Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford was proud to represent Andrew (“Andy”) Pulsts, a remarkable individual, who died last December after battling mesothelioma for nearly five years. Andy’s family came from the small country of Latvia located on the Baltic Sea. As the Second World War came to a close and the Soviet Union took control of Latvia, Andy’s family fled to Germany, where they took refuge in a displaced persons camp. Andy was born in the city of Wentorf, on April 19, 1946.
When Andy was five years old, he arrived at Ellis Island with his parents, grandparents, two brothers, two sisters, and numerous aunts and uncles. Shortly after the family immigrated to the United States, church sponsors relocated the Pulsts family to a seventy-two acre farm in the town of Danby, near Ithaca, New York. Andy spent most of his childhood working on the family farm raising livestock. In the eleventh grade, Andy left high school to pursue work as a carpenter. He referred to his work as “odd jobs,” because it was much more than hammering nails and sawing wood. He learned how to build houses from the ground up by pouring cement, framing, roofing, plumbing, painting, hanging drywall and sanding.
On March 29, 2006, at the age of fifty-nine, Andy’s life changed forever when a biopsy revealed mesothelioma. His mesothelioma was caused by his exposure to asbestos-containing building materials, including joint compound or mud. Mixing and sanding asbestos-containing joint compound emits tremendous amounts of asbestos dust. As a result, Andy regularly inhaled the dangerous asbestos dust and fibers without wearing protective gear and without knowing it could cause him harm.
In the years that followed his mesothelioma diagnosis, Andy endured numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as well as a couple of operations. Despite the painful treatments and his grim prognosis, Andy never lost his will to live, and his long-time passion for the outdoors continued to flourish. Andy shot his last deer this past season, got a wild turkey in Michigan Hollow and four partridges on Connecticut Hill. He amazed his doctors by showing them pictures of his hunting trophies.
Andy and his brother, Yeppie, were well known in Ithaca for their distinctive canoe, which was always attached to the hood of Andy’s car. At a moment’s notice, the Pulsts boys were ready to fish. Their passion for fishing took them to the Susquehanna River for walleye and muskie. Andy also enjoyed the short trip up North on Route 89, along Cayuga Lake to Taughannock Falls, for brown trout and salmon. The beautiful hills, pastures and streams surrounding Andy’s home were his playground. His turkey and deer hunting became legendary in Central New York. He was recognized for his ability to spot well-stocked hunting and fishing grounds throughout Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region.
Memories of Andy will live on with his family and friends. On many occasions, after a successful hunting or fishing trip, Andy invited friends and family over for a few beers and a fish fry or game dinner. He loved being alive and able to enjoy and share the fruits of life with his loved ones.
Andy lost his battle with mesothelioma and passed away on December 26, 2010.