Newspaper columnist and musician Ralph Andrews, who wrote theater reviews for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario and its sister publication The Sun of San Bernardino (Calif.), has died. He was 75.
Andrews died Saturday at the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Hospital after battling cancer and Parkinson’s disease, said his wife Frances, who added that he continued to play his beloved flute and review plays until weeks before his death.
“He was dedicated because he felt until the end that it was art, the beautiful things, that make us civilized, not things like race car driving,” she said.
Andrews began playing flute in an elementary school band and he studied music at San Bernardino Valley College before moving on to San Diego State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music.
He enlisted in the Army in 1954 and became a member of the 76th U.S. Army Band. He also studied flute at the Paris France Conservatory of Music while stationed in France.
He later earned a master’s degree in music from San Francisco State College and a doctorate in music from Florida State University.
In 1970, he met his future wife Frances Scoggin – an oboe major at Jacksonville University.
“We were two starving musicians who played in the same orchestras and shows for many years,” she said.
The couple returned to Riverside in 1982. Andrews and fellow theater enthusiast Mike Charles and T.E. Foreman, then-theater reviewer for The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, founded the Inland Theater League to recognize and encourage excellence in theater.
Andrews began writing theater and music reviews for The Sun in the mid-1980s, and later for the Daily Bulletin.
Jerry Rice, assistant features editor for the Daily Bulletin and The Sun, said Andrews was very dedicated to the theater and music groups he covered.
“I always remember him saying, ‘When I die, I’ll probably be writing a review,'” Rice said.
No memorial was planned.
He is survived by his wife.