Lewis Andrew Pick, Jr.

NO. 17767  •  

Died 28 October 1993 in Opelika, Alabama, aged 65 years
Interment: Pine Hills Cemetery, Auburn, Alabama


LEWIS ANDREW PICK, JR., was born in New Orleans, where his father was serving with the Corps of Engineers. During his boyhood he lived at various Army posts and civil works locations. His father was to become one of the outstanding Army engineers of World War II, the builder of "Pick's Pike," a 425 mile section of the Ledo Road. Andy attended Culver Military Academy, graduating in 1945.

Andy's red hair and dynamic personality brought him early attention from both the upperclassmen and his congenial classmates in K‑2. The Howitzer highlighted his self-confidence, friendly manner, and ability to add zest to any gathering.

Andy's first assignment after graduation in June of 1950 was with the Field Artillery, 3rd Infantry Division. He deployed with the Division from Fort Benning to Korea, where he served as a forward observer. He took part in the division's 1950 and 51 campaigns and was awarded the Silver Star.

Upon returning to the United States. he transferred from the Field Artillery to the Corps of Engineers and was assigned to the

Engineer School as an instructor in tactics. He next was detailed to military construction projects in the Savannah District. After a year he returned to Fort Belvoir to attend the Advanced Course. In December of 1954, he and Frances Boddie of Valdosta, Georgia were married and made their first home at Fort Belvoir. It is hard to imagine a better suited pair than Fran and Andy.

About this time Andy began to show an interest in finance. He could stay abreast of his classes and still display a thorough familiarity with the contents of the Wall Street JournalHe wanted to know how businesses worked and knew that finance was the language of business. This interest was to be helpful in his later business career. After receiving a masters in engineering at Princeton, Andy and Fran sailed for Germany in 1956 where he was assigned to the 540th Engineer Combat Group. He commanded a separate Engineer company and later served as an operations officer for the group. Andy was a man of ideas; ideas he supported enthusiastically but with a fervor tempered by realism and humor. He ran a good unit and was willing to share his ideas. He also shared the credit for successes, resulting in more successes.

Troop duty in Europe was followed by ROTC duty, C&GSC, and service in Vietnam as Engineer advisor to the Vietnamese I Corps at Danang. He then was assigned as assistant director of Civil Works in the Office of the Chief of Engineers. His expertise in policy issues on the Army's civil functions resulted in his assignment as executive officer to the assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works.

In 1972 Andy had a difficult decision to make: to remain on active duty or retire to Auburn, Alabama to direct his family's real estate and construction business. Regretfully, he gave up the certainty of positions of great responsibility in the Army to shoulder his  family obligations. He returned to the small southern town that had been home to his family since 1892.

On the morning of the first day on the new job in Auburn, Andy had a small framing crew, one truck and an office in his mother's house. "Let's go to work" was the brief assumption of command speech. From these humble beginnings Andy became the man labeled "The Forefather of Development in Auburn." Fran joined in the fray, going to work for the first time since her marriage. Raw land was cleared, subdivisions were developed, houses and commercial buildings were constructed and sold, and the business prospered. Andy believed in making the American dream of home ownership available to the residents of Auburn.

While helping to fulfill the needs of Auburn's new home market, Andy looked at the student body of Auburn University and saw a potential market for students wanting to escape the substandard housing that existed. In 1977 he built Eagles West Apartments, a 240‑unit complex located across the street from the campus.

At an age when most people were retiring and relaxing, Andy gained ownership control and became chairman of MESA Industries, Inc., which was transformed from a struggling company to a successful corporation with operations in seven states.

An idealist as well as a practical person, Andy entered into local politics and supported worthwhile organizations. He was a Sunday school teacher until the end of his life. Although he shared his time and laughter with old and new friends, he was, at heart, a family man who adored his daughter Betsy and sons Andrew and Charles and well as grandchildren Cary Frances and Edward.

Although he had undergone open heart surgery eight years before his death, it did not seem to affect his enthusiasm or energy. The news of the final attack was a shock to everyone, including his classmates who had seen him at a mini‑reunion in Florida two weeks earlier. His last words before  leaving to join the Long Gray Line were  "When do we start?"