Remembering Longtime PSI’er Andrew Boner

by Karl Hofmann, President & CEO, PSI

It is with deep sadness, but also with a heart filled with love, that PSI remembers our long-serving colleague and friend, Andrew Boner, who passed away last week.

We are deeply sad because Andrew left his family in Vermont and his PSI family much sooner than he should have after battling cancer for many years.  Many might be forgiven for not knowing that Andrew was ill, since he remained hard at work right up until the very end.  Some years ago he was given a very serious prognosis, and yet through courage and persistence, Andrew proved that prognosis wrong year after year.

But our hearts are also full of love because Andrew touched so many of us over the years with his infectious humor, ready smile, ironic wit and his deep and thoughtful commitment to helping every PSIer be better at their jobs.  Andrew exuded love, affection and good comradeship.

Andrew started at PSI in 1992 as a Program Assistant.  In his offer letter was written: “It is our hope and desire that you would find PSI sufficiently rewarding and that PSI would be sufficiently pleased with your performance that you would have a long tenure here, possibly including service overseas.”  Both turned out to be true.  Andrew served as Country Representative in the Central African Republic (one of our tougher duty stations) and there helped to launch PSI’s work in insecticide-treated mosquito nets, which as we know now accounts for roughly half our global health impact.  Andrew christened our social marketed nets there “Fa-Ngungu,” which was rated one of the worst PSI brand names ever.  He was very proud of it.

Subsequently, Andrew served as Country Representative in Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Nepal and Thailand, and most recently as Deputy Director for Southern Africa, then Anglophone Africa.  He took a break in service to be with family in Vermont.  At one point, we tried to maneuver Andrew into the position of head of PSI’s then-new voluntary medical male circumcision program.  We thought his business cards would have been memorable.  Instead, he went back to Asia and served with great dedication.  Andrew was one of our cherished PSI “boomerangs.”

I know Andrew loved traveling to the field and reconnecting with his time there. He was excellent and dedicated at HQ, but I think he was most at home when he was with his PSI sisters and brothers in a country program, wrestling with conflicting donor regulations, an unreachable local Ministry of Health, internet connectivity gaps, and audit pressures – but still figuring out how to get it all done for our clients. What a sunny, upbeat and “we can do this” kind of person, was Andrew.

Andrew’s wife Lennette and their children Zoe and Adrian were with Andrew when he passed away, at home, on August 9. We send them our deepest love and support.  Lennette said, “Our sweet Andrew is no longer suffering. He is in peace and is love. Only love now.”

Andrew worked for PSI right up until his last day.  We were his extended family.  We will miss him dearly.

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