Andy Yender liked to build things.
He built houses. He built a family. And he helped build a community.
"Being a lifelong resident of Lisle, his heart and soul were in this community," Lisle Mayor Joe Broda said Tuesday. "He loved this community more than anything else."
One of the charter members of the Lisle Heritage Society, Andy died Saturday, July 2, at age 93.
Born March 31, 1918, in what is now the Netzley-Yender house, part of the Museums at Lisle Station Park, Andy helped remind people of the village's rich past.
The farmhouse, built in the late 1850s and purchased in 1910 by George Yender, Andy's father, was moved to Station Park from its original location on Ogden Avenue in 1987.
Friends and family members alike recall Andy's stories of growing up on the farm, riding ponies to school and delivering milk from the family's dairy.
"That was one of the things I enjoyed most," daughter Ruth Yender said of her father. "Hearing him talk about how things were when he was young."
It's apparent Ruth wasn't the only one who enjoyed Andy's stories.
Each May, third-graders from St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, where Andy was a longtime member, as well as children from other schools would flock to the Netzley-Yender house to hear Andy's boyhood tales.
"The stories that he could tell about this community were unimaginable," Broda said.
Those who knew him remember Andy, who also served from 1979 to 1985 as a Lisle village trustee, as a dedicated member of the town and a proud World War II veteran.
As a sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps 163rd Liaison Squadron, 7th Air Force, Andy fought in the Pacific Theater in the Battle of Okinawa.
After he returned from the war in 1946, he looked forward to Memorial Day and July 4 celebrations and was always "very very proud of his military service," Marilyn Cawiezel, a fellow charter member of the Heritage Society, said.
He also was instrumental in the construction of the Lisle VFW post as well as naming the post after his best friend, Ross Bishop, who died in World War II.
Most of all, he is remembered for his love of building and his generous nature.
"His gift was as a carpenter and he shared that freely with everyone," said Pat Cawiezel, who often worked with Andy.
Andy built more than 50 houses around Lisle and helped maintain the properties at Station Park.
Even after he retired, Pat recalls how he would help other residents with small repairs, never accepting money for his work.
"He could fix things other people were stumped with," Ruth said.
Andy's wife, Viola Yender; his son, Andy Yender Jr.; and his daughter, Arlene Yender, preceded him in death. He is survived by his daughter, Ruth Yender, and other family members.
A visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 7, at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home, 44 S. Mill St. in Naperville, and from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Friday, July 8, at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 820 Division St., Lisle.
Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday following the visitation with an interment afterward at Lisle Cemetery.