Sunday, September 07, 2008

RIP Chester William Anderson

The Arizona Republic has published this obituary:
Chester William Anderson passed away at age 97 on August 19, 2008, following a brief illness. Beloved husband of the late Laurel R. Anderson, he is survived by three children : Kelly (Will) Momsen, Barbara Anderson and Bob (Jannie) Anderson. He was blessed with five grandchildren : Bill (Lara) Momsen, Kirsten (Rob) Carr, Rick Momsen, Laura (David) Meehan and David (Marnie) Momsen. He is further survived by six great-grandchildren. He was born in Burlington, Iowa, to Charles and Hulda Anderson on February 6, 1911 together with siblings Carl Anderson, John Robert Anderson and Mildred Anderson. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1934. After working at Standard Oil of Indiana and Ordnance Steel Foundry, he became Executive Vice-President of Associated Industries of the Quad Cities. After 7 years, his family moved to Milwaukee where he became the President of Management Resources Assoc. of Milwaukee, an organization dedicated to providing information to employers in the area of labor/management. He retired after 26 years and moved to Phoenix in 1980. During his illustrious career, he was Chairman of the Illinois Industrial Council, the Wisconsin Industrial Council and the National Industrial Council's Industrial Relations Group. He was a Founding Board Member of the Council on a Union-Free Environment (Washington DC) and a lifetime member of the Foundation for Economic Education. He was Chairman and Board Member for the Institute for Humane Studies (Arlington, Virginia) and a lifetime Member of the Mont Pelerin Society of Economists, an international society of top economic thinkers. Among his proudest accomplishments was the creation of the Milwaukee Forum, a discussion group of business and professional leaders and educators who met with nationally known speakers on a quarterly basis. In Phoenix, he created the Economics Discussion Group in 1982 which continues to meet to this day. Other than his devotion to family, his greatest love was liberty and promoting the concept through education. With this in mind, memorial gifts to the Institute for Humane Studies (3301 Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA, 22201) are suggested in lieu of flowers. Memorial at Sunland Memorial Park September 7th at 2 PM.
I met Chet Anderson around 2001 when I joined his Economics Discussion Group, after learning of it at a reception for the Institute for Humane Studies. (I attended several IHS seminars and received IHS fellowships during grad school.) Chet was personally acquainted with many prominent figures in classical liberal and libertarian circles, including F.A. "Baldy" Harper (founder of IHS, on whose board Chet sat), Ludwig von Mises (Chet attended some of his lectures), Milton Friedman, Leonard Read (founder of the Foundation for Economic Education), and Ayn Rand (Chet once had lunch with her).

Chet always seemed positive and optimistic every time I spoke with him, and he remembered and asked about details of my life each time I met him, right up to the last meeting I saw him at a few months ago. His mind seemed clear and sharp even then, though I know he had a stroke in the weeks before he died and was unable to speak to a friend who visited him in the hospital.

At and after today's memorial service, many people spoke of Chet's optimism, his love for ideas and liberty, and his willingness to engage in courteous and patient discussion with anyone. He was an advocate for liberty and freedom who has done much to promote those ideas around the world, and I've gained much from my participation in the group he started 26 years ago.

1 comment:

Einzige said...

Chet was such an amiable character. I am better for having known him, even though it was on a fairly superficial level.

Some would say that 97 is a good, long, life--certainly more than most get--and Chet was witness to a lot of amazing things... The Depression, the beginning and end of Prohibition, the rise and fall of NAZI Germany and Soviet Russia, the birth of the space age... but to my mind this just underlines more starkly death's cruelty. To acquire all that wisdom and experience and have no opportunity to put it to any good use strikes me as just a little ironic.

I sincerely hope that the legacy he left in IHS helps to bring about the liberty that he fought all his life for, even though he'll never get to see it for himself.