Obituary for Norman B. Anderson

obituary of Norman b. Anderson

This is based on the original obituary for Norman B. Anderson from the Valley Courier in Monte Vista, Colorado, in April 2015. At the time of Dad’s death, I wrote his official obituary with great difficulty. Here, I have rewritten the facts of that document from a place of grief wounds that continue to heal.

Norman Raymond Bernhard (Swede) Anderson, 85, of La Garita, CO, passed away at home on Monday, April 6, 2015. He was born in the Carlson-Taylor home in Lake Hamilton, FL, on August 1, 1929.

A Favorite Story

Swede grew up exploring the swamps and back country of Central Florida along the shores of Lake Marion. He told us stories of walking barefoot into the woods with his dog. There were some Seminole Indians who came to the Lake Marion area. He was just a little guy around five years old. The Seminoles wore traditional clothing and turbans, and they were scary. Norman would hide when he saw the Seminoles.

Citrus was His Career

After a freeze killed the grove on Lake Marion, his family settled on the shore of Crystal Lake in Dundee, FL, where his parents planted a 15-acre orange grove. He took care of the “home grove” and contracted out caring for groves owned by others. Eventually, he bought his groves with a friend, and they worked them together. Money was always tight, so Swede worked on his farming equipment and used his native ingenuity to craft innovative grove irrigation, tree cultivation, and pruning machinery.

His Hobbies Remembered

His hobbies included fishing, hunting, gardening, backpacking throughout the US, blacksmithing, and creating forged Damascus steel knives. A kinship with the outdoors brought Swede and wife Sue to the Rio Grande forest on a backpacking trip. They fell in love with the San Luis Valley and La Garita, which became their new home in October 1989. Swede continued to make knives and fabricate machine parts for residents. Family and friends will greatly miss him.

A Love for All of Nature

Swede loved all animals in the wild. He was especially fond of snakes. Rats were a problem in the Dundee, FL, property barn. But there were red rat snakes around that kept the rat population down. The 4-foot snakes seemed to know no harm would come from members of the Anderson family, and they were seen in many places near the house, including along the top of the stairs down to the half-basement and near the shore of Crystal Lake.

There were also poisonous snakes, including a coral snake over 3 feet long that liked to stay around the house foundation. Norman’s mother, Edith Anderson, disliked snakes and finally convinced him to kill the coral snake as she feared the children (Lila and Dawn) would be bitten. The hide was so beautiful Swede was curing it on a board in the barn. Unfortunately, an animal carried it off before the hide was dry.

A few Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes were in the area, including one that wandered into the Boston Ferns in the front yard near the lake shore. Swede heard it and walked into the ferns, asking Sue for his pistol. The family dog, “Jingles,” was with him and was bitten in the muzzle by the snake. Swede saw the strike and shot the rattlesnake. “Jingles” went to the vet but couldn’t be saved. Losing a loved pet to snakebite was a teaching opportunity about death and loss and, for the girls, instilled a healthy respect for rattlesnakes.

At home in La Garita, CO, a couple of Prairie Rattlesnakes preyed on the many resident chipmunks. His wife Sue doesn’t like snakes but understands why Swede is so protective of them. A pack rat was bitten by a rattlesnake in front of the house. It retreated behind some poultry wire around a clematis. Poultry wire and snakes aren’t compatible. The snake got stuck in the wire. Swede rescued the snake and removed the paralyzed pack rat to a safe place for the rattlesnake to consume it. Later, one of the rattlesnakes died, caught in another area of poultry wire. After that, he removed all the poultry wire.

His Loving Family

Norman is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Sue Linebaugh Anderson; daughters Lila Rogers of St. Cloud, FL, Dawn Anderson of Centennial, CO; grandchildren; David Marciano of Pearland, TX, Lawrence Marciano of Orlando, FL, Elizabeth Opala of Eagle River, AK and Michael Rogers of St. Cloud, FL, great-grandchildren; Charlotte Marciano and Benjamin Marciano of Pearland, TX. Cousins in Sweden also survive him.
Swede was preceded in death by his father, Linus Falka Valentina Anderson of Kristenehamn, Sweden, mother, Edith Elizabeth Peterson of Sigel, Wisconsin, and sister, Lila Anderson Roads of Sacramento, California.
Swede donated his body to science via Science Care. At a future date, there will be a potluck memorial service at his favorite local spot where he enjoyed the coffee, conversation, and many meals – the La Garita Trading Post.

View photos of Swede Anderson in a Flickr Album.

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