More than 300 friends and relatives turned out recently to pay their respects to Reigate leading light Andrew Glass, who died last month at the age of 90.
The memorial service at Reigate Park Church heard how Mr Glass of Park Lane had contributed his time and energy to the benefit of many local groups and causes throughout his life, as well as running Andrew Glass Stationers in Church Street, Reigate, for about 30 years.
He and wife Julie, who had three children, four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year.
Mr Glass, who was born in 1923 in Warnham, was a member of the Scouts and the Home Guard, volunteered for Army Services in 1942, and was commissioned and joined the 59th Infantry Division in 1944. He crossed to Normandy 19 days after the D-Day landings, landing on Gold Beach and taking part in the liberation of Caen. After time abroad, he was decommissioned in 1946 as a full Lieutenant, and returned home to join Colgate Palmolive as a sales rep for the Worcestershire and Gloucestershire area, where he worked for five years. He was promoted to area manager for Surrey but resigned in 1952 to take on a partnership in a tobacconists and confectioners shop in Leatherhead.
Four years later, Mr Glass sold the Leatherhead business and opened Andrew Glass Stationers, introducing a new method of service – self-selection.
Over the next 28 years, the shop extended downstairs, next door and across the road, building a name for service and selection. Mr Glass became well-known within the industry and became an honorary member of the Society of Old Friends and honorary civic President of the Reigate and Redhill Chamber of Commerce.
He had joined Rotary in Leatherhead, and moved across to Reigate Rotary in 1956, becoming President of the club in 1969.
Later, he became chairman and an honorary member of Reigate Probus Club, and set up the Reigate Hill Rotary club in 1986. Among many other roles, Mr Glass was central in organising the Mayor of Reigate and Banstead's charity concerts between 1986 and 2001, which raised more than £60,000 over those years for local causes.
Awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship in 1990 and a Paul Harris Sapphire Fellowship in 2006 for his outstanding contribution to the Rotary movement, of which he was a member for more than 60 years, Mr Glass was also a committed performer with East Surrey Operatic Society, appearing in more than 80 shows and at one point serving as its President.
In 1991, the family suffered the loss of Katie, the Glass' daughter, who died at the age of 29.
In the memorial service address given by Mr Glass' sons Matt and Peter, Peter described how someone had described his father as “Mr Reigate” in a letter, and called him a “lion-hearted big man, in size and stature, whose life was full and purposeful, and who gave time and love to us all as a friend, father, husband and relation.”