Alton Dean Anderson, longtime resident of Idaho Falls, passed away Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, at the age of 88.
He was born June 20, 1925, in Idaho Falls, the son of Elmer Mauritz and Anderson Astrid Marie (Steele) Anderson. He was raised in the New Sweden farm area of Idaho Falls and graduated from Idaho Falls High School in 1943.
After high school, he joined the U.S. Army Air Force. He served as a radio operator and became an expert in Morse code. He was stationed in Greenland during World War II.
When he returned from the service, he attended the University of Idaho, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal husbandry. He was a lifelong University of Idaho Vandal fan.
Alton was an outstanding high school and college athlete, earning a call to tryouts for the L.A. Dodgers as a baseball pitcher.
While attending the University of Idaho, he met and fell in love with Verona Joyce Hanson. They were married in Moscow, Idaho, in August 1948. After college, they moved to Blackfoot, where he served as the county agent for Bingham County. They later moved to Idaho Falls, where they farmed the family homestead in New Sweden. Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce in 1967.
Alton was the grandson of Fred and Bertha (Berjesson) Anderson, early pioneers in the New Sweden area. He was very close with his grandmother, Bertha. One of the highlights of his childhood was in 1939, when he traveled to Sweden with Bertha and his parents and brother to visit relatives. During their stay, World War II was beginning, and he vividly remembered their return voyage on a "blacked-out" ship.
In 1958, he suffered the untimely loss of his dear brother, Leland. Leland took his own life at the young age of 36. Alton carried the sadness of that loss throughout his life.
In the early 1960s, he studied and did considerable research on potato storage. In 1963, he designed, built and installed one of the first electronic air proportioning systems for potato cellars in southeast Idaho. His system significantly extended the storage life and increased the quality for potatoes held in storage. Those systems are still being used today.
He is survived by three children, Dean Anderson of Moscow, Idaho, Nancy (always called Dolly by her Dad) Anderson of Hamilton, Mont., and Bill Anderson of Noti, Ore.; and three grandsons, Christian Renoux of Portland, Ore., Cedar Breeze of Eugene, Ore., and Filbert Anderson of Noti, Ore.
His parents and his brother and best friend, Leland Duane Anderson, preceded him in death.
Graveside funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. today, Nov. 21, at Fielding Memorial Park Cemetery. Military rites will be performed by the Bonneville County Veterans Memorial Team and Idaho Honor Guard.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com.