Andree Bannon, 88

Andree Bannon

Andree Bannon

MYSTIC, CONN. — Andree Laure Florin Bannon, 88, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 at Mystic Manor, where she was cared for over the last two years.

Andree was born in Bouillon, Belgium on Aug. 3, 1926. In 1940, her village was overrun by the Nazis. Her home was destroyed by bombs at the age of 14. Consequently, she lived the next four years in the basement of another family home. During occupation, Andree lived a courageous life, often rebelling against the soldiers’ commands, risking life and family. Andree confronted her oppressors the only way an adolescent might know how. Warned by her mother not to challenge the soldiers posted at street corners, she once struck out at the Nazi trooper on her street, throwing down her bicycle at his feet stating, “I guess you need this too!” They had taken everything else, so she protested. The threat of a whipping came from that soldier’s response. For defiantly refusing to submit to the soldiers’ and her mother’s warnings, she was kept inside the house for her own safety. Her father, Auguste’, was part of the French Resistance. His challenge was to guard his three kids and loving wife while secretly resisting the invaders.

Andree’s life was changed when she was rescued by the rapid entry of American soldiers pushing out the Nazis faster than they had planned. Her village was to be burned to the ground that evening. Gas was placed at every corner to help fuel the fires, but advancing Allied soldiers chased the occupiers out before the fires could be lit.

Andree married Walter W. Bannon Sr., a U.S. soldier, three years later and began a new life in America, raising six children. She was always proud of her new status as an American. Her life story has been published in two books recorded during her yearlong stay in Bridgton. Bridgton author, Alice Anderson helped to assemble the details of her life. Andree published, He Was There All The Time, and a year later, after Andree had lived in Bridgton, Walt published, The White Pocketbook

She is survived by Chris and Walt Bannon of Bridgton, Mike Bannon of Preston, Conn., and Elaine Tetlow of Mystic, Conn.; and 11 grandchildren. Twenty-seven grandchildren are also part of her legacy.

She was predeceased by her husband, Walter; and daughters, Phyllis Watkins and Marian Martin.

A service will be held on Friday, March 6, 1 p.m. at Faith Fellowship in New London, Conn., where she dedicated her life to serving the church’s outreach to children. Cards may be sent to: Andree Bannon, c/o Elaine Tetlow, 3 School Street, Mystic, Ct. 06355. Funeral arrangements are directed by Byles-MacDougall Funeral Service in New London, Conn.

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