Peter (Andy) Andrunyk celebrates his 100th birthday next week.

Peter (Andy) Andrunyk celebrates his 100th birthday next week.

Community invited to “Andy’s” 100th birthday

Peter Andrunyk, best known in the lakecity as Andy the Welder, turns 100 next week.

Peter Andrunyk, best known in the lakecity as Andy the Welder, turns 100 next week.

Peter was given the nickname Andy when he arrived in the lakecity back in 1958 and it stuck.

From the time he was a small boy Andy had an interest in how things worked.

He spent his childhood building bicycles, planes and cars and as he grew, developed skills as a mechanic and welder that were well known in Williams Lake and area for 35 years.

Andy was born May 5, 1916 to Pananka (nee Dazowski) and Demytro Andrunyk, immigrants from Austria in Cochrane, Ontario. He grew up on the family farm in  a two-bedroom farm house with two brothers and six sisters.

His dad decided early on that it would be a better for Andy to have a trade so after Grade 3, Andy began working in a local machine shop where he learned about mechanics and welding.

As a young teen during the Dirty 30s depression years, Andy took his skills on the road, riding the rails west, working for meals and lodging at farms along the way.

In Alberta he landed a job at a garage where he earned his proficiency ticket as a mechanic.

This ticket qualified him to join the air force and then work as a flight engineer during the Second World War.

After the war Andy settled in Vancouver where he purchased and ran Black Top Cabs. From there he started driving logging trucks, then taking a job as a welder at a shop in Vancouver.

By 1958 he was ready to own his own business again, so he loaded up his family,  and belongings and headed for Williams Lake. He married Bertha Kane of Lillooet and they had one child, Nancy.

Andy opened his shop Cariboo Mobile Welders in Williams Lake where he worked on logging trucks and other industrial equipment and travelled to ranches in the region to work on farm equipment.

During the winter there were always frozen pipes and frantic calls for help.

He was known for his cast iron welding, a very involved procedure that he had mastered well. He was also known for the templates that he would make to either fix or make something new.

If you had something broken Andy the Welder was the one to go see.

Andy became involved in several Williams Lake clubs over the years such as the legion, rod and gun club, stock car racing club and Shriners.

For fun times he played a guitar with a few others who played at dances. He also loved to hunt and fish and did lots of both.

In his 60s Andy spent lots of time on his boat the Ne Plus which you could find at Quesnel Lake or out on the ocean at Bella Coola.

After Andy retired at the age of 77 he moved to his home on Fifth Avenue North behind Safeway.

There he found a love for gardening and every season produced a variety of  vegetables. Like everything he did, he always liked to try new plants and new ways of growing.

Many people admired his garden and always made mentioned of it when passing by.

Andy moved to Deni House in October of 2014. Life in Williams lake suited him well and he is able to celebrate 100 years young. There will be an open house for Andy at Deni House on Thursday, May 5 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come and congratulate him.