Dr. Rex D. Anderson
February 1922 – July 2019
In the very early darkness, Sunday morning, July 14th, our beloved Husband, Father, Grandfather, and Great-Grandfather, Dr. Rex D. Anderson, was called home to spend eternity with the Lord, though many memories will eternally be in our hearts. It was nearly a full moon, Friday evening July 13, the night lights went out and darkness filled New York City. A continent away in Turlock, Rex laid unresponsive, but as light was restored in NYC just after midnight, July 14th, he passed with a contentment and beauty almost as if the lights were a beacon of his spirit being uplifted in the wee hours, with his Turlock family at his side.
Rex Anderson was 97 years young. As all who knew him could attest, he had many, many friends and no one was a stranger. His social nature was a lifelong trait. Dr. Anderson fell and broke a leg on the steps of the Turlock Post Office, and was surrounded by many residents and good-willed public first responders. He was so struck by the number of people who came to his aid. He struggled back after that, but 4 bouts of pneumonia overcame the vivacious senior, who practiced dentistry in Turlock for 49 years and founded Turlock Dental Arts. His 27 years in “pseudo-retirement” were busy and he made the most of each day. He kept a keen mind, clear memory, deep commitment to the history of Turlock and various charitable organizations, as well as a deep love of family and friends.
Dr. Anderson was a son of Turlock, born February 22, 1922 to Swedish immigrant Joel Anderson, and Turlock high school graduate Rena Ross Anderson. He grew up on his parents’ farm, and loved animals, and always remained involved with agriculture. With the exception of time away at college and in the Aleutian Islands during WWII, Rex was a lifelong Turlock resident. He touched many lives of friends, colleagues, and staff of Turlock Dental Arts. The years at the dental office have brought many people together for collective happy memories by the many treasured staff members over the years of practice. Many of Dr. Anderson’s early dental patients came as families, later the children became adults, and brought their children for dental checkups. He found the circle of life gratifying and found joy in both his practice and his retirement.
Dad was a long-time Shriner and became a Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge. He was very proud of the Shriner’s work, particularly at the Children’s hospital where he donated countless hours to the charity, seeing that children in need of any treatment were able to access care and provided travel to the hospital. The First United Methodist Church supplied a well of inspiration and guidance. He also loved supporting the work of the teachers in the Turlock School District as he collected, and then donated, school supplies every year. He recently contributed time, recollections and memorabilia to the Turlock Historical Society. Rex had tremendous energy and vivaciousness for a man in the 9th decade of his life. People have called him “special”, and “lucky”, but he called himself “blessed”, and said he wanted us all to remember that’s how he viewed his life.
In 1971, Rex married Donna Anderson, and they celebrated 47 “blessed and wonderful” years together. Between them, they were parents to 5 Children, 5 Grandchildren, and 3 and “soon to be 4” Great-Grandchildren. Rex is survived by his beloved wife Donna; he was predeceased by Elvira, mother of his 3 eldest children; Son Greg Anderson, and Daughters Renel Anderson and Kristin Anderson. Karen Arnebeck-Anderson, the youngest of the 5 adult children, and Step-son Ron Vasconcellos rounded out the family. Also in Dad’s heart were Son-in-law James Wright (Renel) and Step-Daughter In-law Sandy Vasconcellos. Rex Anderson loved children and had so much joy during the time he spent with Granddaughters Amber and Crista Tribble, Melissa “Missy” Vasconcellos, and Alisa Hanson. He was thrilled with Grandson Ryan Burch and Great Grandson JT Yant, who recently married Megan. He was excited about the births of Great Granddaughters Jasmine and Emily, whom he loved. We had all hoped that his time on earth would allow for welcoming his very soon to be born, yet-to-be-named Great Granddaughter to Amber and her husband Michael Cobb of Kirkland, Washington. Dr. Anderson loved his dog and even to the end, he’d say “Kiss “Forrest” the black lab on the head for me.” They both missed the companionship of sharing a chair, a couch, and a bed in the last few weeks. That love endures.
His was a life well-lived. Our memories are our treasures and we will remember him for the good, the patient, the strength, the calm, and the caring for us and all his extended family, friends old and new, all of whom he treasured. All the adult children were able to be with him in his waning days.
It took energy and breath from a man with pneumonia to compliment every aide, every nurse, technician, and Doctor, including the ‘chefs’ at Emanuel Hospital and the folks that served the meals. Dr. Anderson had a kind word he expressed to each and everyone, and had nothing but gratitude and compliments for all those who attended to his care. He lived each day recognizing his blessings, his faith in God, his pride in family, and we, his survivors, all recognize that we were blessed in being part of his life.
A celebration of life for Rex will be held at 1:00pm on August 9th, 2019 at the First United Methodist Church, 1660 Arbor Way in Turlock.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Rex to Shriners Hospitals for Children, 2425 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95817 or to a charity of your choice.