January 25, 2020
On January 15, 2020 Alfred (Fred) T. Anderson, Jr. passed away peacefully at his home in East View Park from complications with Parkinson’s/Lewy Body disease. Fred was a loving husband to his wife of over 50 years, Caroline, devoted father of two sons, and amazing grandfather to four grandchildren. He was a familiar face for many Hyde Park residents where he lived for over 50 years.
Fred is survived by his sister Almeda, wife Caroline, two sons, Eric (Sinane) and Doug (Colette), and four grandchildren, Payton, Quincy, Gisele, and Sonia. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 25 at 3 pm at Bond Chapel at the University of Chicago with reception to follow.
Fred was born in Port Jefferson, New York on August 3, 1937. He grew up on Long Island, New York, partly on a beach where he spent hours skipping stones. Maybe it was with those stones that Fred developed a passion for geology which he pursued in college and graduate school. He graduated from Garden City High School in 1955, Northwestern University in 1959, and Princeton University (PhD) in 1963. Fred worked at the US Geological Survey in Washington D.C. for a short time where he and his wife welcomed the birth of their first son Eric in 1966. In 1968, Fred joined the University of Chicago Geophysical Sciences faculty and in 1969 welcomed the birth of their second son, Doug. For nearly forty years, Fred’s office on the 3rd floor of the Hinds Building was his second home.
In addition to teaching and mentoring many undergraduate and graduate students over the years, Fred also developed and taught a summer course for public school teachers on the types of rocks used in various Chicago buildings and also guided geology field trips throughout Illinois.
Specializing in volcanic rocks, Fred traveled to Iceland, Japan, Hawaii, California, and Alaska to study volcanoes. His family happily tagged along. In fact for many years Fred led a several week field trip for students to Mt. Shasta, California. Every summer the family would load up the camping equipment, drive to northern California, and live out of a tent for several weeks. His sons had a blast.
When he wasn’t staring into a microscope analyzing rock crystals or teaching, Fred enjoyed being with his family. Despite looking like the stereotypical nerdy professor much of the time, Fred could impress his sons with his athletic ability. He threw right, batted left and spent hours playing catch and hitting balls for his sons to shag. He was also an assistant coach and official photographer for the boys’ little league team, the Ray Royals.
Ironically, given his time in New York and Chicago, Fred was a country boy at heart. He loved being outside hiking, climbing and camping. Fred and Caroline had a second home in Indiana for several years where Fred enjoyed gardening. One of the gifts Fred passed on to his boys was a love and appreciation for nature.
His grandchildren will fondly remember his entertaining renditions of familiar lullabies, his Sunday morning waffles, and his impressive appetite for sweets. And he will be remembered by all those who loved him for his kind, gentle, and humble nature.