James Anderson 1939 - 2016
RAPID CITY- James (Jim) Charles Anderson died on March 25, 2016 due to bone cancer.
He was born to Paul R. and Mildred R. (Krueger) Anderson on October 18, 1939 in Beloit, Wisconsin. He resided there for the first eighteen years of his life before attending St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He was a fixture there for the next four years except the summers when he worked for the Minneapolis YMCA at various summer camps in the area. When he graduated in 1961, he stayed with the college as a recruiter for the admissions department. Soon the Army called and said “We want you!” Thinking there had to be a better way to serve his country and having completed two years of Air Force ROTC while in college, he enlisted in the United States Air Force as there were no slots in the officer training programs at that time. Soon after slots opened, and Jim was commissioned as a 2nd Lt in December of 1962 after completing Officer Training School at Lackland AFB, Texas.
His first assignment took him across the base to the Air Force Basic Military Training School as a training officer where he worked with the Reserves. He married Chloye (Clo) Myrene Hilsinger at the Wilford Hall Hospital Chapel on August 14, 1964. They remained at Lackland where Jim continued to serve as a training officer in two different squadrons and as the Squadron Commander of one of them before moving on to Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. While at Lackland Jim honed his golf game and taught Clo to play a game they shared and enjoyed together for many years.
During his first tour at Ellsworth he served in both the missile and bomb wings, first as a missile crew member, then as an operations staff officer and instructor before working in both the command posts as a controller. Jim and Clo continued to golf and he was selected as the Golf Committee Chairman at Arrowhead Country Club. He went on to serve as the first active duty military member of the Board of Directors at Arrowhead. He also co-chaired many of the early Arrowhead Pro-Am golf tournaments.
All four of his children were born during time spent in the area. Erik came first, followed a year and a half later by the twins Kris and Sonja and finally Robyn. It was a full carload when everyone left for Yuma, Arizona in the fall of 1974 before Jim went to Turkey for a one year remote tour as a NATO support officer. While there he found a rock quarry and firing range large enough to hit golf balls so he could enjoy a part of the golf game before moving on to Vandenberg AFB in California and a real golf course. Not all of his time at Vandenberg was spent on the golf course as he found time to complete a Masters of Public Administration degree from Golden State University. After spending five years at Vandenberg as a Missile Operations Officer at the Air Division level, he returned to Ellsworth where he retired Nov. 30, 1982 as a Major.
Knowing there wasn’t much need for missile operations officers outside the military environment, he took night classes at Ellsworth from Black Hills State University and the University of South Dakota with emphasis in taxes and accounting. Not wishing that as full-time employment, he went to work for the South Dakota Department of Social Service as an economic assistance caseworker for ten years. During those years he was an advocate for employees as one of the local representatives to the South Dakota employee’s annual convention for nine years, president of the local chapter for three years and treasurer for four years and was an elected member of the Governor’s Personnel Management Advisory Board.
After leaving state employment in January of 1996, he spent his time enjoying the local sports scene, especially golf and Post 22 American Legion baseball, along with card games with friends during inclement weather. He did put his tax education to use working as a volunteer Tax-Aide Counselor for AARP for seven years
Jim is survived by his wife Clo of 52 years, son Erik (Angie), son Kris and grandson Riley, daughter Sonja (Paula), daughter Robyn (Stephen Chabala), Jim’s sisters: Jane Kirchhoff and Jean Tappan, brother-in-law Cloyce Hilsinger plus several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating children’s books to your local school’s library because according to Jim, “any book a kid reads is a good book.”
Memorial visitation will be from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home with a time of reflection at 7:30 p.m.
Inurnment will be on Monday, May 23, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. with full military honors rendered by the Ellsworth Air Force Base Honor Guard.