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Gainesville - Judith Estelle Anderson, deaconess in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, died in Gainesville, FL, on February 15, 2013. Born to Dr. and Mrs. W.A.D. Anderson in Milwaukee, WI, December 17, 1951, she was raised in Coral Gables, FL (with a brief exile to relatives in Canada during the Cuban missile crisis, which threatened South FL, and a sojourn in South Africa with her family during her father's sabbatical).

Judith was a Master Gardener and worked for years as a real estate agent for Wise Realty in Tallahassee. For more than a decade she served as foster parent to a host of children, aided by her tremendous heart, remarkable patience, and redeeming sense of humor. She was a graduate of FSU (1973) and a member of Alpha Zeta Delta sorority. She developed an interest in American Sign Language, earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in ASL/English Interpreting from North FL Community College in 2003, and became active in the Church Interpreter Training Institute. She was graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN, with a Master of Arts degree in 2007. As a deaconess, she then was called to work as a parish ministry consultant for Bethesda Lutheran Communities, serving people with developmental disabilities. She was talented in speaking and writing, but more importantly a consummate listener. She was active in her home church, Ascension Lutheran in Ft. Wayne, until she came to Gainesville to receive treatment for a rare form of sarcoma. Her profound faith in God shaped her life journey.

Judith is survived by her daughter Eshanne (Jason Hessler-Smith) and by two grandchildren, as well as sons James, Jonathan, and Travis, all in Gainesville. The youngest of four, her surviving siblings are Joan (Anderson), Mary (Dennis Lombard), and Douglas (Wirtley Anderson), all in FL. A memorial service will be held in her other home church, Abiding Savior Lutheran, 9700 West Newberry Road, Gainesville, on Saturday, February 23, at 2 p.m., with Pastor Alan Struckmeyer presiding. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Lutheran World Relief (P.O. Box 17061, Baltimore, MD 21298-9832).

Published in Gainesville Sun from Feb. 20 to Feb. 21, 2013
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