Andrew Lannen

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.

33 Comments

  • Aunt Kathy Posted November 23, 2020 3:18 pm

    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.

  • Mike Bowman Posted November 23, 2020 3:30 pm

    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.

  • Cindy Ludewig Posted November 24, 2020 12:45 pm

    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.

  • Yoshimura’s Posted November 24, 2020 1:33 pm

    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

  • Adam Kral Posted November 24, 2020 2:11 pm

    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.

  • David Cook Posted November 24, 2020 5:21 pm

    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.

  • Angele Tatem Posted November 24, 2020 5:58 pm

    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.

  • Kelly Stephens Posted November 24, 2020 8:01 pm

    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.

  • Christine Turner Posted November 24, 2020 10:42 pm

    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

  • Carol Bearman Posted November 25, 2020 7:19 am

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

  • O’Connor Family Posted November 25, 2020 8:43 am

    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

  • Lois Wilson Posted November 25, 2020 11:26 am

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

  • Pam Faber Posted November 25, 2020 12:18 pm

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

  • Jodie Galik Posted November 25, 2020 2:29 pm

    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.

  • Alyssa perna Posted November 27, 2020 6:14 pm

    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. ❤️

  • The Peterson Family (David, Kerrie, Ben and Anna Posted November 27, 2020 7:49 pm

    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.

  • Amy Faber Beard Posted November 28, 2020 6:28 pm

    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.

  • Karen Cole Posted November 29, 2020 10:52 am

    We are so very sorry for your tremendous loss. May you find comfort knowing that because of your loving and generous hearts the world was able to know Andrew. What a gift! As your hearts heal, please let the love and generosity of others help you find your way.
    Very Sincerely,
    Chuck and Karen Cole (Merd)

  • Mark Downey Posted November 29, 2020 7:35 pm

    Tom and Heidi,
    My heart aches for you and your family at this time. I had the privilege of meeting Andrew a couple of times, I think, at the Chili Cook-Off.
    Tom, your message is true and heartbreaking. We are in the middle of trying times for all…especially our young adults. Please understand you are not grieving alone. You are all in Linda’s and my prayers.
    Mark and Linda Downey

  • Sukhi Posted November 30, 2020 2:11 am

    One of my favorite memories of Andrew was when he met us in Denver two years ago for a festival. There was a game with a hook on a wooden pole. You had to swing a hook on a rope hanging from above to catch the hook on the pole. Damien and I tried a few times and failed. Andrew tried and got it on his first try like it wasn’t hard. The worker told us one had gotten it all weekend. Andrew’s prize was a blue canvas fanny pack with an uber logo printed on it. He said he did not want the prize so I kept it mostly because I felt he had accomplished an amazing feat and this memento needed to be saved. I still have it.

    The last time I saw Andrew was this past July in Illinois and the last words I said to him as we left to head home were to ask him to come visit us in CA and I am hoping in spirit he still will.

  • Jennifer Sparks Posted November 30, 2020 12:59 pm

    I can’t imagine the depth of your pain. You were both always there for him. Keep all the great memories alive. He was such a nice young man & Dan loved meeting him at the Christmas party a couple of years ago. Prayers & hugs to your entire family.

  • Sue Martin Posted November 30, 2020 6:51 pm

    Andrew was a good, kind friend to my son. I will
    Forever be grateful for this. My heart is broken for everyone who loved and had Andrew in their life.

  • Lowell Bueligen Posted November 30, 2020 7:25 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathies to you and your entire family. Difficult to find words but keep the memories close to your heart.

  • Kathie Stevens Posted December 2, 2020 7:12 pm

    My deepest sympathy goes out to all of the family and friends! Andrew sounds like an amazing young man and the wonderful memories you have are priceless! His life was taken all too soon. Prayers,thoughts and hugs!

  • Sydney Milner Posted December 3, 2020 10:48 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. Andrew was in my Communication’s Capstone course at CSU and he was in my group for our final presentations. I looked forward to being in his group because he had done so well on his individual presentation earlier in the year. He seemed hardworking and dedicated. I lost my older sister when I was just 11 years old so I know how hard it can be to continue life without a loved one. But I know that they are shining down on us now, with love and light. I will be keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers, especially during this holiday season.

  • Sue Schroeder Posted December 3, 2020 11:51 am

    Heidi and Tom, my heart hurts for you in this time of unimaginable loss. My memories of Andrew from the Ben Franklin days are of a sweet, helpful and caring boy. He always had a happy and polite greeting for me, and ALWAYS a smile. May his memory be a blessing to your family every day. Much love to you all.

  • Lawrence M Sweeney Posted December 4, 2020 7:53 pm

    Dear Heidi and Tom,
    Andrew was a sweet boy when I knew him during his St. Petronille years and I’m sure he remained as such always. I was saddened to hear from Thomas of his passing. Our deepest sympathy,
    Larry Sweeney & Family

  • Dave & Terri Brevoort Posted December 7, 2020 8:38 pm

    We are so very sorry for your family’s loss. It is truly an u imaginable pain that you are going through. May God bless you and be with you in this painful time.

  • Julia K-H Posted December 10, 2020 5:36 am

    Dear Heidi and Tom,
    I am deeply sorry for your loss. I had the privilege and the joy of having your smart, hard-working, responsible, humorous and caring son in one of my classes as a CSU professor. I am sending you my warmest thoughts, and I hope the beautiful memories of Andrew and of the precious time you spent together will give you the strength you need in this sad, tragic time.

  • MARGARET J OCONNOR-GOVETT Posted December 11, 2020 4:43 pm

    To the Lannen Family…

    God’s Blessings to you all

    Peggy OConnor and Family
    Bob, Shayna, Hannah and Olivia Rose

  • Janet and Charlie Anderson Posted December 16, 2020 8:13 am

    We are so sad to hear this heartbreaking news. We will say prayers for you and hope that God will bring you strength, courage and peace.
    Sending all our love to you.

  • Elizabeth and Michael Galle Posted December 20, 2020 4:44 pm

    We are praying for you, sending you peace and hope that God will shows you a path to comfort with the help of your friends and family.

  • Janet Posted December 30, 2020 10:07 pm

    I am deeply sorry for the loss of your son and brother. Wishing you peace, comfort and good memories of the time you had together.

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