Andrew Flamm, obituary
SOUTH THOMASTON - Andrew Flamm, an artist, polymath, loving and steadfast husband, peerless dog lover, and great friend to many, died November 23, in his home in South Thomaston, ME. He had just turned 51 the day before on Thanksgiving. He died with his wife, Michelle, by his side. Despite Andrew’s heroic battle with cancer and his fourteen months in remission, he passed away unexpectedly from complications following treatment.
From his early days growing up in New York City to his very last in Maine, Andrew was an exceptional artist who was not bound by material or medium. His early work as a painter, interpreted and transcribed landscapes into abstract symbols and patterns placed on vast plains of golden and earth-tone hues. His work was exhibited in Philadelphia, New York and Portland, Maine.
Andrew’s artistic process, aesthetics and habit of research steered him to have success in a number of interrelated disciplines, from mushroom foraging to collecting vernacular photography. He became a successful folk-art dealer in partnership with Michelle, running Odd Fellows Antiques, which specialized in the material culture of American Fraternal Organizations. Together, they traveled all over Maine and the country collecting Americana. This shared experience spawned their most recent collaborative project, Meeting Hall Maine, photographing the network of meeting, grange, Masonic, and Odd Fellows halls throughout the state. The project is ongoing and being shared on instagram on @meeting_hall_maine. The two met, in fact, in a former Odd Fellows Hall in Mount Vernon, ME, “He came to visit Michelle (who had a studio in the former hall), and he never left” is how Andrew’s father describes their meeting.
The couple moved from Kennebec County to Knox County in 2008.
Above all, Andrew was a true bec fin, a man whose quest for the perfect lunch was legendary. In the kitchen, his code was one of rigorous simplicity, and led him into yet another career. Baking bread became his forte. His pursuit of his culinary ideals led him to cofound Maine Street Meats, an emporium of international and local food in Rockport. Along with meats and cheeses, the store featured bakery items made from his own recipes. Andrew’s vision for the store was simple, create a shop where he would want to buy food, restoring the traditional value of craft to food purveying, and by creating a source for reliable quality for everyone.
Mediocre food chilled him spiritually. “Bad food makes me feel alone in the world,” he remarked to Michelle at a restaurant that will remain nameless. Food should never make people feel alone, he believed. It’s a basic form of communication, and like all intimate talk should never be done carelessly or without feeling. Michelle notes that Andrew really loved his customers and the community he served.
The skill that might best explain his social gift was his specialty of retraining and nurturing Staffordshire/Pit Bull terriers. Frequently misunderstood, these dogs require moral courage as well as consistency in their owners. Three dogs in succession graduated Andrew’s training program, earning their places at the hearth (and sometimes on the bed).
Can a dog, or a loaf of bread, be the measure of a man? Andrew would be pleased, we think, to be judged by his stewardship of such daily and ancient necessities. His qualities redounded to the good of his friends, human and canine, who always had a place at his table and in his heart.
Andrew Flamm, born in New York City, graduated from Skidmore College, and loved living in Maine for the past twenty-eight years. He will be deeply missed by his wife and life companion of twenty-three years, Michelle Hauser, and also by his parents, Susan and Gene, his brother, Douglas, his mother-in-law, Loretta, his sister and brother-in-law, Renée (Michelle’s sister) and her husband Tom Schweinberg, his very best friend, Reet, and Lucy, his five-year-old Pit Bull.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations to be made to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 741, Danville, CA 04526, or at www.lazarex.org.