“Say ‘yes’ to life!”
David Dean Anderson died unexpectedly on 19 May 2008 at the age of 71 in Provo, Utah. Dave suffered a cardiac arrest after biking to and working out at a local gym. Dave had a cheerful disposition even in the face of great difficulties and chronic pain.
One of his greatest legacies was his example of living life to the fullest. After surviving corneal transplants, quadruple bypass surgery, three back surgeries, two hip replacements, a near-fatal E. Coli infection, and prostate cancer, for his 70th birthday he paraglided at the Point of the Mountain. Since age 70, he has summited Mount Timpanogos (11,749 feet), hiked multiple times to the “Y” and the top of Squaw Peak, flown an ultralight over the family farm in St. Johns, Michigan, biked with his two younger brothers through Zions and Bryce, and ridden a toboggan towed behind his son’s pickup truck in Sedalia, Colorado.
Dave was born 6 May 1937 to Dale and Caroline Anderson in St. Johns, Michigan, the oldest of five children. He graduated from St. Johns High School, was in the first graduating class (1959) of the United States Air Force Academy, did post-graduate work at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and retired from the Air Force as a colonel after 22 years of distinguished service. Dave was serving as the commander of the Air Force’s largest intelligence wing when he retired.
Following his retirement, Dave served as a program manager for Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, and was later a real estate broker in Colorado for 25 years, including as a co-founder of The Anderson Team. Dave was president of the Falcon Quarterback Club, and a diehard Air Force fan.
He was a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served faithfully in many callings including as a bishop (four times), high councilor, and Gospel Doctrine instructor. Most recently he was serving as a Sunday School counselor, instructor, and high priests instructor. He and his wife of nearly 49 years, Robin Tracy, served an 18-month proselyting mission for the Church in the Houston, Texas mission from 2005-2006, after which they moved to Provo, Utah.
After their move, Dave had season tickets to both Air Force and BYU football games, and quickly became a diehard BYU fan (but never at the expense of his beloved Air Force).
Dave and his family were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple.
He is survived by his wife, Robin, and their 9 children: daughters Cynthia Madsen (Barnard), Carrie Athay (William), Dana Simonelli (Gabriel), and Lorelle Hauger (Brent); sons Gregory (Gerry), Peter (Stephanie), Dale (Mardie), Bruce, and Gabriel (Brooke); 12 grandsons, and 9 granddaughters; and a great-granddaughter due in August.
The family wishes to thank the Gold’s Gym staff, paramedics, and the doctors, nurses, and staff at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center for their heroic efforts attempting to save Dave’s life.
A reception will be held Wednesday evening, 21 May 2008, between 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Riverside Ward chapel at 3500 N. 180 E. in Provo, Utah. A memorial service will be held Thursday, 22 May 2008 in the Riverside Ward chapel at 3500 N. 180 E. in Provo, Utah, beginning at noon. Interment will be at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
UPDATE: See Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
." I saw The Bucket List
with Dave and Robin and our daughter Caroline. Yesterday she suggested we climb to the summit of Mount Timpanogos in his honor. The rest of the family agreed. We will leave his running shoes, colonel's wings, and other memorabilia as a memorial to him. RIP, Big Dave.
UPDATE II: Colorado memorial service information: A memorial service will be held at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, 22 May 08, at the Havana LDS Chapel at 6061 S. Havana Street, Englewood, Colorado 80111. A graveside ceremony and interment will be at the United States Air Force Academy cemetery at 12:00 noon that same day.
UPDATE III: Dave was given full military honors at a graveside service at the Academy on Saturday under a beautiful bright Colorado sky with a few white billowy clouds (good flying weather): three volleys (by the seven members of the honor guard), a bugler playing Taps, presentation of a flag folded over the burial site, and presentation of three shells. (It was not a 21-gun salute; instead, it was a time-honored tradition: The three volleys comes from an old battlefield custom. The two warring sides would cease hostilities to clear their dead from the battlefield, and the firing of three volleys meant that the dead had been properly cared for and the side was ready to resume the battle.) It was one of the greatest honors of my life to be the officer to present the flag to Robin. RIP.