American Patriotic 10

Arthur G. Anderson

December 11, 1929 ~ September 7, 2021 (age 91)


Remembering Arthur George Anderson  

Art was Born December 11, 1929 in Chicago. To Norwegian immigrants Sam and Clara Anderson. Died September 7,2021.

Dad and his 3 sisters Hazel, Carol and Esther and 2 brothers Andy and Alvin, grew up on Chicago’s north side. They were active at nearby Salem Evangelical Church near Logan’s Square.. Salem Church, at that time, was a Norwegian-speaking church. And Salem Church still helped house and support new Norwegian immigrants in a nearby apartment building they owned. Dad said their family sometimes housed visiting missionary guests also.

Dad mentioned how Grandpa (Sam) pledged to be financially responsible for some newer immigrants. This was a common requirement  of the US authorities at the time..So Dad observed responsibility in action.

Both parents (Sam and Clara) worked long and hard to support 6 children through the Depression. This was a time when other desperate parents sometimes even sold or gave away children they could not support.  Other children, uncertain if their parents could provide for them, ran away. Not so the Anderson 8-person Household.

Still, Clara made sure the children had a chance to take music lessons. For instance, Aunt Hazel played the organ. Uncle Andy played the violin. Dad played the trombone. Probably their strict money budgeting was extremely good.

Long after the trombone was gone, Arthur carried on his love of Music. He liked blues, black gospel and jazz. Billie Holliday was one favorite. His record collection (later CD collection) also included the music of his teen years…Big Band. Dad did like one early Elvis hit “Blue Suede Shoes”.But Art liked some classical music as well. Arthur blasted the 1812 overture thru his Florida home speakers. And both parents loved operatic singer Mario Lanza. Some remember his smooth jazz album “Girl from Ipanema”.

We 5 children remember playing music thru Dad’s home-built Marengo sound system. I think the plans came from his friend Ivan Mertes..who worked as an engineer of early sound electronics. 

Arthur left high school before graduating to join the Army. And served five years in the 82nd Airborne. He volunteered for the more dangerous Paratrooper training. However, he did not see combat because paratroopers were later no longer used in Korea. Dropping out of high school was no big deal back then. But many years later, when in Florida getting a license for home repair,Arthur got his High school diploma by testing. He also got a few extra credits above high school level in Geometry.

Shortly after leaving the Army, Art met Louise Lillegard in Crystal Lake. Thus started 2/3 of a century Together! They were together till her death on Easter Day April 21, 2019.

Art and Louise, early on consumed with raising 5 little kids born in only 6 years, didn’t develop too many friendships. Time was scarce when Art had to remodel an Island Lake 2 bedroom cottage to hold more little ones. And Louise had NO diaper service and NO disposable diapers. 

On Sunday nights they loved watching Edward R. Murrow’s political commentary TV show after we 5 would have been in bed. Later it was Perry Mason and similar detective or lawyer shows. They also enjoyed some historical commentaries. Art particularly read up on World War 2 history. Theu followed politics and voted thoughtfully. They had less alliegance to a party than to a candidate with better plans. At least once each chose differing Presidential candidates.

When young, Art and Louise met another young couple, Ivan and Colleen Mertes. Even thru various moves the couples stayed in touch. That was a 50 plus years Friendship!

Later, Art and Louise built a larger home outside Marengo, IL. We five children helped a little. But also his older brother Andy and his oldest nephew Buddy came out to help.

When we five were grown, Art and Louise moved to mid Florida. They eventually ended up in Inverness, FL. Which is one of the few somewhat higher elevated spots in Florida. Possibly Mom’s fear of flooding and desire to NOT be near a Florida shoreline was part of the reason for that choice. 

Dad helped Mom with her art shows covering some time in IL and FL. He built racks for her and helped her set up and take down both her fine art pictures and her crafts. Many of us still cherish rocks and clocks and other things Ma painted. Dad laughed at some of the men he observed who were surprised a woman could paint so nicely.

Many of us here have relatives or friends who are good at carpentry and other household skills. So we five grew up hearing sawing, helping sweep up sawdust and carrying lumber, and sometimes even nailing. Some of us still have shelves that Mom designed and that Mom or Dad cut out on the saw table and then finished.  Some of us benefited from Dad doing some work on our homes…work that would have been expensive had we hired carpenters.

We were a bit spoiled. 

Not everyone has those skills!

Most of us probably visited the Anderson home in Inverness at one time or another. Until a few years before Ma’s death, they kept the public inside areas beautifully decorated with the odd and interesting items they found together at local Flea Markets.

 In their old age, they carefully watched their spending. Took care of their official dog and cats…as well as feeding a few strays regularly. Watched favorite TV series together. Plus documentaries, and their favorite political commentators. And, like many of us, Art and Louise ranted about politics.

However, Art and Louise both believed in free speech. And in one’s right to vote one’s conscience. Louise was more vocal about their shared belief. 

She liked the old saying   … “I will defend to the death YOUR right to hold YOUR opinion.   Even if I don’t share your view.”

When we were little Dad or Ma would take us to a nearby Sunday School. We learned the main Bible stories, for instance, at St. John Lutheran Church. Ma read us bible stories regularly. And said a prayer with us at nighttime when we were little. 

While they rarely went to church in person, they did watch TV church every week. Both were happy to hear the minister Dr. Charles Stanley the last few years they had together. Both, late in their lives, responded positively to rededicating their faith in God. And recommitting their trust in Jesus as their Savior, as there is no other way to Heaven.

So…We 5 observed two parents working almost constantly to keep us fed and clothed…especially when we were too little to starch and iron our dresses or shirts. (Before Permanent press!) We observed our dad leaving very early for some Chicago roofing job and sometimes coming back late because of Chicago traffic. We observed both of them remodeling, fixing, making our home better. Not that many people Today…have the range of home skills they had.

Louise was in a nursing home first. She suffered some dementia but we observed Louise always recognized Arthur. One day he smiled and said to her

 “Louise we will Travel thru the Galaxies Together!” 

By now, Dad has met with Jesus, and reconnected with Mom and other loved ones. 

And now they can “Travel thru the Galaxies Together!”

We are thankful for 2 decent parents. 

That is our true and lasting inheritance.

In Deepest gratitude, we post this.  

Children: Vanessa (Neil) Knutsen, April (Charles) Raffaele, Ardith (Richard) Edmonds, Arthur (Joan) Anderson, Lorna Woodall. 

Also 12 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren.


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