Mac Anderson Obituary

Malcolm (Mac) Anderson, 97, passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 26th, 2017 in Eugene, Oregon. Born in Kingsburg, California on July 18, 1919, he grew up on his family’s farm near Center, North Dakota. In 1941, while serving in the army, he met Evelyn (Lyn) Bender. They corresponded during his time in the South Pacific, and after he returned they were married in Pendleton on September 2, 1945. He attended North Dakota State Agricultural College, now NDSU, in Fargo, North Dakota while they started their family. They moved to Oregon in 1954, living in Pilot Rock, Corvallis, Chiloquin, Coquille, Rickreall, and La Grande. He and Lyn were active in the La Grande United Methodist Church for many years.

In 1999 he and Lyn moved to Hillsboro to live with their oldest daughter, Kathleen. A few years after Lyn’s death in 2005 he returned to La Grande for a few years of living at Grande Ronde Retirement Center, followed by a year in a Portland assisted living facility. His last years were spent in Eugene, living with his son and daughter-in-law, Stephen and Laurie Anderson, who cared for him lovingly.

Mac spent most of his working life at a desk, valuing farmland for the Oregon Department of Revenue, but his time away from work was active. He backpacked, biked, cross country skied, hunted with rifle and with bow and arrow, and kept a large garden. In the 1970s he built a muzzle loading rifle, and shot a bear with it. He was known among his hunting buddies as a crack shot and a tireless trekker who could walk for hours and never get lost.

Over the years Mac and Lyn traveled extensively throughout the United States, and . made two trips to Great Britain. They shared a love of history that led them to many historical sites, and one of Mac’s favorite topics was the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He had grown up near Fort Lincoln in North Dakota, where the expedition had wintered on the Missouri River, and he later visited many sites along that route, reading the journals and other books about the company.

Mac was known as a gentle, peaceful man, but he was proud of his service in the 164th Infantry during World War II. In May, 2016 he was privileged to take part in an Honor Flight to Washington, DC, where he visited the WWII Memorial and other sites, and was able to visit with his East Coast grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In the 1990s Mac took up watercolor painting, after years of drawing and sketching at every opportunity, especially on his church bulletins. He was largely self taught, although he had done a Famous Artists correspondence course in the 1950s. Most of his paintings were depictions of the Eastern Oregon landscape he knew so well.

Although most of his generation was gone long before him, Mac had many younger friends. He was greatly admired for his conversational skills and thoughtful speech, and the knowledge he had gained from his constant reading on history, science, health, and politics. He read National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and other publications that promoted environmental concerns. Even when macular degeneration had robbed him of his eyesight he spent many hours listening to books from the Talking Books program.

Beginning around 2006, Mac began to dictate his memoirs, with editing help from Kathy. These were published on the Shutterfly website in a series of four books that followed him from birth through the war years. Book Five, Marriage and Family, which takes him up to the move to Oregon, was started before his death, and will be completed sometime in 2017. Anyone who would like to order a copy of any of his books would need to join Shutterfly ( and then email me for permission to access that book or books.

Mac was extremely proud of his four children, six grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. He encouraged them in sports, music, art, and education. He was known as a lover of learning, an avid reader, and a staunch Democrat. He is survived by his daughter Kathleen of Milwaukie; son Stephen (Laurie) of Eugene, and daughter Emi (Jim) Kelly of La Grande. Grandchildren include Kai Anderson (Rennie), Washington, DC; Richey Anderson, Hillsboro; Casey (Jennie) Kelly, Myrtle Beach, SC; Tina Allahverdian (Shea McGrath), Portland; and Courtney (Jeff) Miles. Great-grandchildren were Irelyn Miles, Tala Anderson, Caleb Anderson, Avey Anderson, Mason Miles, Milo Anderson, Michael Kelly, Kaveh and Keenan McGrath, and Drew Kelly. Toward the end of his life Mac delighted in hearing stories about his great-grandchildren’s doings, and loved his visits with them whenever he had a chance.


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