Neighbors, family, and friends will hold a potluck 3 p.m. Sunday at 35 Mile Old Haines Highway to celebrate the life of Mosquito Lake resident Linda Joyce Anderson. Anderson died Oct. 9 at Sitka Community Hospital of lung cancer. She was 62.
Anderson helped husband Fred Anderson Sr. build their home, worked at Skagway Air Service and clerked at Chilkoot Gardens and The Alaska Side.
"She was a lifesaver," said Alaska Side owner Teri Podsiki. "When we bought it we knew nothing about the business and she was there and knew everything. We couldn’t have done it without her. She also adored the grandkids and always had a biscuit for the dogs at the door."
Anderson was a founder of the Haines Animal Rescue Kennel and helped with the Southeast Alaska State Fair dog show for 16 years. "I called her my ‘dog buddy,’"said show organizer and neighbor Carrie Kinison. "Linda and I were always rescuing one thing or another – a kitten or a dog or a horse – whatever needed rescuing." She said at one time the Andersons had 13 dogs they’d saved. "It was because of her compassion. That was the type of person she was."
Her pets, a home out the road and a job in town made Anderson "a very busy lady," Kinison said. "Even when she sat still she was always knitting or crocheting or sewing something for her grand kids or making a dog bed or dog toys."
She enjoyed reading thrillers and watching NASCAR and Mark Harmon on the TV show NCIS, her husband said.
Linda Anderson was born March 19, 1949, in Pasco, Wash., the daughter of Roland and Mary Ann Sanders. She was raised in Portland and moved to Molalla, Ore. as a teenager. She graduated from Molalla Union High School in 1966 and went to work in a Pendleton woolen mill. She met Fred Anderson when he was on leave from the Navy. He and a friend stepped out of a bar while she and a girlfriend were stopped at an intersection in a 1957 Chevy convertible. The girls yelled for the sailors to jump in. It turned out their car was being tailed by car full of thugs, Fred said. He and Linda married on his "lucky day," Friday, Oct. 13, 1967, in Molalla.
A few years later Anderson’s father called to say he was leaving for a job at the Schnabel Lumber Company in Haines and encouraged Fred, Linda and their two children to join them. "We had an hour to pack," Anderson said. He worked at the mill until they moved to Sitka in 1972. He worked at a mill there and Linda clerked at a gift shop.
"Linda had an eye for displays and was such a natural she was put in charge of all the high-end ivory items," Anderson said. She also worked as a waitress and played shortstop on a women’s softball team.
The Andersons left Sitka for Oregon in the late 1970s for jobs on a cattle ranch. Linda cooked for the cowboys, cared for her children, and helped out cutting calves from cows. "She was an excellent rider and could get out there in the muck and the mud with the guys. She loved it," Anderson said.
After the ranch was sold, she managed an Elks Lodge in Heppner before they returned to Haines in 1994 and settled at Mosquito Lake. The dream home they’d built burned down recently.
Fred said he plans to replace it with a vacation cabin for his family, and for now will stay in Sitka to be near his daughter and grandchildren. "Linda was my spouse, best friend, partner, and the only woman I have ever loved," he said.
In addition to her husband, Anderson is survived by sons Alfred Anderson Jr., Haines, and Bobby Anderson, Juneau; daughter Jean Swanson of Sitka; sisters Patty Hildreth of Seattle and Sonja Richmond, California; brother Donnie Kimbell, Haines; and grandchildren Bobby and Corey Anderson of Juneau, Zachary, Christian, Joseph and Aaron Swanson of Sitka, and Jasmine and Michael Davis of Wisconsin.
Memorial donations may be made to HARK at P.O. Box 1533. Cards may be sent to Fred Anderson at 717 Sirstad St., Sitka, 99835.