Cover photo for Reverend Dr. William P. Anderson Sr.'s Obituary
Reverend Dr. William P. Anderson Sr. Profile Photo
1936 Reverend Dr. William 2021

Reverend Dr. William P. Anderson Sr.

February 22, 1936 — May 7, 2021

The Rev. William P. Anderson was welcomed into heaven Friday, May 7, at age 85, in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, where he joyfully lived and worked as pastor of Community Presbyterian Church USA for 16 years. He lived his life with compassion, good humor and an understanding that the eternal love of God is ever-present in all our lives.

Born Feb. 22, 1936, in Ridgefield, N.J., Bill will grew up in Queens, N.Y., and played streetball with the likes of Whitey Ford. He met the love of his life, Carolyn Rachor, when the “cute blond” — as Bill would tell everyone — taught him the tango; they were married 64 years. After a stint in the Navy Reserves and doing tax law and accounting in Manhattan, the son of a Catholic father and Presbyterian mother received degrees from Bloomfield College and Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned a doctorate in theology. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1964. Bill specialized in serving small and rural congregations and those who needed the help of an interim minister, a title churches would stretch out for many, many years.

He, Carolyn, and their first two children, Janice and Bill Jr., left their beloved congregation at Larisons Corner, N.J., and the many friends they made there, in 1968 for the University of Dayton (Ohio), where Bill served as a professor of religious studies. Over the next 32+ years, his contributions there would be great. Among his greatest joys was as a founder of and professor in the Core program, where he taught alongside humanities and social sciences colleagues. He was constantly energized by the inquisitiveness of his students and always relished a good debate. He had a unique style of listening, making you feel his equal although it was quite clear you were in the presence of someone whose wealth and depth of knowledge ran deep. At the core of that knowledge was the truth of eternal love. As a protestant minister working at a Catholic university, he would often say how closely the concepts of God, community and service taught by the Marianists brothers aligned with his own theology. Their third child, Kevin, was born in Dayton, and all three children would go on to receive degrees from UD.

Bill retired from the University of Dayton in 1998 as professor emeritus and stayed on as Core director. He continued to serve congregations throughout his life; among his greatest joys was to officiate at weddings. His sermons were like his courses, and he would leave those with whom he talked educated and inspired to make Jesus present in our world.

Bill was known as “Pop-Pop” to the grandchildren. He loved telling a good story and scooping them out ice cream — strawberry was his favorite — into bowls as large as their heads. His wonderful sense of humor always erupted in joyful laughter. He was the ultimate sports fan, especially enjoying women’s basketball and the Dayton Flyers. Bill was honored to live on the reservation of the Lac Du Flambeau band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, whose home is among the most beautiful places on Earth.

Bill is preceded in death by his parents, Martha (nee Crawford) and Paul Anderson, brother John Anderson, and sister Doris Russert. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; daughter Janice, her wife Paige and their son Logan; son Bill Jr., his wife Christine and their daughters Rebecca and Gwendolyn; and son Kevin, his wife Michelle Tedford and their daughter Heavenlee; as well as by his loved-as-grandchildren Jaylin, Miracle and Marcia, and numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Services will be private, with a public memorial to be planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Community Presbyterian Church of Lac Du Flambeau, 643 Old Abe Road, Lac Du Flambeau, WI 54538.
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