Lester Warner Anderson
West Des Moines
Lester Warner Anderson left us to again be with his beloved wife and friend of 68 years. He died peacefully at the HCI Kavanagh House on February 27, 2014 at the age of 97. As a devoted husband, brother, father, uncle, grandfather, and friend, Les will be greatly missed by all who knew him for he was a modest, sensible, and kindheartedly man who stood for his beliefs yet did not condemn those with different viewpoints.
Born in Sheldahl, Iowa, August 1, 1916, to Martin and Johanna Anderson, he was the eldest of five children. With the early death of his father he was called upon at an early age to help support a family struggling to "get by" after the Great Depression. He learned from experience the value of hard work and making do with what you have. In addition to working he would often have to hunt and fish to put food on the table.
When World War II started he enlisted in the Navy and served on the destroyer USS Strong until his ship was struck by a Japanese torpedo in July of 1943. The ship went down in 17 minutes, but, luckily he made it across to another destroyer by climbing hand-over-hand on a rope with another sailor clinging to his legs. Known as "Sparkie" to his shipmates, he served in Miami as an Electrician's Mate, First Class for the Navy until the end of the war.
After the war Les (known to his friends and customers as "Andy") resumed work for The Thomas Electric Company in Des Moines. After 30 years managing that company he purchased and managed The Lamp Shop in the Drake University neighborhood until his retirement in 1980. It seemed Andy could fix anything, and also enjoyed sketching, woodworking, dancing, music, and faithfully serving his church, Westminster Presbyterian, where he was a member for over 50 years. He was also a member of the Golden K Kiwanis Club for almost 23 years.
To say he was an avid fisherman would be an understatement. For almost 90 years, from the time he could hold a pole until last summer, he fished the lakes, ponds, and rivers of Iowa, Minnesota, and Canada. That's a lot of fish, but he loved being outdoors and he acted like every fish he caught was his first. As he leaves this world he would probably quote the author Douglas Adams by saying "so long and thanks for all the fish."
He was preceded in death by his mother and father; brothers, Dean and Palmer Anderson; sisters, Maxine Webber and Severina Peterson; and beloved wife, Mary Jeane. Surviving is his sister; Darlene Dopson; daughter, Linda Anderson; son, William Anderson; brother and sister-in-law, Arnold and Vivian Larson; grandchildren, Danielle Mercado, Ian Anderson, and Dana Bouley; four great grandchildren; and 17 nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Monday, March 3rd at McLaren's Resthaven Chapel from 4 to 7 p.m. Celebration of Life services will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 4th at Westminster Presbyterian Church with burial services to follow at Resthaven Cemetery. Lunch will be provided afterwards for those who want to visit and celebrate this man's long extraordinary, yet simple life.
Published in Des Moines Register on Mar. 2, 2014