Myrtle Gertrude Esther Anderson (née Zahn), 97, passed away quietly in her sleep on February 13, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan.
Myrtle was born on December 28, 1914 in Bellingham, Minnesota, but spent most of her early life in or near New England, North Dakota. As a teen, she worked at the Fountain Inn and the Gardner Hotel as server and second cook. Although it was the Depression, she always remembered those years fondly, especially the good times when the CC Camp was in New England, and when Sam and His City Fellas came from Bismarck to play for dances. She attended Dickinson State Teachers College, completed a "one year rural" certificate, and taught for nine years in several one-room schoolhouses to the north and south of New England. She also worked weekends at the O&M Elevator as a bookkeeper.
In 1943 she moved to Tacoma, Washington, where she quickly found work as one of the many "Rosie the Riveters" building trailing-edges for the wings of B-17 bombers. At the Boeing plant she met her life's companion, Louis Anderson. They were married in 1944, and lived in Tacoma until the 1970s, gardening and fishing as much as possible. Together, they raised one son, David. Myrtle worked for several years in the office of S. H. Kress department store to ensure that he could attend college.
In 1973 she and Louis moved to New England to begin a new set of adventures. They spent their time gardening, rock hounding, sewing, "coin shooting," celebrating the beauty of the landscape, and playing plenty of Scrabble and Yahtzee. Visitors were sure to find an abundance of cookies and quick breads. Myrtle and Louis were members of Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church. After Louis' death in 1996, Myrtle continued to live in the Zahn family home until 2011.
Myrtle was very thankful for all the family, friends, and community businesses and institutions whose support helped her to remain independent for so long. In the fall of 2011 she agreed to move to Michigan to live with her son. There she relished the brilliant fall foliage and seeing cardinals for the first time.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Margaret (Grace) Zahn; brothers Henry II (Bud) and Edgar; and sisters Mildred (Makelki) and Margaret (Olson/Paulsrud). Surviving family members are her brother Morris, her son David, two granddaughters, Laura and Alexandra, and numerous sisters-in-law, cousins, nieces and nephews. We will miss her strong memory of family and community history, her laughter, her fierce independence, her baking, her deep appreciation for the wonders of nature, and the love she lavished on us.
Arrangements in Michigan were handled by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes. Memorial arrangements in North Dakota will be announced at a later date. Those wishing to make a memorial donation, please choose a favorite charity, or consider the New England Volunteer Ambulance service, Eldercare/Meals on Wheels, or Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church. On line condolences may be made at www.greastlansing.com.