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Charles W. Anderson

Charles W. Anderson

July 14, 1919 - Oct. 13, 2013

WILLMAR - Charles W. Anderson, 94, of Willmar, died Sunday at Bethesda Heritage Center in Willmar. His funeral will be 10:30 am, Saturday, October 19th at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Willmar. Burial will be in Cloverleaf Cemetery. Military honors will be provided by American Legion Post #167 and VFW Post #1639. Visitation will be from 5-7 pm, Friday at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar and continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday.

Charlie was born to Carl and Mary (Honebrink) Anderson. He grew up in Willmar and spent summers at his grandparent's Honebrink farm near the New London area. He was a charter member at Redeemer Lutheran Church and was active in the young people's program and choir. Later he held several church positions and was involved in many church groups. He especially enjoyed teaching Sunday School for many years.

Charlie was united in marriage to Bernice Bergemann on June 1, 1941 at Redeemer Lutheran Church. Throughout their life together they enjoyed helping others through their church and community activities. They were influential in starting a faith based children's singing group called "God's Hams," a Cub Scout troop, and later a Boy Scout troop at Redeemer Lutheran Church . Charlie served as the Round Table District Commissioner and District Leader, training scout leaders. He enjoyed coaching Midget Football for a number of years. Charlie loved his team to be "Number 1" but he told his boys that their church and family came first, school second, and football third. For Charlie, how the boys worked together was more important than winning. He always played every member on the team. He enjoyed singing in a barber shop quartet, community and church choirs, playing guitar, and singing with his wife in many community affairs, nursing homes, and as they traveled. He also enjoyed being in many church and community plays. Charlie loved to pitch softball for Redeemers church league and would fill in at St. John's Lutheran Church, in Atwater, when needed.

Charlie liked to say that he was invited into the "Service" in November of 1941, by Uncle Sam. He served our country in the US Army, 42 months, during World War II; from North Africa, into Italy, France and Germany. After returning from the war he went to work for the Great Northern Railroad as a switchman, yard foreman, and president of the switchmens union. He started when the railroad was using steam engines and ended with diesel and electric engines. He averted some accidents and experienced others. He told about one possible accident where he climbed onto an unmanned runaway train and stopped it without damage to equipment or harm to anyone. When he retired after 34 years at the railroad he started an annual reunion of the men he served with in the 439th AAA Battalion during WWII. They met for many years sharing stories and enjoyed being together again in more peaceful times.

Other interests he enjoyed were traveling, camping, fishing, golfing, hunting, horseshoes, lapidary, wood working, wood carving, dancing and sports.

Charlie kept his faith close and was a very generous man with his time in helping others and helping to build strong character in many young people throughout his life.

He is survived by his daughter, Gloria (and Gary) Behm of St. Louis, MO; son, Chuck (and Deborah Causton) Anderson; former daughter-in-law, Dee Bender of Red Wing, MN; grandchildren, Wade (and Lara) Anderson, Ann Marie Behm, Kami (and Ken) Anderson; great grandchildren, Ashley, Riley, Tyler, Owen, and Gretchen; brother-in-law, Elroy (and Arlene) Bergemann of Los Alamos, NM; sister-in-law, Shirley (and Robert) Hoffman, of Elbert, CO; sister-in-law, Clara Beckstrom of Waconia, MN; nieces, nephews, cousins, caregivers, and many friends and young people he taught and nurtured throughout his life.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Bernice, parents, Carl and Mary Anderson, brother, Floyd Anderson, nephew, Douglas Anderson, grandparents, aunts, uncles and many others who helped nurture and guide this lovely man into the helpful, caring, and giving person he grew to be.