Paul Richard Anderson
Born October 29, 1943 in Hudson, South Dakota
Died April 22, 2022 in Hemet, California at 78 years of age.
Born in Hudson, South Dakota, Paul was the second-born child (of six) of Paul and Amber Anderson (née White). He experienced frequent relocation throughout his childhood and as a teenager found his own sense of permanence and community in Fremont, Nebraska.
He enlisted in the United States Air Force and served from 1962 to 1966, being stationed in Illinois (Chanute AFB), Kansas (McConnell AFB), Texas (Sheppard AFB), and California (Edwards AFB) where he carried out the bulk of his duties in the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory. He twice submitted official requests to be deployed in Vietnam and was twice denied permission. Although he didn’t care much for military life, he treasured the friendships and unique experiences- like driving a USAF tank (modified for use in close observation of rocket engine tests) and working as a technician in a Titan-II missile silo.
Following military discharge, his technical aptitude contributed to various professional forays (including a stint with the TRW Corporation during which he worked on the Lunar Module Descent Engine for the historic Apollo 11 mission).
Paul was among the first generation of professionals in the newly emerging air quality industry following the establishment of the EPA in 1970. He spent approximately 40 years in this field, working for various companies and holding various titles.
Travel was inherent to Paul’s chosen industry, and time away from home brought him equal parts joy and regret. He loved visiting new places and was proud of having visited all 50 US states. He also carried with him guilt over missing some holidays and moments at home with his family (despite frequent and sincere assurances that no hard feelings were harbored over such necessary absences).
After retirement from air quality, Paul became a school crossing guard and discovered that his enthusiasm for making friends was not limited to any age. He found the brief daily interactions with local children and their parents to be entirely rewarding.
Paul was twice married and twice divorced. Following the second marriage (to Linda Anderson, with whom he raised a family in Orange, California over the course of 29 years), he relocated to Hemet, California, which quickly became his new beloved home. He made many friends in the community and explored several new activities with them.
Aside from his personal and professional accomplishments, Paul filled his life with a variety of interests, including in no particular order: reading novels, CB-radio operation, league bowling, cribbage, crossword puzzles, horseshoe-tossing, board games, radio-controlled aircraft, photography, autobiographical writing, collecting vintage tools, automotive repair, lounging in swimming pools, restaurant dining, and many others. If making friends can be elevated to a hobby, then he was a proud practitioner of that as well. Paul had chrome-fever, but he did not suffer from it. Beginning at age 14, he owned 45 cars & motorcycles and he was always happy to recount events from his life involving each one. Eclipsing all casual interests was his joy of becoming a grandfather and sharing quality time with his grandchildren.
Paul is survived by his son Matthew, grandchildren Autumn and Gretchen, siblings Mary, Catherine, Gary, and Kenneth, all of their spouses, several nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Paul was an honorary member of the Shelton family of Fremont, Nebraska and is there survived by his sibling Darlene (and several more relatives).
He was preceded in death by his parents Paul and Amber, his younger sister Joyce, his daughter Elizabeth, and several others dear to him.
Paul will forever be in the hearts of his family and friends.
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