Andrea Nicol Drexelius
December 5, 1965 – July 12, 2023
Andrea Nicol Drexelius passed from this life to the next on July 12th, 2023 in Newport Beach, California at the age of 57, after a brief and courageous battle with cancer.
Andrea was born December 5th, 1965 in Laguna Beach, CA, the fourth of five children of Dr. Richard J. “Dick” and Virginia Lorraine “Lori” (Watrin) Drexelius. She and her four siblings were raised in Laguna Beach, and all attended St. Catherine of Siena Grade School there. Later Andrea attended Cornelia Connelly High School in Anaheim, CA. Childhood summers were largely spent with friends and family, working around town, especially at the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach. During her time at Connelly HS, Andrea received her first taste of international travel as an exchange student to Ireland.
After graduating high school, Andrea first attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX but later transferred back to So. Cal and then graduated from UCLA in 1988, with a bachelor’s degree in economics. She left So. Cal soon after graduation, leading a Bohemian young worker life in New York City for several years. She worked first for Morgan Stanley in money management, and later for Rockefeller and Co., engaging in property management as well as other areas of finance.
During her early business career, Andrea traveled abroad whenever she could, including Europe and Japan. Andrea was a “sponge” when it came to areas of culture, whether it be art, music, cooking, wine, or travel. French culture was her special passion. Later in her career, Andrea left New York to seek an opportunity to live abroad. She learned to speak the French language fluently, lived in Paris for nearly 3 years, and studied art history at the Ecole du Louvre (all in French). Andrea moved back to New York for a few years, but after the trauma of 9/11, made the decision to move back to Laguna Beach permanently. Nevertheless, wherever she was and whatever she was doing, Andrea always maintained her love of French culture and especially her “joie de vivre.” In her later years, many summers were spent at an historic home in Beaune, France, which was a very special place for her.
After returning to So. Cal, Andrea started her own business, French Basketeer, importing and then selling classic French baskets & totes from the former French colonies of Madagascar and Morocco. She formed a French speaking social group in Laguna Beach. She also worked in office management at various times with her father Dick’s and sister Janis’s respective medical practices. Andrea volunteered many hours serving on the Connelly HS Board of Trustees. She enjoyed helping others at the Laguna Farmer’s market, cooking meals for friends and really anyone in need of assistance. Andrea was famous for her homemade cakes, her panache at throwing parties, and helping others to entertain. Andrea loved her family and her many friends. She was devoted to her nieces and nephews, and especially to her parents, helping to care for them and living with them until the end, at the family home in North Laguna Beach.
Andrea is survived by her mother, Lori Drexelius, her sister Michelle (Marc) Spitaleri of Huntington Beach, her sister Janis (Martin) Fee of North Tustin, her brother Rick (Leticia) Drexelius of Sedalia, Colorado, and her younger sister Jacqueline (Mark) Phillips of Cody, Wyoming. She was preceded in death by her father, Dick Drexelius.
A memorial mass will be held at 10am on Saturday, September 16th, at St. Catherine of Siena Parish Church in Laguna Beach. The mass is open to the public, family and friends. In lieu of flowers, donations in Andrea’s name may be made to the Laguna Beach Food Pantry (lagunafoodpantry.org).
Laguna Beach Food Pantry
- Website: https://www.lagunafoodpantry.org