Andrew Lannen

Andrew Lawrence Lannen, 24, of Wheaton passed away on Thursday, November 19, 2020. He was born in Severodvinsk, Russia on July 28, 1996.

Andrew will be deeply missed by his loving parents, Tom and Heidi; his brother, Matthew (Mackenzie); girlfriend, Emma Steo; grandparents Ralph and Irene Kautzman, and grandmother Theresa Lannen; aunts, Karen (Allen) Shreve, Alivia Bell, Tami (Armand) Marciano, Julie (Doug) Lannen-Neet, Kathy (Ron)Bickford, and Linda (Maralee) Lannen; uncles, Pat Lannen and Mark Goedken ; cousins Damien (Suhki), Brian (Laura), Aaron (Alexis), Amy (Kurt), Ashley, Krista, Laura and Meg; lifelong family friend, Anna; and his beloved dog, Payton. Andrew is also survived many friends.

He is preceded in death by his grandfather, Lawrence Lannen; and by his aunt, Holli Kautzman. Andrew was a gentle and compassionate person – always putting others ahead of himself and bringing out the best in people. He enjoyed spending time outdoors both at home in Illinois and while at school in Colorado. At the time of his death, he was weeks away from completing his undergraduate degree at Colorado State University.

Among the many qualities that endeared Andrew to everyone he met were his loyalty and his genuine concern for others. Andrew lived with integrity and a zest for new life experiences through his love of travel and sense of adventure.

Due to the current environment and restrictions, services will be private.

Charitable donations may be made to Catholic Charities – LOSS (Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

Web: Catholic Charities LOSS Program Donations

Once you’ve chosen your donation amount, please select and enter the designation ‘Other’ and in the text box enter ‘The Loss Program’; next, check ‘This gift is in honor, memory, or support of someone’ and type in ‘Andrew Lannen’.

Web: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

A message from the Lannen family:

Heidi and I lost our beautiful son, Andrew, to suicide early Thursday morning. The purpose of this message is to mourn the loss of Andrew, celebrate his life, and encourage those who need emotional help to get it.

I hope you will indulge us as we brag about our son a little. In these crazy times we find ourselves in, we won’t be able to have services to celebrate his life with family and friends.

Andrew was born in Russia with a hole in his heart. His birth parents never took him home from the hospital. He spent his first months of life in the hospital, eventually having surgery and transitioning to an orphanage. At 22 months, we welcomed him into our family alongside our birth son, Matt, who was 3 years old at the time. The “Irish twins” grew up together until Thursday. Heidi and I find a tiny bit of peace in knowing that our last interactions with Andrew were hugs and the words “luv ya” just talk about the pie he wanted for Thanksgiving and plans to help us with a project out at the lake.

Andrew was an amazing person. He was such a protector of the “little guy”. Although he was a big strong young man, he often found himself sticking up for others. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t stick up for himself as easy – he was often very hard on himself. Andrew didn’t always see what the rest of the world saw in him – his incredible heart and potential. Andrew was complex and could be prickly. He wanted the world to be a better place – he would get frustrated and exhausted from the pressures of “making it” as an adult.

Andrew excelled at nearly anything physical he tried despite being practically blind in one eye. He was an amazing snow skier, water skier, fisherman, rock climber, swimmer, backpacker, etc. We often think that some of our best times as a family were the many times that we were in a ski condo with just the four of us playing Euchre, telling stories and laughing. No pressure from the outside world. No technology or need for immediate sensory overload. No social media pressures unfairly comparing your insides to everyone’s outsides. That memory of private time together will be one that the three of us will share forever. He was 30 days from earning his bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University – and it looks like CSU will grant him his degree posthumously. Andrew had overcome so much in his life, it’s so hard to imagine that he succumbed to this epidemic of young people taking their own lives.

We don’t want Andrew to be talked about in whispers. He was a wonderful and beautiful person with some emotional challenges. Like many, he suffered with attention deficit, anxiety, and most likely some form of depression. Andrew hated being singled out so it was often difficult to get him the help he needed. If you had a broken arm, you would go to the doctor and get a cast. The same thing should apply to mental health.  We were never able to convince him; and are now left using our contacts, platform, and resources to push this critical message. We all need to take note and encourage those who need help to go get it.

He talked about his interest in becoming a school or teen counselor, he just didn’t like academics. It did not come easy to him, though he was a highly intelligent and well-spoken person with an incredible sense of humor. His perseverance to complete his degree is amazing. We were so looking forward to showering him with praise next month, it is surreal to think that now, that won’t happen.

We would give anything to get him back. Instead of talking about this in the shadows, our hope is that if someone with so much love and potential can succumb, then we all need to do more.

Our brother-in-law, Allen summed it up perfectly: “Andrew was a special young man that you brought into our lives. I will always remember his love for fishing at the lake. Depression is a silent and ugly disease”. We find comfort in knowing that if Andrew was in pain, he is now at peace. Our family is trying to think of his life like a shooting star, much too brief but spectacular. We hope you will think of him in that way, and that maybe that will bring a smile to you from time-to-time. Go hug your family, although you’ll never be as good at the bear hug as Andrew was.


  1. Aunt Kathy

    Andrew had the biggest heart! I loved him and will miss him so very much. I know his grandpa was waiting for him when he arrived.

