Dr. Roland C. Anderson of Seattle, aged 67, died in his sleep mid-February at the Whidbey Island vacation home he loved. The son of a sea captain, Dr. Anderson grew up on the Kitsap Peninsula, where he became an avid naturalist and scuba diver.
Dr. Anderson received his undergraduate degree in biology from University of Washington; it was a natural transition to the Seattle Aquarium, and his PhD in Marine Biology from Greenwich University. Long fascinated by malacology (the study of mollusks), he served as president for the Western Society of Malacologists, president of the American Malacological Society, a guest-editor for the journal, "Diseases of Aquatic Organisms," and was an avid member of the Pacific Northwest Shell Club. Dr. Anderson was author or co-author of more than 200 articles in scientific journals, and co-author of the book, "Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate."
As an internationally recognized authority on cephalopods, Dr. Anderson was interviewed on two occasions by the New York Times; was a featured scientist on the nature special, "Tentacles;" and was quoted in many other major news sources. He pioneered the idea of enrichment for captive octopuses and their release as adults, and began Octopus Week at the Seattle Aquarium, including the wildly popular February 14th event, the "Octopus Blind Date."
Dr. Anderson retired from the Seattle Aquarium in 2009, after 31 years of service. Throughout his career, he was always open to new ideas and new ways of conducting and presenting research - he was a mentor to numerous graduate students.
In addition to his expansive knowledge of cephalopods and marine life, Dr. Anderson had an acerbic wit and was a colorful practical joker. People enjoyed his kindness, enthusiasm and sense of humor. A long-time friend and colleague remembered Dr. Anderson as, "a researcher, author, diver, connoisseur of desserts, curmudgeon ......... and friend."
Dr. Anderson is pre-deceased by his father Warren, mother Marjorie and brother Rod. He is survived by a number of relatives including an uncle, Mel Sierman, and cousins David Molzan, John Palmer, Janice Runner, John Anderson, Joseph Geierman, Lawrence Anderson, Shelly Hutson, and Thomas Molzan.
A memorial for Dr. Roland C. Anderson will be held at the Seattle Aquarium Classroom on April 9th at 6:00pm. His ashes will be scattered at the point where he used to release captured octopuses back to the sea. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to the Seattle Aquarium. Please sign Roland's online Guestbook at www.Legacy.com.
Published in The Seattle Times on Mar. 9, 2014