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Tribute to

Wayne Andrus

Founder of Oregon License Plates.

 1929 to 2006


 A Tribute to Wayne, the founder of the company,

as written by his wife, Dee.





   A. WAYNE ANDRUS 12/14/1929 - 3/28/2006

    By: Dee Andrus

    Wayne was a native Oregonian as were his parents Budd Andrus and Florence      Hassell Andrus.  Wayne was raised in and around the Eugene, Oregon vicinity.      He  and his parents lived for a few short months in Vallejo, California during WWII   while his father worked in the shipyards.  They then moved back to the Eugene area. 

 Wayne attended Pacific University in Forest Grove and the University of Oregon.  He was hired by the City of Eugene as a firefighter in 1951.  He and his father Budd Andrus opened Andrus Machine Works shortly after that and Wayne worked two jobs for the next 30 years. 

 Wayne always had a fascination for anything that dealt with cars.  He became a collector of automobile paraphernalia.  He restored and owned more than one antique car.  1934 was his favorite year of cars and in particular the Ford Phaeton.   Wayne liked unique cars.  As a single man he once owned an amphibious jeep. (He often told stories of accidentally sinking the vehicle and then rescuing it). 

 It was during his restoration of and acquiring parts for his 1934 Ford Phaeton that he became interested in license plates for old cars.  This interest became what he called the tail wagging the dog.  Most of the license plates he acquired were not in good shape which prompted him to try to restore them to original condition.  Painting them by hand was not successful.  Wayne developed his own method for straightening the plates and preparing them for the painting process.  Owning a machine shop was a fortunate stroke as he could build a painting machine that processed the plates. It is a one of a kind, still to this day.  

  Straightening the plates and taking out dings and dents was a tedious job.  Wayne created small tools to work on the plate's blemishes.  He sat for hours perfecting the individual plates so they would paint properly in the painting machine.  The straightening process was similar to the old fashioned auto-body and fender work done by hand, only in miniature.  The onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis and then the progression of the disease in Wayne's hands eventually prevented him from continuing his beloved hobby of restoring license plates.

 Being a collector at heart Wayne had started the hobby of collecting miniature liquor bottles.  He began this before it became necessary to stop restoration of the license plates.  This hobby then became his foremost passion.  He collected miniature bottles from all over the world.  This new hobby took the two of us on many interesting journeys.  We went to destinations we probably would not have otherwise visited if there had not been a bottle show and convention being held there.  Wayne was always going to specialize in a given liquor, brand or type of bottle.  He could never do that because he would always find all bottles of interest to him.  A friend once said that Wayne's favorite bottle was the one he held in his hand at any given moment.  At last estimate just before Wayne died the count was around 10,000 miniatures.

 When his children were young he built a motor home out of a mid-size school bus.  The family enjoyed many vacation trips in this vehicle which was painted Hugger Orange (really red).  It was pretty snazzy and a lot of fun for everyone.  It was as well equipped as the commercially built motor homes.  This vehicle also served as a place to stay close to the expo center in Portland during the Portland Swap meets.  There was always a small car in tow behind the motor home, usually small cars.  These small cars got a little cramped as the children grew and all five children plus Wayne and his wife piled into one for sight seeing or trips for groceries while they were all camped out in the motor home.

  Wayne Andrus and his wife raised 5 children who eventually produced16 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.  Wayne was a man who wore many hats.  He was a husband, father, firefighter, businessman, musician, hobbyist and all around good guy.  He made the lives of each of his family members interesting and enjoyable. 






Last Updated 09 Mar 2007

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