  2. Mike Bowman

    My sincere sympathies to all of your family as you try and figure out how wo walk the path that you all find yourselves on now. If our family can ever help please let us know at any time. From a shoulder to lean on, or someone to help make sense out of a heartbreaking situation, or just to sit and cry with you. We understand as do many others. Mike, Kim, Michelle, and Timmy forever.

  3. Cindy Ludewig

    So sorry for your loss. You have so many beautiful memories to help get you through a very hard time. I wish you peace and comfort.

  4. Yoshimura's

    Lannen family,
    We can only imagine the darkness you are working through, the heaviness and the need to force yourself to breath. Our hearts bleed for you, your family and loved ones. We are thinking of you and supporting you with our spirit.
    Peace and many loving memories be with you.
    Barb, Mike and Jeff Yoshimura

  5. Adam Kral

    Thank you Tom and Heidi for bringing Andrew into our lives. He was always there for me as i was there for him. He was my
    first and best friend. This was very unexpected. I would have done anything to help him had I known the amount of pain he was in, I’m sure all his friends and family feel the same way. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the Lannen family, even payton.

  6. David Cook

    Tom, Heidi and the Lannen Family:
    My prayers and thoughts are with you during this difficult time. I pray that the grace of God will comfort you and bring you peace.

  7. Angele Tatem

    My heart broke when I heard the news about Andrew’s struggle. He was a neat kid. The world was a better place for having had him in it. I am so sorry for your pain. Sending prayers and love.

  8. Kelly Stephens

    I am so sorry for your loss… many prayers for all of you!
    I know you gave Andrew a wonderful life and so much love… he was blessed you found him and made him family.

  9. Christine Turner

    May your cherished memories of time spent together bring you comfort. Andrew’s life has impacted so many family and friends. Prayers for peace for Andrew and comfort. #mentalhealthawareness

  10. Carol Bearman

    Lannen family,
    Sending you love and wishing you peace in this difficult time.

  11. O'Connor Family

    Our thoughts and prayers are with your entire family. Thank you so much for sharing Andrew’s story. Your words will help so many.

    Tim O’Connor
    Friend & Classmate

  12. Lois Wilson

    May the memories you hold sustain you in the days ahead. Blessings to you and your family.

  13. Pam Faber

    Your family is in my prayers. Thank you for sharing Andrew’s story. God be with you and give you strength.

  14. Jodie Galik

    Tom, Heidi, and Matthew:
    My heart goes out to all of you. Andrew was a true blessing to you as you were to him. Thank you for sharing his story. Hopefully it will be a help to others out there who are struggling. Take care of yourselves and know that he is at peace now and waiting for you at the Pearly Gates. Love to all of you.

  15. Darren Chernesky

    He was a great and lovely friend to me and all of my close friends in are group. Andrew was amazing and would drop anything to give you a hand if you needed it. Besides his struggles and everything he was going through. I pray my he is in a better place now. And I pray everyday for everyone that was close to him. Will be truly missed. Love you buddy Darren

  16. Alyssa perna

    Such a young life gone too soon. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of his loved ones. May your soul always be at rest. ❤️

  17. The Peterson Family (David, Kerrie, Ben and Anna

    Although we never met Andrew, it is obvious that he was an amazing young man, and he is loved very much. You are all in our prayers.

  18. Amy Faber Beard

    I knew Andrew was going to be a part of Tom and Heidi’s family when I was 15 years old. How you ask did I know that when I was in high school? Tom and I were riding a bus for a school activity. We were talking about the future. He said he wanted to make a boatload of money so he could spoil his parents and family. But more than that he wanted to adopt a child. He said, “what’s better than giving a child a home?” I believe that Andrew was birthed in God’s heart that day we spoke. He was then birthed into Heidi and Tom’s lives around the age of two. God knew exactly who Andrew needed as parents and how much love he would get from their entire family. This is a very special and cherished memory.

    The first time I met Andrew he climbed up in my lap and gave me a hug. Even when he was in grade school he would always ask about me. If I was on crutches he would ask how I was doing. If I wasn’t walking on crutches he would tell me how wonderful it was to see me up walking on my own. He had a sensitivity and wisdom beyond his years. However he was also all boy. One of my fondest memories was having dinner out at the lake with the family. Matt and Andrew started getting into it. I don’t know who started it but after throwing drinks in each other’s faces it was quickly stopped. I found it hilarious being able to see the uninhibited side that all boys seem to have when they’re young. That memory makes me smile. Although I have many more memories I think those memories sum up Andrew in a nut shell.

    For those of you who may not understand depression and suicide I just want to point out that it is just as insidious and deadly as cancer. We need to start approaching it with the same aggressiveness as we treat cancer. However, make no mistake, Andrew did not take his own life… Depression took Andrew’s life. But take heart, depression did not kill Andrew’s loving spirit. That lives on in Andrew’s soul, his family and all of us. I will never speak of Andrew in whispers. I will speak proudly and loudly about his life. And whenever I see a shooting star I will smile and think of Andrew. And though you are gone Andrew please know that you will be loved and missed until we meet again. Lord, be with all the broken hearted especially Andrew’s family.

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