Obituary of Claude John Andersen
Claude John Andersen, 70, of Great Falls, Virginia, passed away on May 2, 2022.
His was a life rooted in service. Claude attended Marmion Military Academy, a Roman Catholic high school for boys in Aurora, Illinois, where he was a top student, played the Alto Saxophone in the school band, and was a four-year member of the football team. His senior year, he achieved the highest student military rank of Battalion Commander, overseeing all military marches and displays. Claude achieved and, throughout his life, exemplified the highest rank in Scouting: Eagle Scout and the Order of The Arrow, Scouting's National Honor Society, and Ad Altare Dei.
Marmion, at the time, was a boarding school that provided a four-year Army ROTC program. Marmion reinforced his faith, and while there, Claude achieved academic success while honing his leadership skills. He ranked between first and third place academically in his class throughout his four years. Claude received a full four-year Army ROTC scholarship to Georgetown University upon graduation. With the Vietnam War persisting, however, after his sophomore year at Georgetown, Claude made the difficult decision to walk away from the military scholarship and pay his own way. And so began his career in the restaurant industry…
With an unwavering work ethic, the most notable and respected pillar of his character, Claude juggled school while washing dishes, waiting tables, and working as a short-order cook at several restaurants around town. Looking for yet another job, the determined college student walked into Clyde's of Georgetown, not knowing his life was about to change. It would be the last job Claude ever looked for. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1973 with a BSBA in Finance.
Over the next few years, Claude held virtually every job at Clyde's. He was a manager of the newly opened Clyde's in Columbia, Maryland, in 1976, later promoted to General Manager of Old Ebbitt Grill and then of Clyde's of Tysons Corner. A lifelong learner, Claude quickly attained an advanced knowledge of food and wine. One of the accomplishments that Claude was particularly proud of was curating the fine wine collection at Clyde’s of Tysons Corner. The restaurant went on to later host grand wine festivals and events, earning recognition as one of the first restaurants in Northern Virginia with an upscale wine list and menu.
In 1994, Claude became Corporate Operations Manager responsible for overseeing the company's ongoing operations and development of management and staff. He was later promoted to Vice President of HR & Recruiting, which he held until his retirement in 2019.
A leader in the Washington metropolitan area's restaurant community, Andersen had been a member of the Board of Directors for the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM) and on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) and was committed to many other community organizations like Visit Fairfax. Over the years, Claude received many awards & honors, including in 2019 when he was named the recipient of the John G. Laytham Exceptional Leadership and Impact Award by RAMW.
However, his most significant and rewarding experience at Clyde's Restaurant Group was meeting Carrie Clark at Old Ebbitt Grill in 1986. On October 21, 1989, the two were married and settled in Northern Virginia, where they have lived ever since.
In addition to his wife of 32 years, Claude is survived by his children, John "Clark" Andersen of Virginia, Bridget Clare Andersen of Canada, Lucas Evan Andersen also of Virginia, his father, a 94-year-old World War II veteran, Nathaniel Harrison Andersen of Florida, his sisters Donna Andersen Mendenhall of Indiana, Katie Andersen of Arkansas, and Paula Barkman of Tennessee. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Nora and Dennis Drake, Lisa and Dennis Bolt, Leslie J. and Dale Perry Clark, Maura J. and Ramy Radmanesh of Maryland, Ellen C. and Greg Wulchin of Virginia and many nieces, nephews, and godchildren. Claude was preceded in death by his mother, Dolores (Dobosz) Andersen.
As an Eagle Scout, Claude continued to serve local Boy Scout organizations, including Troops 673 and 55, both of Great Falls, Virginia. Claude lived by the Scout slogan, "Do a good turn daily." No job was too small or too great for Claude. Whether it was his days as an altar boy, the afternoon paper route of his youth, his summer jobs as a mailman, carpenter, and railroad tank car cleaner, or his four-decade career with Clyde's, Claude gave it his all. Though a stoic man, his immense love and pride for his family were always visible. His generosity and compassion extended to his work family as he tirelessly cared for each employee.
A man of extraordinary compassion, Claude was well known for caring for the individual. He valued each person’s gifts, saw their potential, and helped them achieve their goals. Part coach, part cheerleader, Claude counseled and encouraged many, often outside the focus of Clyde’s, helping springboard them into other careers and pursuits.
A ‘Battalion Commander’ to the end, Claude mindfully led and mentored thousands. The number of lives he touched is too great a number to calculate. Claude preferred staying in the background He was an incredibly humble man, always preferring to allow others to shine. When his job required someone to play the heavy, he’d do so, but only so others didn't have to. He was honest and fair, deliberate and empathetic, and undoubtably, loyal to the core. To know Claude is to love him.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, May 20 at 1 pm at Saint Luke Catholic Church, McLean, Virginia, with a visitation on Thursday, May 19, from 2-5 pm at Adams-Green Funeral Home, Herndon, Virginia.
The family asks: Please direct donations to Claude's high school, Marmion, a Roman Catholic high school for boys. The academy is owned and operated by the Benedictine monks of Marmion Abbey on campus. It is known for its three pillars: Spirituality, Academics, and Leadership. Marmion played a formational role in Claude's life. Please note the gift is in "Memory of Claude Andersen '69".
Marmion Academy Advancement Office
1000 Butterfield Road
Aurora, IL 60502