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John William Anderson

July 4, 1923 ~ March 10, 2017 (age 93)
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On March 10, 2017 John W. Anderson, after a short respiratory illness, got his wings. John passed at the Arkansas Hospice River Valley Home peacefully and surrounded by his family.

John was born on the 4th of July, 1923 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Each year he joked that the fireworks displays were in celebration of HIS birthday! As a child of the great depression, John learned early on that faith, perseverance, humility, and humor would carry him through life's challenges.

With the onset of WWII, John answered his nations call and joined the newly formed Army Air Corp. As a B-24 bomber pilot, serving with 342nd Air Force Squadron A, he flew 36 combat missions over Europe often trusted to lead large bomber formations into hostile territory. Always cool under pressure, he once skillfully recovered his airplane after 3 of the 4 engines failed. His heroic actions that day saved the lives of 32 crew and passengers. (Edit by JB: many of you know that the standard crew for a B-24 Liberator was 9, but on this occasion, a badly damaged Liberator had been modified to carry troops for an evacuation).

John earned a Chemical Engineering degree from Ouachita Baptist University and was employed by Arkansas Power and Light for over the 35 years. John managed gas fired power plants in central and eastern Arkansas. Known for his leadership, as well as his intellect, John was selected as the first plant manager at Arkansas Nuclear One and Two. Due in part to John's early guidance, the plants still supply clean/safe energy to over 60% of the state.

John married his post-war sweetheart, Julia Bilbrey of Livingston, TN. Inseparable for over 62 years they were blessed with 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. John and Julia were selfless supporters of their family and would drop everything when there was a need. An amazing team, their legacy lives on.

John was a 35 year member of the Russellville Noon ROTARY club, an active member of the First Baptist Church of Russellville, a City Planning Commissioner, and a volunteer for the meals on wheels program. John loved God, his country, his family, his work, his friends, fishing, and the Razorbacks.

A memorial service will be held Monday, March 13, 2017, at 10:00 AM at Humphrey Funeral Chapel. The family will receive friends from 9:00 AM until service time at the funeral home. John will be laid to rest beside Julia at the Fort Smith National Cemetery, with full military honors. The family has asked in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to one of the following charities: The ROTARY Foundation, The USO, or Meals on Wheels.

Honorary pallbearers are Charles Manning, Ray Wewers, Wayne Jones, Jock Davis, Harvey Young, Wayne Bradley and Jim Bob Humphrey.

Always the kidder, John often said as he left the room "I'm glad you got to see me" followed by his infectious laugh. John, we ARE glad to have seen you, and are all better having known you.

Fly high and fast!


MAR 13. 9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Humphrey Chapel

2801 West Main Street

Russellville, AR, US, 72801

Funeral Service

MAR 13. 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Humphrey Chapel

2801 West Main Street

Russellville, AR, US, 72801

Military Honors

MAR 14

Fort Smith National Cemetery

S 6th St & Garland Ave

Fort Smith, AR, US, 72901

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