It was almost inevitable anytime Andy Goranson went someplace.
He would see someone he knew, and they would stop and chat for a while. It became kind of a running joke, said his wife, Abby Goranson.
Andy Goranson’s kindheartedness and genuine interest in others’ lives meant so much.
“We literally could never go anywhere without running into somebody,” she said. “It seemed he knew everybody in town ... when you met him, he made you feel special.”
Andy Goranson died Tuesday as he was shoveling snow. He was 44.
Goranson was the president of Access Payment Processing, a division of Access Bank, and juggled working from home during the pandemic and parenting his sons Max and Gus, ages 8 and 6. He served as a scoutmaster for their Cub Scout pack and enjoyed teaching the boys how to fish.
He was involved in various organizations and groups throughout his life, from being the 1995 senior class president at Westside High School to the sergeant at arms for the Suburban Rotary Club of Omaha.
One of the responsibilities of his Rotary position was to greet everyone, which was a perfect fit, said friend Nick Jasa. The two had known each other since the seventh grade and reconnected when they joined the Rotary club.
“He would do anything he could for you at any time of the day,” Jasa said. “Countless times, he’d drop everything to help me do something. He was just that kind of guy. He was everyone’s friend.”
Goranson loved to try new things and enjoyed many activities. He studied abroad in Beijing and played rugby there. He loved music because of the influence of his music teacher mother. And he had bowled since he was young, eventually earning a scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to compete on the bowling team.
The family has a 12-year-old Bernese mountain dog named Lola, who is handicapped, but Goranson gladly wheeled her around the neighborhood in a wagon for walks.
Abby Goranson, who went to Duchesne Academy, knew Andy Goranson in high school as a friend, but the two didn’t date until she moved back to Omaha in the early 2000s.
“He taught everyone he met how to love and live without abandon and take every opportunity to say ‘I love you,’” she said.
His funeral is Monday at 11 a.m. at the Heafey Hoffmann Dworak Cutler West Center Chapel at 7805 West Center Road. A visitation is scheduled from 9-11 a.m.
In addition to his wife and sons, he is survived by his brother Christopher and many other family members.