KILGORE — Thomas Henry Anderson Jr., known as Tommie, passed away Sunday morning, January 6, 2013, from complications of a sudden illness. He was 91 years old.
Tommie was born March 1, 1922, in Graham, Texas, to Thomas Henry Anderson Sr. and Cora Lea Stanford Anderson, where Tom and Cora Lea sold oil field supplies with "Tommie tied to the pumps on the store dock with Cora Lea's apron." They moved to East Texas when he was about 10 years old during the oil boom, living in Gilmer and Greggton, then later settling in Kilgore.
Tommie attended Longview schools and graduated from Longview High School. He attended Kilgore College, and there he met Eleanor Kirksey, a first line Rangerette. He became the first manager of the Rangerettes and, after graduation in 1941, they married on October 12.
His love for his country prompted voluntary enlistment in the military in 1942, and by 1943, he was in Hutchinson, Kansas, in Army Air Corps Flight School to serve during World War II
A medical emergency interrupted his overseas orders, and he was placed in a Psychological Intelligence Group until the end of the war, at which time he was honorably discharged on November 15, 1945. He again enlisted in August 1950, and was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where he was a member of the Adjunct General Corps and was also a part of the formation of the original "MASH" concept. He received an honorable discharge in August 1951.
Tommie Anderson is best known as the CEO of his father's business, T.H. Anderson Pump Co. Inc. of Kilgore. He worked with his parents in this business for many years before he and Eleanor purchased it from them in 1956. When they "semi-retired," T and Deanne ran the business together until 2011 at which time Deanne retired. This oilfield pump and supply company has been operating in the East Texas Oilfield since the oil boom of the 1930s and the Daisy Bradford Well Discovery.
Always in Tommie's heart was his devotion to his faith and the community. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Kilgore and a Master Mason in Danville Lodge 101. During his life he also participated in various other civic and service organizations such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Lions Club and the Junior Chamber of Commerce. In 1955, he was awarded the highest civilian honor of the Girl Scouts, the THANKS award. He loved his morning coffee groups and the special friends he had in them.
One of his passions was aviation, and he accumulated more than 5000 flight hours.
Tommie is survived by his "Alpha Girl," Eleanor; his daughter, Eleanor Deanne Anderson of Longview, Texas; his son, T.H. Anderson III and his wife, Sandy, of Kilgore, Texas; his grandson, Charles Ray Harvin Jr. and wife, Marina, of Varna, Bulgaria; granddaughter, Chanda Deanne White of White Oak, Texs; grandson, Thomas H. Anderson IV and his wife, Lilia, of Kilgore, Texas; and grandson, Robert Harrison Anderson and wife, Misty, of Kilgore, Texas. Additionally, he has five great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, plus many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Thursday January 10, 2013, at First Baptist Church in Kilgore, Texas, followed by a graveside service at Kilgore Cemetery. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. today, January 9, 2013, at Rader Funeral Home in Kilgore.
The Kilgore College Rangerettes have always held a special place to both Tommie and Eleanor. In his remembrance, it is the wish of Eleanor and the family that in lieu of flowers, any contributions be directed to the Tommie Anderson Memorial Fund with Rangerettes Forever, Kilgore College.