Frank Russell Anderson

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Mr. Frank Russell Anderson, age 105, of Blytheville, passed away peacefully in his home on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. Born Dec. 28, 1913 in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, to Dr. Frank Clinton and Ethel Ross Anderson, he would go on to a life of dedicated, faithful service in various ways for his country, family and friends. Preceding Frank in death were his parents, his beloved wife of 52 years , Emma Lou Phillips Anderson, infant son, Russell Anderson, and beloved sister, Elizabeth Maushund.

Frank was a graduate of Kemper Military Academyl in Booneville, Mo., and then proceeded to receive his bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Frank was a “proud Buckeye” and an avid fan of all their sports. Frank was a retired American Red Cross field director, a capacity in which he served for 29 years.

In 1941, Frank enlisted in the United States Army. He served as a military intelligence soldier under General George Patton in the 3rd Army. He was to see and be involved in many heart wrenching episodes of the war with Germany. Frank was one of the first U.S. soldiers to behold the horrors of Dachau, one of the worst concentration camps in Germany in April 1945. A U.S. tank had just knocked down the gates to the camp. As he entered the camp he saw shivering, starving prisoners wearing pajamas, lying on the ground and wandering in the middle of the street in a cold rain.

At age 105, Frank is one of a dwindling number of World War II veterans who liberated the concentration camps and witnessed the horrors firsthand. The sights had a prolonged effect upon Frank who had risen to the rank of master sergeant. On Nov. 18, 1945, Frank changed uniforms in Paris, France, and joined the Red Cross as assistant field director with the U.S. Armed Forces. He would serve in this much needed field for the next 29 years with twenty two of those years were spent overseas serving in various countries. As a Red Cross representative he would attend the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and see the Nazis as they stood defiantly in the courtroom. Frank remembered the tribunal more than the camp because he saw justice brought forth for the prisoners of Dachau.

During his military service Frank received numerous decorations. His service under General Patton and General Walker was one of dedication, courage and a special brotherhood, as he united with the other soldiers of the 3rd Army.

Frank would carry on with that same dedication, courage and tenacious spirit while serving in the Red Cross. Yet Frank would not be alone in his endeavor to help people for he was to meet the love of his life, Emma Lou Phillips. In 1957, Frank and Emma were married in the Blytheville Air Force Base Chapel and they lived happily in many places around the United States and the world, including Guam, England, Japan, Germany, England, France, the Azores, Korea and Thule, Greenland. Frank retired at Eaker AFB in 1977, but in 1983 he came out of retirement, or “retread” as Frank would call it, for a three year Red Cross service tour at U.S. Army headquarters in Japan, at Camp Zama. Frank and Emma returned to the United States in 1986 and located on the White River at Norfork for five years before moving back to Blytheville in 1991. The move was to answer the retread call into ARC uniform and to serve as station manager and close out the 35 year old Red Cross office at Eaker Air Force Base in Blytheville. Sadly and with great emotion, one final time on July 1, 1992, Frank and Emma presented the office keys to the last USAF contingency officer.

During his years of retirement both Frank and Emma enjoyed bass and trout fishing among other activities. Frank and Emma also developed many dear friendships with people all over the world which they treasured very much. Frank was a man who inspired others. His life was such that it was hard for people to say “I can’t do it” around him. Frank enjoyed running and kept himself in good physical condition. Even in his 100s, he would walk 2-3 miles per day. At the age of 91, he had heart bypass surgery. This in itself is no common feat but the doctors said his health was such that he could have the surgery. On July 4, 2018, at the age of 104, Frank gained national attention when he threw out the first pitch at the Memphis Redbirds game in Memphis, Tenn. More than anything, Frank was a devoted individual whose love for family was the center of his life. He possessed an intense desire to always be courteous, friendly and sincere in life. The life of such a man who lived to be 105 and a “half “as Frank would always put his age, cannot be enclosed in such a short amount of space. To have become a friend of Frank Anderson was truly a great honor, an honor which will stay with each us in the years to come as we remember this wonderful individual who spent a life of caring, compassion and sharing of himself with others. Frank’s many wonderful attributes will surely be missed by everyone.

Frank is survived by his children, Frank Russell Anderson II, Sara Anne and Burt Vanderclute of Fayetteville, N.C., Nancy Lee Allen of Ft. Myers, Fla.; grandchildren, Amy Lovato, Lia Tremblay, Sarah Allen, Rebecca Allen and three great grandchildren. Frank is also survived by his extended family at Westminster Village in Blytheville where so many precious friendships were developed.

A celebration of Frank’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 9, in the Cobb Funeral Home Chapel with Dr. Ron Wilcoxson officiating, assisted by Frank’s dear friend, Mr. Kendall Berry. Full military honors will be rendered following the Memorial Service at Cobb Funeral Home with the family receiving friends immediately following honors. A graveside service reuniting him with his beloved Emma will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, in the Clubb Family Cemetery in Puxico, Mo.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to honor Frank’s life may be donated to the American Red Cross Association.

Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.cobb funeral home