Richard Eric Anderson changed lives. His birth on May 18, 1956, taught his family about children with Down's Syndrome and the family spread those lessons to all they met. His parents, Vesta and Eric Anderson, changed the courses of their lives to make life better for Richard and other families who were told to institutionalize children with special needs at birth. Richard became part of a special study at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles where he confounded them by not following the cognitive pattern they thought they knew...so the pattern was changed. Throughout his school years, Richard was the test case about having classrooms within the existing school structure to address educational and training needs. He graduated from Bozeman High School in 1977 and went on to work in several businesses around Bozeman as a dishwasher extraordinaire.
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Richard was funny, caring, and stubborn. He trod the streets of Bozeman for years pushing his oxygen trolley in front of him in rain, sun and snow. He loved the mountains, country music and Goldfish crackers. Probably the highlight of his life was when he got to see Fonzie's coat at the Smithsonian.
Richard was loved by, and loved, lots of people - his family, of course; Dorothy Kober; his godparents, Joe and Mary McGuire; Jay Kelly Eriksen; residents of Legion Villa; his coworkers; and caregivers in Billings. He thought every grocery clerk was a friend as were each of the people he met on his walks.
Richard will be missed by sisters Mary Donaghy, Chris Seifert, Lisa Perkins and brother Mike Anderson...and the in-laws and nieces and nephews who populated his life along with their friends and families. He would be surprised by how many lives he touched...and, mostly, it was just by being Richard.
Services are planned for Thursday at 1 p.m. at Saint James Episcopal Church in Bozeman.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from July 22 to July 23, 2015