Eugene C. "Gene" Anderson, longtime citizen of Anacortes, passed away Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at Island Hospital, surrounded by the family he loved deeply. He was 79.
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Gene was born in a little house on Heart Lake Road on October 4, 1929. He spent his early childhood in Juneau, Alaska, but returned with his family to Anacortes in 1944, graduating from Anacortes High School in 1947.
Gene attended the University of Washington, where he earned his Bachelors degree in Psychology in 1952. He entered the Navy and armed with his mighty typewriter, he "fought the battle of Sand Point" for several years. While in the Navy, Gene married Katherine Anne Miller.
In 1954, Gene enrolled in the University of Washington School of Law, earning his Juris Doctor degree in 1957. After law school, Gene returned to Anacortes, and began his law practice in the office of Leroy Todd. Striking out on his own, Gene established a very successful law practice on 8th Street, first in partnership with Steve Mansfield, and later with James Anderson.
For many years, in addition to his law practice, Gene was a Municipal Court Judge in Anacortes. In his capacity as Justice of the Peace, he united countless couples in marriage, a responsibility he enjoyed thoroughly.
Gene and Katherine Anderson raised three children, Scott, Todd, and Katie Anderson. After Gene and his first spouse were divorced, Gene was united in marriage to Barbara M. (Knull) Mansfield in 1979. Barb's two daughters, Lisa and Lynn Mansfield, joined the Anderson household at that time.
In 1982, Gene was elected to the Skagit County District Court bench, where he served with distinction until his retirement in 1994. At the time of his retirement, Gene had served thirty-six years as a jurist, and was honored as the longest-serving district court judge in the state.
During his career, Gene won several awards for his judicial service, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington State Bar Association. He was a member of the Washington State Bar Examiners Committee from 1966 until well after his retirement from the bench, the last fifteen years of this term on the Executive Committee. Gene retired from the Bar Examiners Committee in 2007. He was also involved in several community activities during his career, including several terms on the Anacortes School Board, the effort that resulted in the construction of the Fidalgo Pool and Fitness Center, the Kiwanis, the Anacortes Arts and Crafts Festival during its formative years, and many other pursuits which continue to provide lasting benefit to the community.
Gene enjoyed nearly sixteen years of retirement with his beloved wife Barbara, working in his shop, making daily trips to the hardware store, gazing out the window of his house at "the lake", as he referred to his view of the Guemes Channel, and doting on his eleven grandchildren.
Gene was preceded in death by his father, Alvin Anderson, his mother, Irene (Hill) Anderson, and two brothers, Claude and Virgil Anderson.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, at the family home in Anacortes; son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Monica Anderson of Clyde Hill; son and daughter-in-law, Todd and Cindy Anderson of Anacortes; daughter, Katie (Anderson) Teplicky and son-in-law Bill Teplicky of Bellevue; step-daughter, Lynn (Mansfield) Jones and her husband Todd Jones of Kirkland; step-daughter, Lisa (Mansfield) Reinhard and her husband Tony Reinhard of Maple Valley; and eleven grandchildren: Christina and Patrick Anderson; Allie, Joey and Dominic Teplicky; Ian and Miles Anderson; Jacob and Joshua Jones; and, Thomas and Trey Reinhard.
Gene left large footprints in this community with his size five shoes, and he will be missed by many.
The family wishes to thank all at Island Hospital who were involved with Gene's short stay there, but especially appreciated the kind and expert care provided to him in his final few days by the wonderful nursing staff in the Intensive and Critical Care Unit.
A casual, open house celebration of Gene's life will be held from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., on Saturday, June 13, 2009 at the Croatian Cultural Center at 5th Street and R Avenue in Anacortes. Please come, enjoy some refreshment, and share your memories of Gene with others who knew him.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Island Hospital Foundation with instruction to benefit the ICCU, or to a charity of choice.
Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., Anacortes, WA and the San Juan Islands. To share memories of Gene, please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com.
Evans Funeral Chapel - Anacortes
1105 32nd Street
Anacortes, WA 98221