ANDERSON, Helen Wagner 88, of Clearwater, died on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. Always ahead of her time, Helen Wagner Anderson walked the earth with the grace, intelligence, wit and kindness of a citizen of the universe. On sight, one recognized her innate dignity and goodness. The most grateful beneficiaries of these attributes were her three devoted daughters, to whom she taught the love of learning and beauty, as well as an understanding of the diverse cultures she tried to show them. Leading by example, she won a Fiction Writing award for recording her very private life story. Skipping two years of primary education for academic excellence, Helen left her family home at age 16 to become a registered nurse in Brooklyn, New York. She served as a U.S. Army First Lieutenant during WWII in the European Theater and received the American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. Thereafter, she continued to travel numerous times to four continents and participated in the Retired Officer's Wives and Widows Club. A resident of the Tampa Bay area for 47 years, Helen never turned away from any need she saw, earning the Lifetime Service Award from the Pinellas County Commissioners in 1999 and Certificates of Appreciation from the Pinellas County Volunteer Service Program and the Florida International Museum. She also served as one of the original eight cornerstone Pinellas County trail park rangers, originating the "information station" in downtown Dunedin, delivered Meals on Wheels, and participated in endless campaigns for the heart and cancer societies and other causes. A striking beauty herself, Helen loved flower arranging and became an officer in the Dunedin Garden Club. She could be seen in her later years pampering her lawn and walking daily on the Ream Wilson Trail with Simon and Peter, her two beloved white bichons. Helen is survived by her sister Grace Gifford of Deposit, NY; her brother, Tom Wagner of Margaretsville, NY, her husband William H. Anderson, Jr.; and her three daughters, Frances Walker of Edinburg, TX, and Ingrid Anderson and Katy Delise, both of Clearwater. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2009 from 2-4 pm at Moss Feaster Funeral Home, 693 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater. Interment will be at Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell.
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Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Jan. 18, 2010