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Robert Lewis Anderson


1925 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Robert Lewis Anderson Obituary
April 18, 1925 - April 6, 2017 Robert L. Anderson, Ph.D., an influential psychotherapist and pioneer in the Los Angeles mental health community, passed away on April 6, 2017 after a brief illness. He died peacefully at the age of 91, surrounded by his loving family. To everyone who met or knew him, he was a kind and nurturing person whose ever-optimistic goal in life was to develop human connections and to heal those in need. On that score, he succeeded wildly every day of his long and extremely active life. The son of Herbert and Olive (Venable) Anderson, Bob was born April 18, 1925 in Kingsburg, California. His beloved older brother, Herbert Anderson, was killed in action in Korea. A person of exceptional intellect, humor, and warmth from the get-go, Bob spent his teenage years working on the family livestock and fruit ranch, as well as scampering up and down transmission poles as a part-time telephone lineman. An especially avid music lover, he played and taught drums in the Kingsburg City Band. After graduating from Kingsburg High School in 1943, Bob joined the Army and served as a member of the 86th Blackhawk Division with Patton's Third Army in Germany. Rising to the rank of Sergeant, he and his combat group were awarded the Bronze Star by President Harry S. Truman. In 2003, Bob published his memoirs in which he told the interwoven story of his idyllic central California childhood juxtaposed with the intense front line combat he took part in overseas. Never one to mince words, he called the book "Innocent Killer." After returning home from the war, Bob continued his education at University of the Pacific and University of Chicago, and in 1953, launched a psychotherapy career in Los Angeles that would span over seven decades. He was instrumental in developing the Child Study Center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and later, as founder and director of the Anderson Family Study Center, made a profound difference in many lives by using his innovative therapeutic techniques. Admired for his clinical expertise, Bob also spent many years educating and mentoring fellow therapists. In fact, right up until his final illness, he never stopped helping other people. Outside of work, Bob's interests were as varied as they were numerous: he still loved playing the drums, as well as sculpting, baton twirling, traveling, writing and operating his ham radio. At age 87, he even took up flying lessons. Bob also enjoyed the simple pleasures of daily life: strolling in Santa Monica's Palisades Park, going to movies and concerts, and family celebrations. Bob is survived by his cherished wife Celia Keehan, his son Mark and daughter Jill, son-in-law Alan and grandchildren Justin and Kate, in-laws Mary and Frank, and Michael, nieces and nephew Michele, Jamie, and John, as well as numerous other family relations and dear friends. For all those who experienced Bob's love, kindness and immense generosity of spirit firsthand, he will be fiercely missed, with his memory forever imprinted on our hearts.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 21 to Apr. 30, 2017
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