June 6, 2012 in Obituaries

Obituary: Anderson, Eric Walter

 


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ANDERSON, Eric Walter

Eric Walter Anderson was born to Carl William and Ericka Anderson in Spokane on January 26, 1916, along with his identical twin Emil. He grew up in Browne’s Addition and graduated Lewis & Clark high school (‘35), attended Gonzaga University with a combined tennis and basketball scholarship, and finished in the first class to graduate Gonzaga’s school of engineering (‘39). He was also considered the oldest living Gonzaga Basketball player.

Eric served “the muckers” of General Patton’s 4th armored division. His role with the Corp of Engineers was to scout ahead of the tanks to clear their passage. He was thereby the first American across the rivers, the first into a dozen or more German towns, the first across the border to Czechoslovakia, the first American to meet the Russians, and the first American into at least three Nazi death camps, most notably Ohrdruf, the first of the camps entered by the allies. Following the war, he studied for a year at the Sorbonne in Paris, and witnessed first-hand the trials of Phillipe Petain, the Vichy General Commander.

Upon his return home, Eric continued work as a civil engineer. While working at the nuclear Hanford site, he met and fell for the love of his life, Ruby Kutz of Alma Center, WI, who opened the restaurant at the Desert Inn in Richland, WA. They were married in Richland on December 31, 1948. Their first daughter, Karla, was born in Seattle, and their other children-Kirt, Sally and Noel-were born in Spokane, where Eric served as a civil engineer at Fairchild until 1961, when the family moved to Riverside, CA. In 1972, he was transferred to Strategic Air Command headquarters in Omaha, NE, where he worked until his retirement in 1984. He played basketball or swam every day during his lunch hour until he retired at 68 years old. Eric and Ruby returned to Spokane in 1986. Eric and Ruby served as senior interns/legislative aides with AARP in Olympia, and were active members and deacons and elder at First Presbyterian Church of Spokane. Eric was a member of Manito Lions for many years. In November 1992 he was elected as a Freeholder, Position #16 for the County of Spokane.

Eric traveled to Israel, Greenland (above the arctic circle), and in his 80s climbed several of the pyramids of Central America with his brother Eskil. He was an inveterate walker up until his final day, a tender-hearted but strong-willed conservative, and evangelical Presbyterian, a tireless student of scripture, and a passionate Gonzaga fan until the end.

He is preceded in death by his older siblings Esther and Eskil, his twin Emil, and his beloved wife Ruby. He is survived by his younger siblings Carl William Anderson, Jr. and Carol Severson, his children-Karla, Kirt, Sally and Noel-six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. At the center of his life, heart, mind and soul was a devotion to the Lord revealed by the Bible. His love for his wife and family was a very close second.

Come celebrate Andy’s life with us on June 9th at 1pm at First Presbyterian Church, a reception will follow. In lieu of flowers please send memorials to First Presbyterian Church.

Blessed are those who die in the Lord, says the Spirit. They rest from their labors, and their works follow them. Revelation 14:13.

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