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Don Anderson

February 18, 1927 - August 9, 2019
Grand Rapids, MI

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Visitation

Tuesday, August 13, 2019
5:30 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
First Evangelical Covenant Church
1933 Tremont Blvd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Web Site

Service

Tuesday, August 13, 2019
7:00 PM EDT
First Evangelical Covenant Church
1933 Tremont Blvd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Web Site

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Faith Hospice
2100 Raybrook Drive SE, Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 235-5113
Driving Directions
Web Site

First Evangelical Covenant Church
1933 Tremont Blvd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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Reflecting on the life of Don Anderson, words such as hardworking, dedicated, and gentle come to mind, but no greater word could describe his life than generous. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He treasured the time he spent with his growing family sharing life’s abundant blessings with each and every one of them. His loving presence and easy-going personality will be dearly missed and fondly remembered for generations to come.

Reflecting on the 1920s, it was a period of sustained economic prosperity. The media was focused on jazz music and celebrities giving radio stations a renewed popularity. In the same year that the jukebox was invented and Charles Lindbergh completed the first solo flight across the Atlantic, Swedish immigrants Gunnar and Margaret Anderson welcomed home their newborn son, Donald Gunnar, on February 18, 1927, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born the oldest of six children, his birth brought much hope and happiness to their home.

Growing up on a family farm northwest of Marne, Don learned the value of a hard day’s work at an early age. He woke early to tend to the cows and the chickens and picked apples at the local Clayton Farms for extra spending money. Ambitious and strong, Don was known to pick over one hundred and ten bushels in a single day! He was close to his siblings throughout these years as they walked together to their one-room school house through the eighth grade. They were also raised with a solid foundation in faith attending Berlin Baptist Church each and every Sunday. As a young adolescent, Don enjoyed playing softball and in the winters, he enjoyed sledding and ice skating. Each and every holiday he was accustomed to enjoying the traditional Swedish foods including pickled herring, considered a delicacy.

Although Don started out at Berlin High School, at the age of seventeen, he enlisted in the United States Navy. After completing basic training at Great Lakes Naval Base, he was shipped out to sea to join the Pacific Theater. Due to severe seasickness, Don primarily worked in the kitchen. While serving with the Seabees in the Philippines, he drove the bulldozer that helped build many roads and airstrips. After sixteen months, Don was discharged and returned home in 1946.

Not to be forgotten was the woman he admired and eventually married, Esther Bradley! When they were both at the tender age of twelve years, they met while picking strawberries. They instantly became friends from that moment on. Home from the service, the two of them began dating and after roughly three years, they joined in marriage on August 12, 1950 at the Marne United Methodist Church. After their reception at the church, the newlyweds headed to Glen Lake in northern Michigan for a romantic honeymoon. This area remained one of their favorite get away spots for many years. They settled into a small apartment before purchasing their first home on Fennessey Street near Standale. Saving up their resources, just five years later they purchased property in Marne and Don built the home of their dreams where they remained from 1959-1997.

Together they raised four wonderful children; Dennis, Jayne, Cheryl, and Martha. As a father, Don was slow to anger, yet would correct his kids when they needed it! He coached Dennis's baseball teams and taught each of them how to play Cribbage. As a family, they often secured a camping site at Glen Lake for many years where they would put up a tent and enjoy the natural beauty around them. He and Esther believed in the importance of raising their children with Christian values and they attended the Marne United Methodist Church for many years.

After his service in the Navy, he used his GI bill funds to take a few classed in typewriter repair. He had been working at Allen Calculator before securing his position with General Motors for seventeen years which were mostly during his children’s growing years. The same year that his son, Dennis graduated, Don completed his GED in 1970 Later in his career, he enjoyed working for private contractors as a finishing carpenter. His vast knowledge of tools and repair made him an excellent choice when it came time to finish a project. Don was easy to work with as well as a hard worker making him hard to pass up if he was available. When he finally managed to retire, he and Esther enjoyed spending nearly fifteen winters at their home in Leesburg, Florida. They normally left Michigan just after Christmas returning during the spring in April. During their time there, they made many long lasting friendships.

Don enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. He was definitely a meat and potatoes guy who was lucky to be pampered by Esther’s fantastic cooking skills. However, on any given day his favorite snack was popcorn! He enjoyed reading his daily newspaper and when Ernie Harwell was still announcing for the Detroit Tigers he was an ecstatic fan. Don enjoyed following the Tigers for many years, win or lose, he savored the thrill of the game as well as following his favorite players. He and Esther also played on area golf leagues as well as bowled for many years on a league together. He enjoyed the social aspect of staying active and looked forward to sharing laughter and a little light-hearted competition.

Loyal to his faith, Don enjoyed many years of being active in his church. When they moved back to Grand Rapids in 1997 they became members of First Evangelical Covenant Church where they were instantly welcomed as family and made many close relationships with other members. Don lived a lifetime of modeling kindness and compassion for others. He wanted nothing more than the very best for the family he so loved. There is no doubt that he will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved him.

Donald G. Anderson, age 92, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, passed away at home with his loving family at his side August 9, 2019. Don was born February 18, 1927, in Grand Rapids, MI to the late Gunnar and Margaret Anderson. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy having served with the Seabees in the Philippines during WWII. On August 12, 1950, he married Esther Bradley. Don worked for GM and finished the majority of his career as a carpenter. He enjoyed golfing, fishing, hunting, but especially his time with family. Don is survived by his wife of 69 years, Esther; children, Dennis (Debi) Anderson of Walker, Jayne McDonald of Grand Rapids, Cheryl (Dan) Polkowski of Marne, Martha (Marshall) Chase of Allendale; grandchildren, Amy (Ben) Hobbie, Christina (Wes) Eaton, Aaron McDonald, Stefanie (Phil) Falstrom, Leandra Polkowski, Adam (Gina) Polkowski; great grandchildren, Kaileigh, Ethan, Levi, Brielle, Greta, and Nol. He is also survived by his siblings, Gerald (Fran) Anderson of Grand Rapids, Janet (John) Masterson of Grand Rapids, Sally Kirkwood of Sparta; and several nieces & nephews. Don was preceded in death by his parents; grandson, Lee Anderson; sisters, June Anderson and Esther Phillips. A funeral service will be held Tuesday, August 13, at 7 PM at First Evangelical Covenant Church, 1933 Tremont Blvd NW. Friends may visit with family beginning at 5:30 PM. Interment will be in Marne Cemetery. Special thanks to DaVita for the wonderful care provided to Don. Memorials may be made to Faith Hospice or to First Evangelical Covenant Church. Please visit Don's web page to leave a memory or condolence at www.heritagelifestory.com.

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