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Popular Pastor Of Northern Westchester Church Dies At 51

Rev. Dr. Charles "Chip" Andrus, 51
Rev. Dr. Charles "Chip" Andrus, 51 Photo Credit: Contributed

A popular pastor in Northern Westchester has died at age 51.

The Rev. Dr. Charles "Chip" Andrus South Salem has been described as "a man of deep integrity, kindness and warmth, community catalyst, Presbyterian scholar, masterful teacher, talented musician, devoted husband and father."

In 2013, he was named permanent pastor of South Salem Presbyterian Church in South Salem a year ahead of schedule, having received an overwhelming vote of confidence in his leadership by both the congregation and by the Presbytery of Hudson River.

He died Sunday, Sept. 9 at home surrounded by his family.

Chip was born on April 3, 1967 to Charles E. and Ann Andrus at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He received his Master of Divinity and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Before coming to Northern Westchester, Andrus had been Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

Upon arriving in South Salem, he devoted himself to church duties and volunteered as Chaplain to the South Salem Fire Department.

He also became a charter member and organizer of the Domestic Abuse Network of Northeast Westchester, working with other local clergy, law enforcement, advocacy groups and domestic abuse shelters.

An accomplished musician and singer/songwriter, he sang what he called a “mix of down-to-earth art with a dash of sacred mystery”—acoustic folk, rock, bluegrass and jam band music he performed across the country as well as at local pubs and restaurants.

He also led session meetings at The Horse and Hound Inn, a tavern across the street from the church where Chip and a few musicians would host regular and impromptu gigs, performing music that he felt “emerges from the beauty of the world around us.”

“Music evokes so much in everybody – joy, sadness, healing, laughter,” Chip said at last summer’s General Assembly. “At the Assembly, we play music, so all can be together. It’s not just individual voices, it’s family singing together.”

He was a husband for 27 years to Linda Andrus of South Salem, and a father to Danielle Andrus Settles and her husband Drew of Nashville, Tenn.

He is also survived by his parents, Charles and Ann Andrus and brother Chris of Warren, Arkansas; Emma Andrews of Charleston, Arkansas; Billy and Lynne Andrews of Central Arkansas; Jody and Matt Perrine of Fayetteville, Arkansas; Corey Andrews and Kristyna Palmeova; Greyson Andrews and Bobby Gillenwater of Boston, Massachusetts, and countless friends, congregants and colleagues near and far.

The service in celebration of his life will be held at South Salem Presbyterian Church, 111 Spring Street, South Salem at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15. A reception will follow.

The Andrus family would like to extend its deepest appreciation to all their friends for their outpouring of love and support. Or, as Chip would say, “It’s all good.”

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