ANDERSON, RICHARD J.
Richard J. Anderson (Rick) retired Chief Financial Officer for the City of Atlanta Georgia died Wednesday, February 1, at his home in Gainesville, Florida from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. He was 66 years old.
Since his diagnosis in 2004, Rick has been active in research studies for a cure for ALS and donated his body to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida for further studies to the causes of ALS.
Rick leaves behind his wife Barbara. They met at the University of Florida and moved to Atlanta in 1969, where they spent the first 38 years of their 43-year marriage. They returned to Rick's hometown Gainesville, Florida in 2005.
Rick was born to long time Gainesville, Florida residents Dick and Clarice Anderson. He was active in Little League baseball and football and had a radio station program on WGGG in 1956 and 1957. He earned the Eagle Scout rank in 1960 and graduated from Gainesville High School in 1963.
Rick was a big Gator sports fan, going to his first football game before he was one year old and one of his first jobs was selling corsages at the football games. In December of 1965 he signed up with the Army Reserves and worked in the payroll office at Fort McPherson.
He married Barbara in June of 1968, and they moved to Atlanta in 1969. Rick received his Bachelor of Science in 1969 and his Master's Degree of Public Administration in 1971 from Georgia State University.
Rick began his career with the City of Atlanta as an Accounting Assistant in the Department of Finance in 1972. He worked many different positions throughout the years: Chief Financial Analyst, Director of Budget and Grants Management, and Deputy Commissioner of Finance. In 1989 he was appointed Chief Financial Officer. He worked under various mayoral administrations including those of Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young, and Shirley Franklin. He was also Director of Financial Services Atlanta Regional Commission when not directly working with the mayor's office. As a member of the greater Atlanta community, he worked diligently in many aspects of the city. He oversaw the issuance of bonds to improve Hartsfield International Airport, restructured the city's budget process, served on the Atlanta Organizing Committee (for the 1996 Olympic
Games) and instituted new initiatives to the finance department. He received many awards and recognitions including: the Award for Distinguished Budget Presentation (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990) and the certificate for Achievement in Excellence in Financial Reporting (1989, 1990). October 1, 1991 was declared "Richard J. Anderson Day" by Mayor Maynard Jackson.
Rick was a supporter of the arts and education. His interests included the Atlanta Historical Society, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Friends of Zoo Atlanta, High Museum of Art, and in Gainesville, Florida, the Harn Art Museum, the Alachua County History Museum (Matheson Museum), and the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Many educational institutions benefited from his generosity. He endowed scholarships at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and the College of Education at the University of Florida. He was instrumental in an enlargement of the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo located in Gainesville, Florida and for research to be conducted on the history of Southern College Sports by the Alachua County History Museum (The Matheson Museum) and support to the Collector's day program at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Collecting College Sports Memorabilia, vintage postcards of Atlanta and Gainesville, Florida and Breweriana were additional passions of his with many enjoyable trips along the way amassing his collections. He enjoyed displaying his collections, meeting other collectors at conventions and finding the next item.
Rick is predeceased by his parents Dick and Clarice Anderson, his brother Walter Anderson and his nephew Joe Helfand. He is survived by his wife Barbara, his sisters Clarice (Rick) Helfand of Vero Beach, FL, Eileen Stephens of Gainesville, FL, brother, Bob Anderson of Decatur, GA, and his sisters-in-law: Nancy (Charles) Warren of Blacksburg, VA, Susan (Joe) Chase of Abingdon, VA, Robin Racoff of Atlanta, GA and Kathy Anderson, Gainesville, FL.
He had many nieces and nephews: Josh (Christy) Helfand, of Conshohocken, PA; Tom (Nicole) Helfand of Lucas, TX; Kenny, Brian, Amy, and Eric Anderson of Gainesville; Caraline Stephens (Patrick Duke) and Jacob Stephens of Gainesville, Lori (Grady) Baker of Roanoke, VA, Brian (Vanessa) Chase of Richmond, VA, Greg (Katie) Warren of Roanoke, VA, Andrew (Peg) Warren of Blacksburg, VA, Katie (Buddy) Musgrove of Atlanta, GA., Ben Racoff of Marietta, GA,, Darcy Racoff of Savannah, GA., and Erin Racoff of Atlanta, GA.
There will be a celebration of life at the Matheson Museum, Gainesville, Florida on Monday, February 6th, 4 to 6 pm. Donations can be made to the Matheson Museum 513 E. University Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32601, or the ALS Association Florida Chapter Walk to Defeat ALS (http://webfl.alsa.org/site/TR
?fr_id=7776&pg=pfind website) - Team Rick. There will also be a memorial service in Atlanta the last weekend in February with details being finalized.