William "Bill" J. Anderson
Bowler, golfer, shuffleboarder or great-grandfather — William "Bill" J. Anderson was a man who wore many hats, including a World War II veteran's hat.
Mr. Anderson of Columbia died Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010, from complications of pneumonia at Boone Hospital Center. He was 86.
Mr. Anderson was born May 23, 1924, in Bloomington, Ill., to Oscar E. and Mary M. Anderson.
“We grew up in Bloomington and he was always my little brother," his sister Eleanor Mulchaey, 94, said. "My sister Helen and I bought him his first bike. But Bill was eight years younger than me; that kind of separated us quite a bit."
Mr. Anderson served in the Navy during World War II, his son Tom Anderson, 60, said.
“He was really proud of his service," Anderson said. "He was in both theaters, Europe and Japan, Iwo Jima and all that. He was really proud of his Navy service and was part of the honor squad rifle salute for World War II veterans at funerals. Now it’s his turn.”
He married Linnie “Jo” Anderson in August 1968 in his hometown. The couple moved to Columbia during the 1950s because of Mr. Anderson’s employment at State Farm Insurance, his son said.
“He enjoyed working at State Farm,” Anderson said. “When they moved down here it was with a lot of people he knew from Bloomington and he had an instant group of friends.
Mr. Anderson retired in 1986 after forty years of employment at State Farm.
Mr. Anderson had a passion for bowling. He was a member of the Columbia Bowling Hall of Fame, located at the late Oakland Plaza Lanes.
“Oakland had a room set off to the side and they put a portrait of him in the bowling hall of fame," Anderson said. "He wasn’t professional great but he probably could have been if he wanted to."
Remaining competitive later in life, Mr. Anderson frequented the Elk’s Lodge Monday and Friday nights to play shuffleboard with his wife, said Elizabeth Stone, a friend and fellow member of the lodge.
“They were down here regularly playing shuffleboard,” Stone said. “He was very good, and so was his wife.”
Mr. Anderson also loved to eat breakfast with his family on Sunday mornings at the lodge and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“We very seldom are able to get together en masse, and he and my mom had a lot of delight in having the grandkids around,” Anderson said. “It was a way for our family to connect. We’re a pretty strong family and we all live in town.”
Mr. Anderson had a shining personality and loved everyone, Stone said.
“He was so sincere and loving and caring, liked to flirt," Stone said. "He was a sweet man. If he didn’t like you, he wouldn’t pick on you; that’s for sure.”
Anderson also said his father had a way with people.
“He just had a multitude of friends," he said. "I don’t think he had an enemy in the world, a truly nice guy.”
Mr. Anderson is survived by his sister, Eleanor Mulcahey; a son, Tom Anderson; a daughter, Kelli Embry; grandchildren, Michael Horn, Josh Anderson, William Anderson, Beth Vogt, Sarah Anderson, Walker Embry, Sydney Embry; along with five great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
His parents, two sisters and wife died earlier.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, 2010, at Memorial Funeral Home with entombment following in Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be held at 1 p.m. Monday until service time.
Memorials can be sent to the VFW Post 280 at 1509 Ashley St; Elks Lodge at4747 E. Elk Park Drive or American Legion at 600 S. Legion Lane.
Tributes can be left online at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.