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Wendell Anderson, 87, passed away and went to his eternal home Saturday, February 11, 2023, after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He leaves behind his wife of more than 60 years, Sharon Anderson; daughter Kimberly (Brad) Anderson, Lindenhurst, Ill., and sons, Gregory (Anne Marie) Anderson, South Elgin, Ill., and Bruce (Anita) Anderson, Shorewood, Minn.; 12 grandchildren, Chelsey (David) McNeil, Wheat Ridge, Colo., Sean (Maira) Anderson, of Gurnee, Ill., Kristin (David) Mangin, Columbia, Md.; Erick Anderson, Mount Prospect, Ill., Peter (Emily) Anderson, Lindenhurst, Ill., Scott (Abby) Anderson, Kenosha, Wis., and Luke Anderson, Lindenhurst, Ill.; Emma Rae (Michael) Beusse, Hampshire, Ill., Noah Anderson, Chicago, Ill., and Tess Anderson, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Joshua Anderson, Milwaukee, Wis., and Christina Anderson, Shorewood, Minn. In total, Wendell and Sharon have 10 great grandchildren. He also leaves behind two sisters, Marge (Jerry) Hansen, Wallace, Mich., and Lori (David) Schultz, Byron, Ill., and his younger brother, Ken (Cheri) Anderson, Lindstrom, Minn.
Wendell was born the son of Melvin and Hazel Anderson, but his father passed away when Wendell was just 8 years old so his Uncle Alvin played an important role in his life growing up on a dairy farm. Upon graduation from high school in the 1950s, Wendell worked for a few farm implement dealers near his home where he learned mechanical skills before taking a job with a construction company in Mt. Prospect, Ill., as an operating engineer running road construction equipment.
In the summer of 1955, Wendell and Sharon were introduced by mutual friends and went on their first date at a church camp. "It was magic," said Wendell and Sharon as they reflected on their first date. A few years later, Wendell joined Rockford Blacktop Company, as an operating engineer, job superintendent and member of the local union. Wendell and Sharon married shortly after this and moved into an apartment in Rockford. In the late 60s, following Wendell's love of the country and farming, he and Sharon purchased a small farm, leaving behind their friends, family and a newly built house. A few years later, he left his job to prioritize milking a small herd of Holstein dairy cows and raising corn and alfalfa. They started with just 13 cows and over the next 25 years they expanded from a small, three-cow milking parlor to a new state-of-the-art tie stall barn with a herd of more than 65 registered Holsteins. Life on a family farm presented Wendell and Sharon, and their three children, with many blessings but also stress, which always strengthened their faith and trust in their Lord, Jesus Christ.
In the early 90s, amid falling milk prices and seeing that none of their children were interested in taking over the farm, Wendell and Sharon made the difficult decision to stop the dairy operations and held an auction. Wendell eventually returned to his job operating construction equipment for another decade also continued farming crops on the farm. Years later Wendell officially retired, which allowed he and Sharon to spend more time with their children and growing grandchildren, and for Wendell to continue restoring Allis Chalmers tractor, Model A's and helping other Model A and ACCA members with their cars. You could always find Wendell and his kids and grandchildren participating in parades with one of his restored beauties, and he and Sharon traveled across the U.S. with close friends from the Rockford A's Model A Club, spending several months each winter in Texas with dear friends they established at Pioneer RV Beach Resort on Port Aransas Island.
In addition to farming and his family and hobbies, Wendell also served for more than 10 years on the Byron School District School Board, his last several terms as President. Wendell co-founded the By-Y-Badgers 4-H club and he and Sharon were active in shaping the lives of many young people who were members over the years.
Wendell will be missed for his incredibly strong handshakes, hard work ethic and integrity, hugs that you disappeared into, wealth of knowledge and expertise, humility to ask for help, quiet eagerness to help others, his love and affection for Sharon and his family, and his dry sense of humor. When asked several years ago if there was any physical side effect to adding gluten back to his diet (Wendell was diagnosed with Celiac disease earlier in his life), he paused and said wryly, "Yes, I smile more." When Wendell was first diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, one of his grandchildren said, "Grandpa is the strongest man I know, and now he's showing us a different kind of strength."
Sharon and her children would like to say a huge thank you to Byron Fire Department for their assistance, as well as Wendell's many caregivers (Kim Boyden, Janet Meeker, Juelane Porter and Tina Champlain) and the team at Serenity Hospice for their care and guidance as his Parkinson's Disease progressed.
A visitation will be held at Cornerstone Family Church, 205 N. Peru Street, Byron, Illinois, from 9 to 11a.m. on Saturday, February 18, with a celebration of life service immediately following at 11a.m. A light lunch will be served at the church following the funeral services. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Wendell and Sharon's home church, Cornerstone Family Church, where they worshipped and served for more than 35 years, Serenity Hospice at 1658 S. Illinois Route 2, Oregon, Ill., 61061 or Rockford Rescue Mission at 715 W State St, Rockford, Ill., 61102.
Saturday, February 18, 2023
9:00 - 11:00am (Central time)
Saturday, February 18, 2023
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
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