Andrew Fuller McIlravey aka "Mac" 93, a 58 year resident of Sherman CT., passed away peacefully on January 6th, 2021 at Danbury Hospital.
Andrew was born in Washington Depot, CT to Andrew McIlravey and Margaret Manchester McIlravey on August 23, 1927 during the great depression. He attended local schools in Washington and upon graduation from high school enlisted into the U.S. Navy in 1945 to continue a family legacy of wartime service. With the victory soon to follow, he was honorably discharged in 1946 with a Victory Medal as a Fireman 2nd Class after serving on the USS OKALOOSA. Almost immediately after stepping off the ship Andy enrolled in The Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA., where he graduated in 1949 with a degree in Aeronautics Engineering. Planes were his passion at that time until discovering auto racing a bit later in life. Upon his graduation from WIT, America had gotten involved in the Korean Conflict so Mac decided to take this newly acquired knowledge to practical use and fulfill his original commitment to two years of military service. He was lucky enough to stay stateside and again was honorably discharged with another wartime Service Medal. Loehmann's Chevrolet in Waterbury, CT was his first job after the military and this would begin a life long career in automotive repair. He also worked at DanRidge Chevrolet specializing in big commercial trucks in Danbury, CT as well as Hayes Chevrolet in New Milford CT. Hayes sent him to school where he would become a Certified GM Technician with over 40 years practical experience and schooling combined. He was also the technician chosen to learn to operate and maintain the first automotive diagnostic computer equipment in the New Milford area. In between Loehmanns and DanRidge, Andy's desire to own and wrench a race car brought him to purchasing a gas station in the center of New Milford at Rte. 7 and Bridge St., which was then known as "The Circle". New Milford residents would come to know this gas station as Circle Service Texaco. This station would give Andy an income, a sponsor for a race car and a place to store and work on the car. It was not an easy time as he would suffer through one of Connecticut's worst natural disasters," The Flood of 55'" which put the Housatonic River inside the garage almost to the ceiling. Luckily, after a thorough dry out, the business continued to thrive once again and Andrew continued to allow New Milford residents and friends to get gas and engine repair on credit and also work on and store his race car. It was about this time Andy and his best friend Bob Devine of New Fairfield, CT got together to form the Championship winning team of Circle Racing. Both men, while holding full-time jobs, raced on the average of 3 to 5 times per week and up to 200 races per year all over the local New England area like Riverside Park, Waterford Speedbowl and even Stafford Springs. They also ventured to tracks in PA, Upper NY State and New Jersey. By this time Andrew had become known to people as "Mac". When he decided to marry in 1960, Mac not only had to quell his racing career, but discontinue his stint as a business owner. He went back to working at dealerships as a Mechanic where he could rely on a steady income, complete with benefits and medical insurance. Soon after marrying Ann Ognan of Bridgewater, CT in 1960, he had his one and only child, a daughter, Mary, born in 1961. This led The McIlravey's to purchase land in the Town of Sherman where Mac would eventually reside until his death, living there for almost 60 years. After retiring from the Automobile Industry, Mac kept working well into his 80's first working for his good friend Don Goodell Owner of Circle Asphalt & Paving Co. in New Milford as a fleet mechanic where he was allowed to work around his new auto racing hobby, spectating.
He became widowed in 1975 and soon Mac met his longtime companion and fellow race fan, Ms. Lelah Somers of Dover Plains, NY. Together for 45 years, Mac and Lee beginning with attending the Danbury Racearena every Sat night until it closed in 1981, traveled all up and down the eastern seaboard following racing with a camper (as a lifetime Good Sam member)going to Florida every February up until recently. They then started attending racing at Riverside Park in Agawam, Ma after spending Friday night at Stafford Springs, CT. Lee's family became a huge part of Mac's life including him in every life event and treating him as a second Dad and Grandpa Mac. Mac never turned down a request from a friend or neighbor to help with car repairs even well into his late 80's. He plowed his own driveway every year with his self maintained pride and joy, a 59' Willys Jeep Pickup which he actually at one point, used to plow the private road for the association behind his home. He never stopped working, always doing something. Andrew was a longtime member of The American Legion Post #31 in New Milford CT. He attended many luncheons thrown by The Sher- man Senior Center and loved to socialize with everyone whether it be a New England Antique Racers (also a longtime member) Banquet or at a junkyard. He attended the SNYRA Danbury Racearena Reunions every year and never missed a chance to go to the races until the pandemic changed life as we know it.
He is survived by his only child Mary and his son-in-law Glenn, a first cousin Mr. Earl Woodman of East Holden, Maine, and Lelah Somers his lifelong companion of Dover Plains, NY as well as hundreds of dear friends whose lives were affected by the void his passing will leave.
Due to the current pandemic, services will be postponed until a later date. His plan was to be laid to rest with his parents, grandparents and other family members at the McIlravey Memorial in the Washington Green Cemetery. Friends and loved ones will be notified.
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