Andrew Russell Plona, 51, beloved son of Frank and Martha (Ernest) Plona, died peacefully on January 20, 2023, with his family by his side, after a brave, 11-year battle with brain cancer. He was born March 9, 1971, in Hartford and grew up in Collinsville. Andrew graduated from Canton High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Central Connecticut State University. He had an entrepreneurial spirit that led him to pursue online commerce, and he found much joy and comaraderie through his many hobbies. Andrew was an expert cactus gardener who created beautiful outdoor gardens. He made many trips to search out the cold-hardy cactus native to New England and was a member of the Connecticut Cactus and Succulent Society for many years. He was an outdoor enthusiast who enjoyed the challenge of hiking nature trails all over Connecticut and became a talented nature photographer who was never without his cameras. Andrew had a passion for meteorology, becoming a trained storm spotter for the National Weather Service and, as a volunteer weather observer, contributed daily local data to a NWS weather network. And he never passed up an opportunity to go storm-chasing on the CT/MA border with his dad. He was also a film buff, always searching for hard-to-find films for his impressive collection. Andrew excelled at playing sports and was a long-time fan of all Philadelphia professional teams; he made the best homemade pizza and bagels; and he thrived on early- morning coffee runs. Although his illness eventually slowed him down, he never let it dampen his spirit.
Andrew was a cherished son, brother, nephew, and friend. He was genuinely kind and thoughtful and generous of his time—always willing to help a friend or neighbor in need. He will forever remain in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. Along with his parents, Andrew will be dearly missed by his brother Christopher of Collinsville; aunt and uncle Judith and Reginald Pratt of FL and aunt Marylyn Smith of MO; cousin Jennifer Horton of TX; his best friend John Thompson and his mother Rose Thompson of New Hartford; and many more relatives and friends. He was predeceased by his brother Larry; uncles Russell Ernest and Jim Smith; cousins Tammie Triplett and Lisa Clagett; and grandparents Roland and Regina Ernest and Adele Plona. A private memorial gathering will be held in the spring at the convenience of the family.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the dedicated caregivers at Cherry Brook Health Care Center and the AccentCare hospice team for the compassionate care Andrew received and the kindness shown to our family during the past nine months. Please visit Andrew’s “Book of Memories” at www.vincentfuneralhome.com to share a memory or condolences. For those wishing to honor his memory, please consider a donation to the Canton Land Conservation Trust, PO Box 41, Canton Center, CT 06020.