Ocean Beach 05

Mr. Thomas Andrew Wajnert

July 18, 1974 ~ May 16, 2023 (age 48) 48 Years Old
Obituary Image


Long-time jam band promoter, passionate advocate, loving son, inspiring survivor, thoughtful romantic, considerate brother, cool dude, quintessential music lover, awesome uncle, free-thinking philosopher, horticulture enthusiast, and compassionate friend Thomas Andrew “Drew” Wajnert died on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. 

Beloved in Asbury Park, NJ, for his PhanPhest shows and music festivals, music has always been a huge part of Drew’s life.  One of his first memories of discovering the magical expansiveness of sound and the connection of oneness in lyrics occurred after riding his Big Wheel to a San Francisco garage sale.  Six-year-old Drew bought Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band Album for a quarter because he liked its cover.  From the first Skiffle psychedelic notes, Drew was transformed into another time and space.  Sadly, that same year, Drew experienced the devastating loss of a loved one, and he delved into music as a source of comfort.  Music remained an inspiration throughout his life and created a caring community for Drew. 

Drew’s fascination with his Magical Mystery Tour began with the Beatles… Imagine All the People. Livin’ life in Peace…Collecting Beatles records, Drew’s musical voyage began.  

Drew’s parents, Tom and Theresa, introduced his sisters Melissa, Rachel, Sophia, and Drew to Good Vibrations during his first concert, the Beach Boys, when he was 10 years old. With the baseline of these two transformative bands, Drew’s love of song sprouted and grew to embrace a wide range of musical tastes.  Drew credited singing in Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys; his parent’s vast musical tastes from classical music to classic rock; and taking piano lessons as solidifying his adoration of melody, harmony, and free expression.   

Attending the American Boychoir School, Drew had the distinct pleasure of singing at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Leonard Bernstein and accompanied by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.  At Saint James High School, Drew discovered new talents on the 50-yard line and strings.  He was hooked.  This gentle giant of a football player learned to play the Cello in the school orchestra and soon strumming evolved into riffing for friends bridging into new ways to jam on the guitar.  During this musical exploration, Drew flew with his madrigal ensemble performing in England on an eleven-day tour and in juxtaposition around the same time introduced to his favorite band Phish…

As a young adult, Drew discovered and fell in love with the music of Jam Bands…he spread the love of his musical muse by promoting his curated collection of rock bands playing improvisational passages.  Drew was the first to admit it wasn't easy to pursue his passion to promote the music he loved but his passion to share it with people kept him going.  Drew did all sorts of jobs to keep the dream alive.  He worked as a bank teller, in customer service, drove a cab, delivered food, and worked for a frozen vegan food company shipping out orders. Drew liked doing jobs that are in the service of others.

Drew was instrumental in developing and growing the jam-band scene by providing a platform for them to debut, as well as return, to the Stone Pony, The Saint, and PhanPhest performances in Asbury Park, other locations in New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.  He promoted more than 200 shows including large music festivals over 14 years.

From Asbury Park, Drew moved to Colorado to work in the cannabis industry passionate about legalization across our county.  He was also interested in helping those with cancer and other medical conditions have greater access.  He worked learning everything he could about the industry.  While again pursuing one of his passions, Drew drove for a drive-share company.  Unfortunately, on March 2, 2021, while working for that company, he was hit by a drunk driver from behind leaving him with quadriplegia. 

Since his accident, Drew was an inspiration to all who knew him.  Drew worked hard to regain his mobility and believed he would be able to walk again and live independently.  He worked hard and never let go of his hope of becoming free of his wheelchair. 

Drew and his family are grateful for the amazing care provided at Craig Hospital, Learning Services, and WakeMed Hospital. 

Take comfort, that in the last moments of Drew’s life, he was not alone.  His favorite nurse Kim was with him.  She shared this story with his sister on the morning of his death.  She worked at the hospital and had been around death for a long time.  She said she never had anything like this happen when she witnessed others die.  Kim then revealed that in the very last moments of Drew’s life, he raised both arms above his head, opened his mouth wide, and died.  What is important to understand about this story is since Drew’s accident, even with all of his willpower, exercises, and rehabilitation, he was unable to raise his arms above his shoulders and recently he could no longer use his arms.  Kim knew what he was telling her, that finally he is healed…Drew is now indeed healed, free from limitation, surrounded by love, and has peace.

Drew is preceded by Amanda Kienly Wajnert, Dick Altmix, Chester Wajnert, Albert Kienly, Gabriella Wajnert, Tip Altmix, Tiffin Wajnert, Virginia Kienly, and Patrica Dean.  Drew leaves behind his father Tom Wajnert and mother Theresa Wajnert; sisters Melissa Wajnert Hartzell, Rachel Chittick, and Sophia Montero; brothers-in-laws Adam Hartzell, Brad Chittick and Antonio Montero; and nieces and nephews Zoe Chittick, Isabella Montero, Ethan Chittick, Grant Hartzell, Alex Montero, and Jackson Hartzell; numerous cousins, aunts and uncles, family, friends, phamily, phriends, and many broken hearts.

Celebration of Life Events Honoring Drew Wajnert's Life:

Drew's family will privately celebrate Drew's life on May 26th in Raleigh, North Carolina, and on June 3rd in Columbine Valley, Colorado. Drew's  Phamily, Phriends, and friends plan to celebrate his life in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  The date, time, and details are currently being planned and will be posted here when finalized.

Love, light and peace to all who loved Drew."

Energy by Phish


© Elephant 6 Publishing CO (ASCAP)

And the world is made of energy

and the world is electricity

and the world is made of energy

and there’s a light inside of you

and there’s a light inside of me

And the world is made of energy

and the world is synchronicity

and the world is made of energy

and there’s a light inside of you

and there’s a light inside of me

It’s gonna be all right

It’s gonna be all right uh huh yeah.

We’re gonna see the sunlight

We’re gonna see the sunlight uh huh yeah.

And the world is made of energy

And the world is possibility

And the world is made of energy

And there’s a light inside of you

And there’s a light inside of me.



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