André James Minor
ST. HELENA - In a tragic accident on February 11, 2023 André James Minor, 38, died at his home on Spring Mountain in St. Helena. He leaves his wife Tina and infant daughter Maisie, his mother Maggie Minor, his sister Beth Minor and partner Celia Jimeneze and nephew Landon Jimeneze, and half-siblings Lisa Minor, Tad Minor, Will Minor and Molly Boyes, along with numerous half-nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his father Pete Minor in 2018.
André was born and raised in St. Helena, specifically at the Ritchie Creek Vineyard property at the top of the Spring Mountain District growing region. He and his sister Beth loved growing up at the vineyard and helping with harvest. Both Pete and Maggie encouraged them to participate in winery and vineyard activities. The family enjoyed traveling in the tropics, which was the origin for André's love of beaches and snorkeling. Maggie played with Pete, Marvin Atchley and Dennis Hall in a family Bluegrass band. This would instill in André a love of music, especially live music. André would later learn to play the flute, the acoustic and electric guitars, and write his own music and lyrics. He loved to share his passion for music with his nephew Landon by playing flute duets as holiday surprises for the family.
André went through his early years of school in St. Helena and then attended New Tech High School in Napa. He started his college education at UC Santa Cruz and transferred to graduate with a BA in Mathematics from UC Berkeley in 2006. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from UC San Diego in 2011. His area of specialization was complex analysis.
During the holiday and summer breaks of his undergraduate and graduate school studies, André came back to work at Ritchie Creek and maintain the family home. He met Tina Yuan in 2007 at San Diego State University, and she joined him on his trips to northern California. They moved back to Ritchie Creek permanently in 2013 when he began teaching at Sonoma State University. He joined the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in fall 2013 as a lecturer teaching a wide variety of classes, including finite mathematics, statistics, and all levels of calculus. Over the past 10 years he shared his love for mathematics and learning with thousands of students.
André and Tina were married on the Spring Mountain property in 2017.
Pete had purchased the property in 1965 in order to live his dream of making excellent wine in the French Bordeaux tradition. The vineyard is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Blau Frankisch, Petite Sirah and Merlot. Pete and Maggie were married in 1973 and they spent their lives together making Ritchie Creek a label to be proud of. André was determined to follow in his parents' footsteps and bring the Ritchie Creek brand back to life. Despite the huge amount of physical energy and mental stress it took to run the property and winery, André was sure that he could do it.
Unfortunately, the Glass Fire destroyed the homes and winery on the property, as well as the winery's inventory of library wines and not-yet-released vintages. André, his family, and pets drove through the flames on Spring Mountain Road to escape the inferno on the evening of September 27, 2020 and André returned the next morning to watch the fire as it finished destroying everything from his childhood up to his present life.
André and Tina welcomed their daughter, Maisie Minor, to the family in early December. André was the proudest and most loving husband and father, and he shared his happiness with his colleagues and students. André, Tina and Maisie, plus Maggie, Beth, Celia and Landon were planning on returning to the property in May with the completion of the rebuild. They were all excited at the prospect of returning to the property to be together as a family again. He is deeply and profoundly missed by his whole family.
About 200 people attended André's memorial on March 11, traveling from as far away as Anchorage, AK and New York, NY. The attendees included people from all elements of André's life including past and current students, roommates, colleagues, neighbors and, of course, family.
André had a Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/@Andreminor ; here he performs two songs, including "Math Rocks," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G_cyagp9yc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biy8_LEi5SQ .
Prof. Sam Brannen, Chair, Sonoma State University's Department of Mathematics and Statistics, said: André was a wonderful colleague. His contributions to the community at SSU go far beyond his excellent teaching. He collaborated on course design, being instrumental in developing the new Calculus "stretch" course, and he was an enthusiastic participant in the NSF-funded project "Transformative Inclusion in Postsecondary STEM: Towards Justice." His ideas will be part of our work to increase inclusiveness and belonging in STEM for years to come. André co-authored a series of culturally responsive activities for Calculus and helped design two Lesson Study projects that aim to rehumanize mathematics by focusing on students' experiences and cultural connections. André was the kindest, most enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher a student could wish for, and was adored by his students. Through his teaching André touched thousands of lives and the world is a better (and mathematically more educated) place because of him. André's passing leaves an impossibly large void in our community and in our lives. He will be deeply and sincerely missed.
A Go-Fund-Me has been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-Andre-minor
A college savings account has been set up for Maisie Minor through California's ScholarShare529 and Ugift using Maisie's personal code 36J-U7W: https://www.ugift529.com/