Kermit Charles Anderson

World Trade Center

Walking Together


Kermit C. Anderson made the most of his lunch hour. Almost every day, for half an hour or so, he would descend from his 93rd floor office at the World Trade Center and walk, usually along the Hudson in Battery Park City, gazing out toward New Jersey. He loved places where the boundaries come together: city and river, humanity's creation and nature's.

Mr. Anderson, 57, a systems analyst at Marsh Inc., was a math major at Pennsylvania State University who married another Penn State math major, the former Jill Grashof. Together, the Andersons, who lived in Green Brook, N.J., walked for 36 years of married life.

Last year, for their 35th anniversary, they walked the mountains of British Columbia. Deposited every morning by helicopter with a guide, they would hike all day and arrive in the evening at a lodge in time for dinner and a soft bed.

"He probably would have camped, but for me he would stay in lodges with running water and lights," Mrs. Anderson said.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 14, 2001.

Kermit Anderson: As the years passed, their love only grew richer



Jill and Kermit Anderson's relationship changed as it approached the middle of its third decade. With their second daughter recently married and college payments in the past, they felt wealthy and free.

In August, the Green Brook couple celebrated their 35th anniversary by taking a helicopter to a mountaintop in British Columbia.

This fall they spent six days in Belgium, where they ate Belgian waffles and Belgian chocolate and strolled along a canal in Bruges like newlyweds.

"We were back to being a twosome and falling in love all over again in a much richer, deeper way than ever before," said Jill Anderson.

For his entire married life, Kermit Anderson worked for Marsh, an insurance broker that is part of Marsh & McLennan.

On the morning of Sept. 11, Mr. Anderson, a 57-year-old vice president, was in his office on the 97th floor of One World Trade Center. He must have had photographs from the Belgium trip with him, Jill Anderson said, because they are missing now.

When a hijacked airliner crashed through the building, he was probably showing the pictures to a colleague, because he would have done so in the morning, at his first opportunity, she said. Jill Anderson said she takes comfort in that likelihood.

But Jill Anderson's greatest source of solace is Noah Charles Werner, who was born to her daughter Barbara and her husband, Edward, of Tucson, Ariz., on Sept. 14. Noah's brother, William Frederick Werner, is 18 months old.

"I can hear Kermit saying to me, 'You give those grandkids twice the love, because I can't,' " Jill Anderson said.

Mr. Anderson was quiet, strong and steady. His greatest source of pride, besides his family, was his 36-year tenure at Marsh. One of his greatest pleasures was taking trips to football games at Pennsylvania State University, where he and Jill met.

It was just a couple of years ago that his office was moved to the World Trade Center. His wife rode into the city with him on July 3. In the morning, he showed her the grand view uptown from his desk. Then at lunch they walked down to Battery Park and along the Hudson, his favorite stroll.

Jill Anderson took the same walk on Oct. 9, in a guided trip with other victims' families.

"I thought, 'I was just here. I was just here with you,'" she said.

Also surviving Mr. Anderson is his daughter, Deborah Anderson; her husband, John Cheslock, and his sister, Selma Verse.

A memorial service will he held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Lewis Ricci, 302 Rider Building II, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. 16802. Checks should be payable to Penn State University and read "Kermit C. Anderson Memorial" in the memo line.

Profile by Alexander Lane published in THE STAR-LEDGER.




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