In loving memory of
January 6, 1938 – December 14, 2021
Richard L. ‘Dick’ Anderson, who was born on January 6, 1938 in Winona, Minnesota to parents LeRoy & Helen Anderson, passed away due to the effects of acute leukemia on the evening of December 14, 2021 at the age of 83 in Edmond, Oklahoma surrounded by his wife, Aloma, and their three adult children.
Dick was raised in Winona, Minnesota with his four siblings: older brother LeRoy Anderson, older sister JoAnn Borkowski, and two younger brothers, Gary Anderson and Bob Anderson.
Dick, also known to his high school classmates as ‘Andy’, graduated in 1956 from Winona High School where he excelled as a Track & Field athlete. Following high school, he went on to enlist in the Minnesota National Guard where he served for four years, followed by a one year extension of service in the Army National Guard and received an Honorable Discharge in November of 1963 after five total years of service.
While fulfilling the obligations of his National Guard enlistment, Dick also completed his collegiate studies and graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from Winona State College (now Winona State University). As a student athlete at Winona State, Dick emerged as a standout member of the Track & Field team where he became the school’s first All-American in 1959 and set numerous school records while earning multiple All-American honors throughout his collegiate sports career. After graduation, Dick went on to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials for the Modern Pentathlon and in individual competition in the sport of Fencing, competing in the National Fencing Championships at the British Columbia, Canada Sports Festival. On October 7, 2000, he was inducted into the Winona State University Athletic Hall of Fame. [WSU Hall of Fame Feature, WSU Hall of Fame Inductee Photo and Bio.]
Dick met his wife of 58 years, Aloma, at the home of a Winona High School classmate during a New Year’s Eve party on December 31, 1961, and the two were married on December 28, 1963 in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.
In the Fall of 1963, Dick relocated to Vancouver, Washington to begin what would become a 32-year career as Athletic Director and Coach for the Washington State School for the Blind, joined soon after by his new bride, Aloma. Throughout his career, Dick worked with thousands of students with a spectrum of physical and mental disabilities, helping them to fully utilize and realize their physical abilities in spite of their physical or mental challenges. In 1969, he completed his Masters Degree in Special Education from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. In 1995, Dick retired from his position as Athletic Director, having dedicated the span of his career at the Washington State School for the Blind and serving the families and students of that community.
As an extension of his professional career, Dick was also a founding charter member of the Northwest Association of Blind Athletes (NWABA) that eventually grew to become the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA). Dick served as head coach for USABA Track & Field teams for the World Championships and Pan-American Games and was twice selected to represent the United States as head coach of the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field teams in 1980 (Arnhem, Netherlands) and again in 1988 (Seoul, South Korea). As coach, many of his athletes went on to set world records of their own in Track & Field, and in 2012, Dick was inducted into the USABA Hall of Fame. [USABA 45-for-45 Series: #18 Dick Anderson]
Dick also served as the head coach for Columbia Christian College women’s volleyball team for many years in Portland, Oregon, coaching the team to a third place finish in the 1989 NCAA Division III National Volleyball Championships.
Dick contributed to his community in other ways outside of his career as well. While living in Vancouver, Washington, he served for a time as a board member and camp athletic director for Camp Yamhill in Yamhill, Oregon, served as a deacon for the Vancouver Church of Christ and held long-time memberships with the Vancouver Lion’s Club and Green Meadows Golf Club.
For several years in retirement, Dick indulged his life-long love of home-remodeling, which had begun long before it was popularized on television when he built his family’s first home that he completed in 1970 with the help of family and many friends. He enjoyed something of a second career in retirement as a part-time, semi-professional remodeler, receiving many job and project requests by word-of-mouth alone. Additionally, Dick reveled in his other hobbies that included golfing, woodworking, fly-fishing, boat building, even catching the latest episode of The Voice and especially being grandfather to his eight grandkids, who were often recipients of his woodworking craftsmanship in the form of toys, blanket chests, hope chests, and keepsake and jewelry boxes.
Relocating with Aloma to Edmond, Oklahoma in 2010, Dick was honored and delighted to continue contributing to the sports he loved as a volunteer assistant coach and mentor for a few seasons with athletes of the Oklahoma Christian University Eagles Track & Field team. He also enjoyed creating new golf friendships both as a member of the Memorial Road Church of Christ and the Kickingbird Golf Club in Edmond, Oklahoma until he was no longer able to play the game he loved.
Throughout his earthly life and experiences as a son, brother, husband, father, athlete, classmate, teammate, coach, educator, leader, colleague, mentor, volunteer, veteran, home remodeler and friend, Dick garnered respect and admiration from the countless individuals he had the good fortune to know and work alongside. The impact he has had and the lives he has touched will live on as a testimony to his life, his work and his dedication to those he loved, those who loved him, and those he leaves behind.
Richard L. ‘Dick’ Anderson is survived by his wife, Aloma E. (LaBarre) Anderson; by his siblings, Ed & JoAnn (Anderson) Borkowski, LeRoy ‘Andy’ & Jackie Anderson, Gary & Rosie Anderson and Bob & Diane Anderson and their families; by his children, Kristen M. (Anderson) Fowler, Erik L. & Kim Anderson, and Jared R. (Anderson) & Jenny Ranum; by his grandchildren, Nikki Fowler, Chelsea Fowler, Casey Fowler, Tanner & Kortnee Williams, Ian Anderson, Masee Anderson, Jasmine Ranum and Jade Ranum; and by his great granddaughter, Westyn Williams.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.