Obituary for Helen Anderson
Anderson, Helen J. (nee Woolston) age 93 passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 2, 2017. Beloved wife of the late Richard Vernon Anderson; loving mother of Richard L. (Manchun) Anderson and Christine J. Anderson; dear aunt, and friend to many.
As the 1920’s “roared”, a baby girl was brought into the world by an engineer for General Electric, Louis Woolston, and his wife, Josephine, in Richmond Heights, Missouri, in the last house on the street at the edge of the city at that time. Helen Josephine Woolston was born on March 5, 1924 and grew up in a home that stressed music and the arts and duty to the local Presbyterian Church. She loved dancing and studied piano and the flute, while her older brother, Fred, played in dance bands. A few blocks away lived a skinny boy, named Richard Anderson, who was the same age as Helen, so they often ended up in the same classes throughout public school as friends.
While Helen was a senior in high school, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, leading to the entry of the U.S. into World War II. After she graduated Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School in 1942, many of her classmates went off to fight the Axis, including her then boyfriend, who was later killed in a B-17 bomber over Europe. But Helen headed for Rochester, New York and the Eastman School of Music. There she studied music, dance, and education and joined the music sorority, Mu Phi Epsilon. After graduating in 1946, she was accepted at a prestigious private school in Cleveland and planned to start her career as a music teacher there.
However about a year later she visited St. Louis for the wedding of a childhood friend and was reintroduced to Dick Anderson, freshly back from our army in Germany and ready to take over his family’s trucking business in Richmond Heights. What was friendship before now turned into fire, so Helen and Dick were married on June 14, 1947. With their first child on the way, the young couple decided to buy a new house in 1951--again on the edge of the “city”--way out west in Kirkwood. Their son, Richard Louis was born and seven years later, daughter Christine Joy joined the family.
Helen became a full time wife and mother, raising her children with a love of music and the arts and respect for other people and animals. She also volunteered in many organizations, including the First Presbyterian Church in Kirkwood, where she taught Sunday School for many years. She pursued her lifelong devotion to music by playing flute in the Kirkwood Symphony and giving private music lessons in her home during the after school hours and Saturdays.
When the nest emptied in the early 1980’s, Helen continued her volunteer work and organized the MRH High School reunions. She also started traveling more around the U.S. and Canada with Dick, including a trip to Alaska. She studied extensively and became a Stephen Minister at her church and then decided to learn ancient Greek, to better understand the Bible by reading it in its original language.
In July, 2002, Dick died, leaving Helen to a future of living solo. Helen moved to Bethesda Gardens, a seniors residence in Kirkwood, and started traveling on a much wider scale—Europe, Israel, Greece, Kenya, and the Galapagos Islands--the last trip requiring packing a wet suit for snorkeling, when she was 80 years old. Helen loved animals and nature. She continued to take dance and exercise classes for seniors as her health began to fade over the years. On April 2, 2017, at the age of 93, this woman, who so loved traveling and God, departed her family and friends on her last trip to the great beyond.
Visitation 4-8pm on Friday, April 7, at Bopp Chapel, 10610 Manchester Rd., in Kirkwood, MO. Memorial Service 1pm Saturday, April 8, at First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, 100 E. Adams, in Kirkwood, MO. If desired, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood.