Andrew Kalinke never met a stranger. His friends and family remember the political science sophomore for his authentic, unselfish love and strong faith.
The second of three sons for his father, Bob Kalinke, Andrew wanted to follow in Bob’s footsteps and become a lawyer. Bob said Andrew was one of the best competitors on his high school debate team, but the most important thing Andrew did was endlessly love everyone he knew.
“He didn’t care about anything superficial about someone,” Bob said. “He just loved people. His greatest characteristic was that he was not judgmental, he loved people and he loved being around them.”
Andrew attended Texas A&M with his older brother, Jacob Kalinke. A business honors senior and member of Squadron 2, Jacob said he and his brother were best friends. They bonded through long drives to and from school and weekly breakfasts.
“I always enjoyed driving to and from Dallas,” Jacob said. “I really loved whenever we went to A&M, just getting to drive back and forth from school with him. He spent so much time in the car talking about what he’s passionate about.”
Jacob said when he and Andrew were kids, they loved to wear their Batman and Robin pajamas whenever they got the chance.
“I’d always be Batman and he’d always be Robin,” Jacob said. “Our mom made a rule that we could only wear them out of the house once a month, which kind of explains our relationship all throughout growing up.”
Melissa Baker, best friend of Andrew’s mom, would often watch Andrew, Jacob and their younger brother, Zachary. Baker said Andrew loved to do anything thrilling, including skiing, snowboarding and scuba diving, but he cherished the moments spent with his loved ones the most.
“One of my favorite memories of recent was when Andrew had come home from college his freshman year,” Baker said. “I just remember seeing him for the first time and him coming across the room and asking me how I was. He just had a really good way of making people feel loved.”
Ellie Hager, a family friend of the Kalinkes, said Andrew would always make time for those he cared about, especially his mom who recently died of cancer.
“He knew that she was sick and didn’t really know how much time she had left, but as soon as she told him about her diagnosis he would call her three times a day,” Hager said. “It was just so sweet to me that he would take the time out of his busy schedule in the midst of school to talk to his mom not just everyday, but three times a day.”
Jacob says Andrew left behind a lasting legacy of love and compassion that touched everyone he met.
“He taught me to be more outgoing and more carefree,” Jacob said. “I think he really pushed me to love people better and meet people where they are.”