John William Anderson was born on February 2, 1928. He left this world and entered into his eternal rest on July 11, 2013. John was the only son of Rhuland Victor ('Vic') Anderson and Retta Emma (Pierce) Anderson. Later their family would be made complete with the birth of his baby sister, Joy. John would spend some of his youth living with his Uncle Ed, Aunt Alice, and Cousin Ann in Arizona. Ann would be like a sister to him, and he would always speak very kindly of the love and nurturing he received being a part of their family. Ann and her husband Jim would later have 2 sons, Ed and John, and they would grow to respect and admire...
John William Anderson was born on February 2, 1928. He left this world and entered into his eternal rest on July 11, 2013.
John was the only son of Rhuland Victor ('Vic') Anderson and Retta Emma (Pierce) Anderson. Later their family would be made complete with the birth of his baby sister, Joy.
John would spend some of his youth living with his Uncle Ed, Aunt Alice, and Cousin Ann in Arizona. Ann would be like a sister to him, and he would always speak very kindly of the love and nurturing he received being a part of their family. Ann and her husband Jim would later have 2 sons, Ed and John, and they would grow to respect and admire their cousin John, becoming great friends.
John graduated from Lamar High School in 1945. He would then join the United States Army in 1946 in Houston, Texas. He would spend 2 years overseas, in both the Philippines, and Korea. During his stay in the Philippines he would be assigned to the 86th Infantry Division and he became the Chief Clerk to the I.G. After the Division was deactivated he was recruited by Counter Intelligence (C.I.C.) in Manila. The remainder of his enlistment was served as a C.I.C. Agent in Korea and Houston, Texas. He was honorably discharged in February of 1949 as a Sergeant.
John married Bettigene Riggs, and they would start their family. Their first of 3 daughters, Sherrie Ann was born on August 13, 1950. During this time John was attending Baylor University. While working on his degree in Chemistry, he received an appointment in the Air Force Reserve in the ROTC program. He graduated from Baylor with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, and in 1952 was called to Active Duty. He spent some time at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and was then assigned to Amarillo Air Force Base as Assistant Supervisory Officer of the Retraining Group – an Air Force experiment in Corrections. He was honorably released from Active Duty the latter part of 1953 as a First Lieutenant.
John was always trying to better himself. When he was a young man he so wanted to follow in the footsteps of his beloved grandfather and become a doctor. That dream would never become a reality. He also wanted to become an Air Force pilot, but because he was found to be color-blind, he was not a candidate for pilot training. He never let these disappointments keep him from pursuing knowledge. After his time in the military he would take some courses at the University of Houston in Engineering and Law under the G.I. Bill.
John's family would grow, and 2 more daughters were born during this time: Rebecca Jean on March 22, 1954, and Kathleen on November 15, 1955. John had always wanted a son, but God did not mean for that to happen, so he would spend precious time with each of his 3 girls, encouraging them in their nursing, military, and teaching careers. He was a proud father, and although much family time was sacrificed due to work travel, the girls knew their Daddy would be there for them, and support them in any way that he could. With each, unforgettable memories were made that would last a lifetime.
The three girls married and had families of their own. Sherrie and her husband, Richard would have Jeffrey David, and Christie Lynn. Rebecca and her husband, Craig would have Jonathan Andrew, Christopher Aaron, Jennifer Erin, and Kimberly Ann. Kathleen married Eric, and together they would have Samuel Hazen, Aaron Douglas, Timothy Caleb, Christopher David, and Sarah Kathleen. As the years progressed, Jeffrey married Melissa Bollum, and they had triplets: Gavin, Garrett, and Gannon. Christie would be the proud mother of Taylor, Ashley, and Joshua, and with her new husband David Cousins would complete their family with his 2 daughters Amber and Amanda, and the birth of their daughter, Morgan. Jonathan would bring precious little Camille into his family, giving John 10 great-grandchildren to boast about and enjoy!
