Anderson was born on Jan. 19, 1924 to Henry Lee and Isabelle Anderson. He left this life for a better one at 2:56 p.m., Saturday, May 12, 2012 surrounded by the family he loved and who love him still.
At his request, a private, family visitation was held. A graveside service was held Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 11 a.m. at IOOF Cemetery in Metropolis. His dear friend, Bro. Kevin Richerson, officiated. Pallbearers were Chance Clanahan, Chase Clanahan, Larry Clanahan, Billy Comer, Kevin Comer and Keith Kossow.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Antioch Baptist Church, 305 Rosebud Road, Golconda, IL 62938; or IOOF Cemetery, c/o Wilma Flemister, 719A E. Fifth St., Metropolis, IL 62960.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Mary Beth; his parents; one sister, Mary Alice Haer; and four brothers, John D., Dale, Harry and Robert Anderson.
Survivors include three daughters, Karen Lee Comer and husband Billy and Donna Sue Kossow and husband Keith, all of Metropolis, and Beth Ann Clanahan and husband Larry of Brownfield; five grandchildren, Chase Clanahan of Washington, D.C. and Chance Clanahan and wife Kacey, Kevin Comer, Kim Comer Jackson and Brian Comer and wife Pam, all of Metropolis; two great-grandchildren, Ben Comer and wife Tiffany of Clarksville, Tenn. and Bradley Comer of Metropolis; one great-great-grandchild, Liam Comer of Clarksville; several nieces and nephews; and his faithful companion, his dog Fuji.
He also leaves behind his church family at Antioch Baptist Church that he loved so dearly as well as very special caregivers Christina Faulkner, Pam Fletcher, Yevette Brown, Geneva Eppinger and Janica Konemann.
Don was extremely proud to have served his country in the Army Air Corps, serving with the 15th Air Force stationed in Cherinola, Italy. He served as a flight engineer on a B-24 crew, flying 52 missions, 35 sorties, including seven trips over Vienna, Austria. For the past several years, Don enjoyed traveling to Dayton, Ohio each May to reunite with the surviving crewmembers of “Capes Crew.”
He was a charter member of the Friends of the IOOF Cemetery and had served as president since its organization eight years ago.
Brother Don, as he was affectionately called, would often recount the day he was saved on Jan. 18, 1942 in the basement of the old First Baptist Church at Sixth and Girard streets in Metropolis.
He would tell you that those in attendance were Dr. Ira C. Cole, who was conducting a revival at the time, Clarence Holt and Curry Simpson.
He would also tell you that on that (Saturday) night, kneeling beside an old wooden chair, his life was forever changed.
A short time later, he felt the call to preach and began a journey into the gospel ministry, with his wife, Mary, by his side. It was a ministry that would span over 64 years.
He preached his first sermon on May 17, 1947 at Waldo Baptist Church. They would eventually serve six churches: Waldo Baptist Church; Macedonia Baptist Church; Joppa Baptist Church, organizing the church with Rev. C.W. McHaney in 1955; New Hope Baptist Church; Brownfield Baptist Church; and Antioch Baptist Church, where he was serving as pastor when he suffered a stroke on July 1, 2011.
At each church he and Mary Beth served, they were blessed. Blessed as a couple who started on this journey in this ministry together, not knowing what it would bring, but trusting God that they were in His will and believing they were following the plan He had for their lives.
Until her passing, in 2003, they served together…raising their three girls to know and love the Lord.
When Mary passed away, his life changed. While his children and grandchildren continued to surround him, he was without his wife by his side. But even in his sorrow, he rejoiced in knowing that she was already experiencing what they had talked about so many times through their years together, she was in the presence of Almighty God.
While Don’s steps slowed, he continued preaching until the early morning hours of July 1, 2011 when he suffered a stroke. At the time of his stroke, he was the oldest active pastor in the state of Illinois.
Don loved and promoted gospel music in Metropolis and the surrounding areas for many years.
He was the last surviving member of the original Metropolis Labor Day Celebration committee and was the founder of the annual Labor Day Lions Club gospel singing. He was an avid Cubs fan and always believed there was “next year.”
He and his wife, Mary, traveled for nine years with their daughters, The Anderson Sisters/Sweet Dedication as they performed across the region.
He was always a bi-vocational pastor and was employed by Bonifield Brothers Truckline as dock foreman for 18 years.
He served as assistant street commissioner and HUD director for the City of Metropolis and was instrumental in bringing the Laidlaw Corp. to Metropolis and securing the land that is now the Metropolis Sports Park.
His true love and his life calling was the church and he was blessed with a pastor’s heart.
He often said you can tell the strength of a loving church family by how long they linger following worship services to visit.
He loved visiting with his church family, and he looked forward to church potluck. He enjoyed the food, but the fellowship with the church family was what he truly loved.
Don fervently believed that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And so on Saturday at 2:56 p.m., he realized that promise.
As he told his Antioch congregation so many times, “at that moment that my eyes close and you hear I have left this world, don’t let anybody tell you I died. I did not die… my body, yes, but my soul will be forever alive.”
And so he is alive today, living in the presence of Jesus and reunited with his precious wife and family who were waiting to greet him. What a meeting that must have been!
If he could speak to those of us left behind today, those of us who knew him best, believe he would quoted the words that he used so many times in services he conducted, “Do not weep for me for I have traveled a road we all must travel…I have crossed a river we all must cross…and I rest in the arms of an almighty- omnipresent God. And so I say…until then, dear friend, until then.”
Miller Funeral Home in Metropolis was in charge of arrangements.