William Lee Anderson, Colonel United States Air Force (Ret.) passed away on Saturday, October 11, 2014 in the presence of family at Martha Jefferson Hospital. Bill was born to George S. Anderson and Elizabeth Meston Anderson in Evanston, Illinois on August 10, 1932. He was a 1955 graduate of West Point and a decorated combat pilot.
Bill had 27 years of distinguished service in the US Air Force, including two combat tours flying F-4's in 242 missions in Vietnam, many over North Vietnam supporting "Operation Linebacker," earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 14 Air Medals. Bill concluded his active duty military career as a Professor of Air (Aerospace Science) at Virginia Military Institute. He retired to the Charlottesville area, where he earned his Law Degree from the University of Virginia in 1985, and pursued a very successful legal career in Charlottesville, specializing in elder law. He was a very active and highly respected leader in the Charlottesville area. He was instrumental in civic affairs, where he founded the West Point Society of Monticello almost three decades ago, and was also President of the local MOAA Chapter. He founded the Charlottesville Air Force Association Chapter, later serving as the state Vice President. He was a member of the Civil Air Patrol, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Virginia Bar. He was a member of the Air Force Retired Officer's Club and a trustee of St. David's Anglican Church, where he was also Senior Warden. He is survived by his wife Anita Anderson, sister Elizabeth Anderson Crumbliss, daughter Amy Elizabeth Anderson, and granddaughters Paula Elizabeth Young and Katherine Lindsey Young. The memorial service will be held at St. David's Anglican Church in Charlottesville on Wednesday, October 15 at 2:00 p.m. with Father Warren Shaw officiating. He will be buried at a later date with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Visitation will be held at Hill and Wood Funeral Home on Tuesday, October 14, from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
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Bill Anderson Funeral
Our classmate, Bill Anderson, Company G-1, was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on Monday, February 9, 2015, amidst the tens of thousands of white marble tombstones on the hallowed ground of Arlington. Father Warren Shaw, Pastor of St. David’s Anglican Church in Charlottesville where Bill had served as the Senior Warden, officiated at the graveside services assisted by LTC Edward Moore, USMA ’67, Member of the Staff and Faculty, Fork Union Military Academy. There were five members of the Class of 1955, present, Durf and Barbara McJoynt, fellow Air Force grad of 1955, who escorted Bill’s widow, Anita Anderson; John and Ruth Sloan, our faithful class photographer, who captured the entire service, the attendees and reception which followed at the Fort Myer Officers Club; Bill McCulla, Rich Miller and Carl McNair.
Many of Bill and Anita’s friends from across the country attended with a joint military representation not only from USMA, but the Air Force and Naval Academies as well. Bill’s daughter Amy Anderson and Bill’s two granddaughters, Paula and Catherine, were also present, as was Bill’s sister, Elizabeth Anderson Chambliss and Anita’s Brother, Clint Horn and his family.
For those of you who may visit Arlington National Cemetery from time to time, Bill was interred in Section 55, just off of McClellan Drive, across Eisenhower Drive from the historic McClellan Gate, just a short walk from another ’55 classmate, Mike Malooley, who passed away in 2005.
The day was cool and breezy, with temperatures in the thirties. Many of the mourners including family and friends braved the chill breezes as they walked behind the caisson from the transfer point to the grave site, their hearts warmed by the pace of the Air Force Honor Guard and the crisp notes of the Air Force Band. Following the rifle salute and taps, the flag was carefully folded and presented to Anita and the family as was the traditional card of condolence from the Air Force Chief of Staff, represented by the Air Force Arlington lady who extended personal condolences on behalf of the Chief of Staff and the United States Air Force. Standing alone on a nearby hillside, a Scottish Bagpiper rendered a final musical tribute to our fallen warrior. Reverend Shaw read from the scriptures and evoked the blessings of the Almighty in the passing of our dear friend. The family members then moved slowly past the coffin and each laid a memorial rose on the casket as they bid their final farewells. A flyby of USAF F-16’s in the Missing Man Formation was scheduled, but the ceiling was so low that the Air Force aircraft did not have the proper airspace clearance to execute their maneuver. However, with the very low clouds and ceilings, there was still a constant flow of commercial aircraft departing National Airport as they then passed directly over Arlington, easily heard, but not seen in the very low hanging clouds – adding to the drama of the moment and reminiscent of Bill’s days as an Air Force fighter pilot when the flights he commanded would take off in formation, flight of four at a time, to rejoin in the skies above the clouds – where in aviator parlance, the sky was “clear blue and twenty-two” and clear sailing for our fighter pilot and friend.
In sum, it was a beautiful service – on a very cold day, warmed by the hearts and tears of those who came to render their final salute to William L. Anderson, born in Evanston, Illinois, on August 10, 1932, and passed away in Charlottesville, Virginia, on October 11, 2014. May he rest in peace now and forever more – a brave and faithful airman who in the words of General Douglas MacArthur in his Farewell Address to Congress said, “he did his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty.”
Faithfully – Grip Hands,
Classmate. Friend, and Fellow Aviator