During these years, John would fall in love and marry the love of his life, Mary Esther Lively on May 27, 1971. They would spend 42 years together, living in New Orleans, Louisiana, and later in Houston, Texas. Mary was the backbone for many of John's endeavors. She stood behind him 100 percent, giving him the encouragement and the help he needed to pursue his dreams. Together their home became a favorite place for large family gatherings – swims, cookouts, bridal and baby showers, and Christmas parties. Everyone loved spending time with Grandma and Grandpa.
His work experience in the Chemical Industry would begin with the Stauffer Chemical Company, and later American Cyanamid Chemical Company. But his crowning glory was when with 3 other partners (Luke Fontenot, Ed McIntire, and Max McCloud) they designed, developed, and built a water treatment plant in Pearl River, Louisiana. A huge success, the Pearl River plant would later be sold to Arco. Daddy then worked from home and founded Thickener Technologies, assisted by his wife, Mary. It would later be sold to Parkson Corporation.
Through the years John had many dear friends. One such group of friends was "The Four Horsemen". With his dear friends Gene Miller Williams, Les Stanley, Curtis Mathis, and George Harvey, the 'Horsemen' would go to tuberculin rest homes, and homeless shelters, preaching the Word of God and offering songs of hope and encouragement to the less fortunate. These men of God would stay in touch, and as their lives would take different directions they would have reunions to revisit their many happy memories together, with their wives at their sides.
In his later years he spent a lot of time with his best friend Bill Ehmling and his wife, Molly. Bill was an avid fisherman, and they would spend many hours in Rockport, Texas out on the water finding quiet and solace in their fishing boat. Bill's small fishing house in Rockport would become a place of many family gatherings, where days would be spent telling stories, eating around a large table (or at a favorite family restaurant), and fishing off the nearest pier.
Not only would John and Bill love to fish, but they would also share their love for dogs. Together the two families would raise and later show their prize-winning Rottweillers. 'Thunder', 'Holly', 'Yobo', and 'Yogi' would become the cherished family pets, and each was dearly loved.
Bill was also instrumental in introducing John to Free Masonry, and they would spend countless hours studying the craft. John became a member of Gray Lodge 329 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Houston, Texas and was raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason on April 11, 2011. His greatest contribution to his Lodge was teaching new candidates the Masonic work. On an offshore fishing trip, John introduced his grandson-in-law, David Cousins to Masonry, and would become his devoted mentor through his travels.
John was a man of few words, but his love for his country, his God, and his family was never questioned. He had many quotes that he loved to share:
"Freedom is never free" – He knew the cost for our American freedom, and he was willing to put himself in harms' way to protect that freedom. He was delighted and so proud of his 2 grandsons, Jonathan Rivas and Timothy 'Caleb' Kimball for following in his footsteps and enlisting in the United States Army and Navy.
"You Never Give Up Hope" – John was an eternal optimist. He was a generous man, a charitable man - a man of hope. He was always trying to do things to make his country and this world a better place. From writing personal letters to his Congressman and the President of the United States, to making generous donations to many charities, he was a man of dignity and honor, and was highly respected by his friends and family. He wanted to give the best he had to offer, and was always encouraging his loved ones to be the best they could be and strive for excellence in whatever they chose to do.
Finally, John was a man of God. From his early years when he sang with the "Horsemen", to his many years growing up in the Baptist faith, he would pass down to his children the faith that made him who he was. He never took for granted the ultimate sacrifice of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and he wanted all that knew him to know and believe. He was an example of courage, strength, and determination, and his belief in God was the foundation of his life's work.
A loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend – he was one of a kind. A man of great character, humility, courage, and strength, he was admired by many, and loved by all.
The following quote summarizes his life:
"Life belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood . . . who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
John Anderson was a man that lived in the arena of life, and gave his very best. An ordinary man with an extraordinary vision for this life. He will be dearly missed. May he find peace for his weary body, indescribable joy as he sits with Thunder at his feet, fishing with Bill in the crystal sea, raising his deep voice to sing among the angels, and resting in the loving arms of Christ, his Savior.