on through her great kids and her husband John.
“If you were one of the lucky ones who knew her well remember the special moments you spent with her and the very special person she was and we will never forget.”
A viewing will be held Monday from 6-to-10 p.m. at Reed & Steinbach Funeral Home on 2335 Lower State Rd. in Doylestown.
A Mass will be held on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church on 5175 Cold Spring Creamery Rd.in Doylestown. Burial will be immediately following mass at St John Nuemann Cemetery, 3797 County Line Rd., Chalfont, PA 18914