My friend, Maria Anderson, passed away on January 23rd — and there are many people around the world who are mourning her loss.
Maria Anderson passed away peacefully on January 23, 2009. She was born in Hiroshima, Japan. She grew up in N.Y.C. and attended the public schools there. She graduated Barnard College with a degree in zoology. She then worked at Rockefeller Foundation for Medical Research helping with research on malaria and mosquitoes and also worked as a lab technician in hospitals. Later she attended Rutgers U. resulting in a master’s in botany but specializing in ecology. In 1950 Maria was married to Robert Hunt Anderson (who predeceased her). They raised three children (Tomio, Kimiko and Robert O.) They lost their second son, Kenneth, in a drowning accident. The family moved to Kalamazoo in 1957 where Robert H., accepted a teaching job in chemistry at WMU. Maria earned an R.N. degree from KVCC so she could work in the local nursing homes. After her retirement she did volunteer work educating children to love and care for all living creatures. Her main work was at the Binder Park Zoo and lately she joined Kalamazoo Animal Rescue. She has been fostering needy cats and kittens in her home. She has been an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal church since the 60’s. The memorial will be held on Saturday, January 31st 2 PM at St. Luke’s. In lieu of flowers please send any memorial gifts to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church or to the Kalamazoo Animal Rescue.
Although I am an atheist, I accompanied Maria to several events at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church where she combined her love of God with her love of animals. She helped to coordinate the annual St. Francis Blessing of the Animals event. We served cookies and punch, collected donations for our animal rescue, and we giggled when guinea pigs and hedgehogs were blessed. One year, a member of the church brought bantam chickens to be blessed!
Maria never used the internet, but I think she would get a kick out of being memorialized on a website where readers visit from around the world. I offer my sincerest condolences to her family and close friends. My life is richer because Maria was a part of it, and I know others feel the same way.