Wilbur Ford Anderson, Jr., 94, of Noblesville, passed away peacefully Aug.19, 2015, at home with his family by his side. He was born Jan. 7, 1921, in Brownstown, Ind., to Wilbur Franklin Anderson and Nellie (Boswell) Anderson. He graduated from Brownstown High School and was an athletically gifted track and field runner. He received a business degree from Purdue University.
He was the 3rd oldest of nine brothers and sisters, Ronald, Gayle, Karl, Mary, Jerry, Clara Ann, Nelda and Jon.
He lived much of his early life traveling from state to state with the family and working on farms in Florida, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri, learning the value and reward of hard work.
In 1941 he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps before the War began. He proudly served his country during World War II, from 1941-1945. He was a 1st Class Petty Officer in the Navy Seabees 43rd and 57th Construction Battalion. He was stationed in the South Pacific, in the New Hebrides on the island of Espiritu Santo and the Admiralty Islands. After the 16 hour trip by freighter to the islands, upon arrival his battalion was given 24 hours to build the landing strip for the B29s arrival. He was asked to do a variety of duties during the war, he was assigned the job of playing the bugle- he always said, “it was an honor when he played “taps”, he worked closely with the island plantation owners, was asked to start one of the 1st bands for the Navy on the islands and due to his ability to type, his fellow servicemen asked him to type their letters for back home.
After returning home from war he married “the girl he met at a movie”, the love of his life, Doris Lee Bell on April 30, 1945, in Oakland, Calif. He had plans to settle down on the farm in Muscatine, Iowa, but was asked to work as an engineer for Chrysler to help open the new Chrysler plant on Shadeland Avenue, so they settled in Indianapolis.
He was one of the most successful independent State Farm agents for almost 30 years before retirement. He and Doris enjoyed spending time at their home in Lake Havasu City, AZ as “snow birds” for 20 years. He was an avid golfer, bowler, fisherman and wood craftsman. Any idea Doris had, Wilbur could create it. He could play the harmonica by ear and had the ability to play just about any instrument. He had a sense of humor that could bring a smile to anyone. When asked how do you feel? He’d reply, “with my hands”.
He was a member of the Scottish Rite, Murat Shrine, Masonic Lodge 32 and was very proud to be a 50 years Mason. He and his wife were founding members of East 49th Street Christian Church and East 91st Street Christian Church. He was a devout Christian, strong in his faith and served as a deacon in both churches.
One of his most memorable highlights in his later years was last May, when he was able to fly to Washington D.C., with his son and 70 other WWII veterans on the Indy Honor Flight to see the WWII memorial which honors the Greatest Generation’s service and bravery during WWII.
He was a hero to not only his country for his service, but he was a hero to his family and friends. He will always be remembered as a “true gentleman”, and a dedicated son, brother, husband, father and grandfather. He will always hold a special place in our hearts; he was a blessing in our lives and will be greatly missed.
He is survived by sons, Wilbur Ford (Linda) Anderson Jr., DuWayne E. Anderson and Robbin K. (Betty) Anderson; eight grandchildren and eight great- grandchildren whom he loved and cherished deeply.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 64 years, Doris Lee “Bell” Anderson.
Family and friends are invited to attend a visitation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 23, 2015, in Flanner and Buchanan—Washington Park East 10722 E Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46229, with a Celebration of Life at 1:00PM. Burial will follow the services in Washington Park East Cemetery.
Memorial Contributions may be made to Indy Honor Flight and Indy SurviveOars.