Home » A Tribute to Andrew M. Ockershausen: The Man Who Knew Everyone in DC, and Everyone Knew “Andy O”

Headshot of Andrew M. Ockershausen

A Tribute to Andrew M. Ockershausen: The Man Who Knew Everyone in DC, and Everyone Knew “Andy O”

by | Jun 7, 2021

A memorial service was held on June 4 at the Blessed Sacrament church in Chevy Chase to remember Andrew M. Ockershausen, called “Andy O” by many, and Mr. Washington, by those who knew of his accomplishments.  Among those attending the memorial service in the church, in addition to Andy’s wife, Janice, and his sons Kurt and Kris, were many Washington media types, plus close friends including Sonny Jurgenson, Donald Dell, Rebecca Schulte, Eric Shuster, Joel Oxley, Roger Cossack, Bill Regardie, Rick Hinden, Ted Ward, Earnie Fears, Earnie Bauer and Jory Steiber.

Howard Bomstein, a friend of “Andy O” for 37 years, delivered the eulogy for Ockershausen who died on March 17. A portion of Bomstein’s eulogy is below.

I will not delve into a full biography of Andy as it would take me an hour or three to scratch the surface of what Andy accomplished in his 92 years here in our town, DC.

For over well over 20 of those years, Andy and I would have lunch at The Palm on about a monthly basis.  In the early winter of 2019 we were scheduled for a typical Thursday at the appointed time of noon at 19th and M.

Andy liked to arrive early to be the second greeter after guests were welcomed by Tommy (back in the day) or Michael and then have them stop by the table for a homage to Andy. Most often, a dozen or so DC luminaries would come by for a handshake and a word or two that invariably ended with laughter.

On this particular date, I awoke and reading the newspaper to discover that my cousin thru marriage and former boss, Herman Porten, had died and that his funeral service was set for 11am that morning.

So, just after 9am, I called Andy to tell him that I couldn’t possibly be at Washington Hebrew at 11 and make our date at noon at The Palm and could we postpone to next week? Andy responded to my humble request, by saying, and I quote, “For God’s sakes, Bomstein, why are you going to his FUNERAL?,  he won’t be going to yours!” That was my Andy.  Always witty, acerbic and quick with a turn of phrase that made you laugh out loud.

Well, Andy, you won’t be coming to my funeral at some future date, but I sure as heck wouldn’t miss yours.

And  when Andy learned about the sale of the Redskins after the death of Jack Kent Cook, Andy told me,  “if the Squire knew the Reskins would sell for $800 million dollars, he wouldn’t have died!”

In the decades of our friendship, I learned so much from Andy, about our city, about his biography, as he was not only my friend, he was a mentor and just someone I knew I could talk to, and would listen—- about anything.

Andy knew everyone and everyone knew Andy … Andy was Mr. Washington, I even  have his bobble head to prove it so.

In his 92 years, Andy witnessed and was an active participant in every great sea-change in this city. From the destruction of Griffith stadium to become Howard University Hospital, thru the 1968 riots, Home Rule, DC Stadium/RFK, to Fed Ex Field, to Nats Park and Audi Field, and from the redevelopment of the SW waterfront to the gentrification of neighborhoods across the city. From Walter Washington thru Muriel Bowser and every city council person, Andy knew them all and they all knew Andy. From politicians to business leaders, from waiters to barbers, from elevator operators to Presidents of these United States, Andy had a personal relationship with everyone.  And he kept the secrets of so many.  Andy was one of a kind, the most gregarious and tenacious friend any of us ever had.

Andy was great at friendship—he worked at his relationships always keeping in touch, always at an charity event or just working at his desk, he would strive, daily, to keep in touch.

Andy never missed a social or sporting event if he could help it. From Opening Day to Board of Trade Fall Classic, to Fight Night to any fundraising event you can think of especially for Leukemia and Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School.

For his service to our city, Andy won dozens of accolades and deserved every single one  –  Washingtonian of the Year, Board of Trade Man of the Year, Silver Medal award from the Ad Club, the cover of Regardie’s magazine. And dozens and dozens of other recognitions for his  charitable work and contributions to our city. Heck, even Bill Regardie never made the cover of Regardie’s.

Andy was Washington’s booster, cheerleader and #1 homer.  Want proof?: Here is Andy’s “Baseball in ’87” button 18 years BEFORE we got baseball back—and of course, his own personal history of our town, OUR TOWN DC podcast that Janice produced and Andy was the star interviewer.   If you want to enjoy a walk down memory lane, listen to the over 200 interviews Andy conducted on our town dc.com.  Worth every minute of your time.

Andy’s career spanned nearly eight decades from the Evening Star newspaper to the powerhouse that was WMAL, radio 63—with the largest share of audience ever recorded – nearly one in four adults who listened to radio during Andy’s tenure as GM, listened to WMAL.

To Channel 50, to HTS to Comcast Sportsnet to Best Bark Communications Andy was the consummate salesperson.  And especially HTS/Comcast/NBC Universal where he would exclaim, “we have no audience to speak of, but you can’t afford not to be on our air.” Selling time was Andy’s forte.

The old adage, you should be lucky enough to live in interesting times, and because we all had the unique fortune of living here in DC at the same time as Andy O that came true for everyone here this morning.

We are all damn lucky to have had Andy in our lives, and so much poorer for his absence for the rest of our lives.

I will, like all of you, miss him terribly.  There is a hole in my heart, but the memory of Andy and I leaving The Palm on a warm Spring afternoon as we walked down 19th Street towards where Andy parked his car at 18th and L, we would turn left on M and invariably Andy took my arm to steady himself in his later years and I was the proudest person on those blocks to walk arm in arm with the most remarkable person I ever have known and ever will know in my life.

Andrew M Ockershausen.  Fare thee well, old friend.  I will see you when I see you, maybe, just maybe, on the other side and we’ll have lunch again, one more time. And you’ll make me laugh and know that I am treasured as YOUR friend.

Thank you Janice, thank you Father John and all of you for being here ………even though Andy won’t be coming to your funeral!

About the Author

Capitol Communicator

Capitol Communicator is a unique online and offline resource for Mid-Atlantic advertising, marketing, public relations, digital and media communications professionals. The e-magazine, e-newsletters and events bring together communications professionals, fostering community and providing important information; news; trends; education; and opportunities for networking, career enhancement, business exchange and showcasing great work. Visit www.capitolcommunicator.com to learn more.


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