Obituary: Mark 'Doc' Andrews, age 51
Mark 'Doc' Andrews, one of Detroit’s most respected sportscasters and sports director at Infinity Oldies WOMC-FM 104.3, died on Saturday, February 21 2004 after a 10-month battle with colon cancer. He was 51 years old. Andrews lived his childhood dream of being a top sportscaster and was best known for his affable personality on the “Dick Purtan & Purtan’s People” show heard mornings on WOMC. He had been off the air for the past several weeks and also was off last summer while receiving treatment for the disease.
A proud graduate of Fraser High School and Wayne State University, Andrews was a born and raised Metro Detroiter. Doc joined Purtan’s show on January 1, 1984 when it aired on WCZY-FM (95.5) and had been on the Detroit airwaves practically his entire career. Mark was truly one of the good guys in the radio business; his positive attitude and outlook on life was contagious to anyone who either worked with or met him.
In addition to his radio work, his media career included jobs as a sports anchor for Channels 50 and 20 as well as a sports reporter at Channel 4. Andrews had also done extensive play-by-play for the Detroit Pistons, University of Michigan hockey, University of Detroit basketball, CCHA Hockey, ESPN, and the now-defunct local cable channel PASS. Other highlights of his career included work as public address announcer for World Cup Soccer, the Super Bowl, and the NBA All-Star Game. He also served as P.A. voice for the Detroit Red Wings, Lions, and Pistons.
Mark earned the nickname “Doc” from Dick Purtan early on. Since he was never stumped by a “Leave it to Beaver” trivia question, Purtan named him the “Doctor of Beavology,” hence “Doc.” “Although Doc was short in stature and stood only 4’ 7”, to our listeners, fans, and fellow workers, he stood tall throughout his life,” says Purtan. “I’ve known Doc for over 20 years and will miss him greatly.”
WOMC listeners will remember Doc also by the popular characters he voiced on “Dick Purtan & Purtan’s People” including: Alan Walnuts, Newsman Gordon Kincaid, Announcer Sterling Heights, Mr. Michigan, and his impersonations of Detroit Red Wings’ radio announcers, Bruce Martin and Ken Kal.
Reaction to Andrews’ passing was swift, with many commenting on how Doc didn’t let his dwarfism stand in the way of a successful career. Local ‘Mr. Radio’ Bill Burton of the Detroit Radio Advertising Group, who gave Doc his start in the business, told him years ago, “You can be ten feet tall on the radio.” Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo commented, “He was the little guy with a huge heart. His personality and sense of humor will be missed by the radio community for years to come.”
WOMC’s vice-president and general manager, Stephen Schram said, "Mark ‘Doc’ Andrews brought such a special, energetic quality to his 20 plus years of performance with Dick Purtan and Purtan's People. His well-respected stature in Detroit sports was also matched by the wonderful comedic character-voice sketches he performed over the decades. The entire WOMC family extends our deepest sympathy and prayers to Mark's immediate family. We were part of his "radio family" and we have lost one of the very best in our business."
One of Andrews’ passions was to be a motivational speaker and very often he would stand behind the podium on top of a box when he presented to various groups. Throughout the years, he became one of the nations most popular personal development speakers in the area of motivation, customer service, teamwork, and positive attitude. He presented programs throughout the United States as well as internationally. He was the Master of Ceremonies for the annual Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame event. Mark was a participating member of the Little People of America Incorporated and the Dwarf Athletic Association of America.
He was also a very talented writer. He was a columnist for the Detroit Metro Airport Connections newspaper and Michigan Hockey Magazine. In an article Andrews wrote shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks about how fragile life is, Doc said, “Our success in the coming days, weeks, months and years depends upon people not living in fear, but continuing on for the greater good of our lives and our Country.” He continued by stating, “Be a winner! Live life every day in an incredibly positive way.” That’s how Doc fought his cancer too. His motivational slogan was, “You Can Be As Big As You Want To Be.”
He is survived by his wife Amy, son Edward, daughter Hollis, and stepdaughter Alicia.