Dr. David B. Anderson, 74, of Kearney died of aggressive cancer Sunday, May 19 at Good Samaritan Hospital. A celebratory wake will be held Friday, May 24 from 4:30 to 7:30pm at Kearney Community Theatre, with written or spoken remembrances being shared starting at 6pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Museum of Nebraska Art or Kearney Community Theatre. Condolences or personal reflections may be submitted at www.osrfh.com. O'Brien Straatmann Redinger Funeral Home and Cremations is in charge of arrangements.
David was born on January 27, 1939 in Marshalltown, Iowa to Iva Ayres Anderson and Lester Anderson. He grew up in Marshalltown, attended Marshalltown High School, and after graduating from University of Northern Colorado in 1960 returned to Iowa to teach public school until 1965. On July 13, 1962 he was united in marriage with his wife and partner of over 50 years: Merilyn Leigh Moffit. David revisited UNC for his MA and made acquaintance with fellow students from Kearney State College who would become his lifelong friends and coworkers. When he graduated in 1966 and took a position as an English Instructor at KSC, a career began with KSC/University of Nebraska at Kearney that spanned almost 40 years.
David received his Ed.D in 1977 from UNC, and was promoted to full professorship in the English Department at UNK in 1979. While his titles over the years included Professor, Department Chair for the English Department, and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, he maintained that his favorite aspect of KSC/UNK was the students. A constant leader, David authored several significant grants for UNK, created and ran the computer writing lab, served as University Ombudsman, and was chief negotiator for the UNKEA. His varied work included things like maintaining the school's accreditation status, managing visas for visiting international faculty members, and teaching correct comma use. He served on numerous committees, and never missed an opportunity to gain knowledge or share it.
In the community David was instrumental in starting and supporting Kearney Community Theatre from the late 60s, working behind the scenes on finance, facilities, sets, directing, and occasionally performing as well. He was part of a small team of volunteers who, in 1986, converted the former Post Office building into a home for the Nebraska Art Collection which is now Museum of Nebraska Art. He served as a MONA board member from 1999 2009 as Treasurer, Investment Committee Chair, and Facilities Chair. He was a volunteer political organizer for Bob Kerrey helping to establish his candidacy for the gubernatorial and senate races, served on the Nebraska Arts Council board, and was quite proud to have been a beer judge at the Nebraska State Fair.
David enjoyed challenging projects, such as designing and building the family's home and a couple of boats, and raising two daughters. He enjoyed golf, the lake, jazz music, football, and never turned down the opportunity to have a beer with a friend-or have hundreds of friends over for a beer in support of a cause he championed. He was always quick-witted and creative, was generous with his resources, advice and mentorship, and was a good and loyal friend, husband and father. He will be sorely missed by his wife Merilyn, daughters Wendy and Amy, sons-in-law Marc and Marcus, and granddaughter Lucy.