Andrew Vastano '67 July 19, 2022 11:04 AM updated: July 19, 2022 11:08 AM
Dr. Andrew C. Vastano
February 26, 1936 — June 1, 2022
Andrew Charles Vastano, 86, a longtime resident of College Station, died Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
Drew was born in New York City on February 26, 1936. His parents, Lorraine Sartoris Vastano and Vincent Joseph Vastano, both second generation Americans, had high hopes and expectations for their only child. Drew first attended a parochial school and later a private school in New York City until 1947 when his father was transferred to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Drew graduated from Glenn High School in 1952, then attended North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University). He graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear engineering. Drew was a member of ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Program) during his four years in college and upon graduation received his commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. Having graduated at a time when there was not a great need for second lieutenants, Drew was employed by Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut before reporting for active duty at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. He served six months of active duty and was allowed to complete the remainder of his commitment in the Army Reserves, later discharging as a first lieutenant.
Drew met Elizabeth (Libby) Bratten in 1954 while both were in college. On September 6, 1958, they married in Winston-Salem at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. After their honeymoon in the Smoky Mountains, they resided in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as Drew attended the University of North Carolina and worked on a master's degree in physics. Their first child, John Andrew, was born in Chapel Hill. Once Drew obtained his master's degree, the family moved to Winston-Salem where Drew worked for Western Electric, Bell Laboratory. It was in Winston-Salem their daughter, Susan Elizabeth, was born. The family of four moved to College Station, Texas as Drew taught in the Physics Department while simultaneously working on his PhD in physical oceanography. After two years, he gave up teaching to concentrate on completing his PhD. While in College Station, Joseph Paul and Ann Rachel were born. Upon graduation, Drew accepted a teaching position at the University of Florida in Gainesville and later a research position at Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Massachusetts. The family finally returned and put down roots in College Station when Drew accepted a position in the Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University. Though Drew was involved in both research and teaching at A&M, it was teaching that he most loved. He was the recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Award from the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University. He was also a namesake for both a Fish Camp and a T-Camp (a camp for transfers to A&M.) Drew retired in 2013.
Unfortunately, it was at about that time that dementia insidiously began robbing him of his enthusiasm for life, his beautiful sense of humor, his superb mind, and his love of family, friends, and the natural world.
Drew is survived by his wife of 63 years, Libby, and his four children and their families: John and Lara Vastano of Los Altos, California, and their children Emily, Allison, Elizabeth, and Alexander; Susan and Gregory Vaughan of Palo Alto, California, and their son Graham; Joseph and Michelle Vastano of Fairview, Texas, and their children Julia and Joseph; and Ann and Brian Wigley of Winchester, Virginia, and their children Brett, Madelyn, Hayden and fiancé Angela Raco. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Douglas Bratten of Wilton New Hampshire; sister-in-law, Judy Bratten of Hopedale, Ohio; and numerous nephews and nieces.
The family would like to thank the caregivers of Right at Home, especially Queen Gaines, who could always get a smile from Drew. They made it possible for him to remain at home for a much longer period than would otherwise have been possible. Enhabit Home Health and Hospice staff members were a big help to both Drew and the family, especially his nurse, Amy. The family also thanks the staff at Hudson Creek Alzheimer's Special Care Center for their loving and thoughtful care of Drew during the last months of his life.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Friends of the Bryan College Station Library, PO Box 3184, Bryan, Texas, 77805, or to a charity of your choice.