Born in Glasgow, Scotland on Dec 24,1931, Andrew moved to Arcata at age 19 to live with his cousin Mary Irene Riley, her husband Jim, sons Andrew & Scott and to find work and pursue an education at Humboldt State College (HSU). He spent two years serving in the US Army and was proud to be a Vet. A graduate of HSU in Business, he earned a second Bachelor’s Degree from American Institute for Foreign Trade (Thunderbird) at Phoenix, Arizona.

Deciding on a career in the Merchant Marines gave him the opportunity to travel and work aboard sea going vessels. He embarked on his career on the S.S. Hope as a Yeoman(administrative/clerical work). The S.S. Hope was the first peacetime hospital ship that brought medical care, heath education and humanitarian assistance to countries around the world. The voyage lasted a year and was one of the highlights of his sailing career. He was certified to sail as a chief steward (manager of entire passenger department) aboard freighters and passenger liners. He sailed for 20 years and he last worked shore-side as a port steward (coordinator of ship operations) for American President Lines in San Francisco. Andrew met his wife Barbara in 1970 while they both worked aboard passenger liners. They married in 1973, and in 1975 Andrew moved back to Arcata with Barbara and their dog Misty, to share a peaceful life together. He enjoyed golfing, following the news/current events on TV, reading mystery/suspense novels, books/magazines on travel and World Wars I & II. Travel remained his lifelong passion and he looked forward to his yearly vacations to Scotland and other places of interest.

Andrew was caring, gentle, generous, outwardly shy and reserved but was also confident and fearless with amazing inner strength. Andrew passed away on Feb. 13, 2021. A loving and beloved husband, he will be greatly missed by his wife, Barbara, who shared 47 years with him.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Andrew Cairns’ loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.