Elam J. Anderson
July 8, 1926 – December 29, 2014
The Reverend Elam J. Anderson, 88, passed away on December 29, 2014, at his home in McMinnville, Oregon.
Rev. Anderson was born on July 8, 1926 in Shanghai, China, the son of Elam and Colena Anderson, American Baptist missionaries. The family returned to the United States in 1932, living first in McMinnville, where his father served as president of Linfield College; then in Redlands, California, where Elam Anderson Sr. passed away during his presidency of Redlands University in 1944. Elam Jr. continued his studies at Redlands University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in physics. He studied graduate psychology at the University of Washington before enrolling at the Berkeley Baptist Divinity School, from which he received a Master of Divinity in 1952. He served American Baptist congregations in Oakland and San Jose, California, where he met his future wife, Jean Richard; and Fort Bragg, California.
In 1964, Rev. Anderson moved his family to North Charleston, New Hampshire, where he served as pastor of two rural Methodist congregations. In 1966, he became pastor of the Pleasant Street Methodist Church in Salem, New Hampshire, and remained a United Methodist clergyman until his retirement in 1990. He went on to serve churches in Filer, Idaho; Emmett and Sweet, Idaho; Philomath and Alsea, Oregon; Harrisburg and Coburg, Oregon; Monroe, Oregon; and finally Halsey and Shedd, Oregon. Following retirement, he returned to McMinnville, where he spent the rest of his life living in the same house his mother had purchased in 1946.
Rev. Anderson volunteered with the Boy Scouts, and was active in ecumenical work, belonging to ministerial associations in every community he served, and working to build bridges across the theological spectrum. Despite spending most of his career as a United Methodist minister, he remained a Baptist at heart, fiercely independent and dedicated to perceiving and following the right course. He was a lifelong learner, voraciously reading in the fields of history, biography, and science. He was a perpetual tinkerer, servicing his own cars, repairing homes and appliances, building furniture and knick knacks in his woodshop. With the help of his sons, he renovated the McMinnville house from attic to basement. An outdoorsman and naturalist, he loved introducing young people to the wonders of the natural world.
Most of all, Elam Anderson was a devoted husband to his wife, Jean, and father to his five sons, Mark, Stephen, Jonathan, James, and David. As the years passed, he took great delight in his many grandchildren, including foster and step-children coming into the lives of his sons.
In later years, he traveled with his wife, Jean, on long trips, helping her piece together her family tree in Great Britain, New England and the maritime provinces of Canada. In December 2006, he fell and broke a hip. In the years since then, his health declined gradually, until he died peacefully on the morning of December 29.
Rev. Anderson is survived by his wife of 54 years, Jean; son Mark and his wife Amy Milshtein; son Stephen; son Jonathan and his wife Marci; son James and his wife Gail; and son David and his wife Angela; grandchildren Melissa, Gabriel, Aaliyah, Sarah, Sean, Seth, Shawn, Emma, Liam, Ewan, Julian, Alex, Sarah, Eric, and Connor; and great grandchild Lydia. Preceding him in death were his parents, Elam Sr. and Colena; his sister, Frances Gulick; and his brother, Victor.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 10, 2014 at 2 pm at First Baptist Church, 125 SE Cowls St., McMinnville, Oregon.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to UNICEF, 125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038; www.unicefusa.org/donations. To leave online condolences, please visit www.macyandson.com.