Arthur W. Anderson

Arthur W. Anderson

April 17, 1920 — September 28, 2013

Rev. Arthur W. Anderson died Saturday morning at the John Knox Care Village in Lee’s Summit, Missouri where he had resided for the past three months. Art’s is a very ecumenical spirit so it was okay that he was living in a Presbyterian residence when he died.

Art was born in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin, to Alma E. and John V. Anderson. The family moved to Mahtowa, Minnesota when he was ten.

Arthur Anderson was beloved. Few people could listen the way Art could listen. His watchword was “Openness.” He was open. Believe me. He loved to wrestle with doubts and concerns. His theological quest never ended nor did it flag along the way.

His columns in Pietisten were nuggets of reflection on everyday events. His book on prayer, Wild Beasts and Angels, was rooted in the pilgrimage of his everyday life and in the pilgrimages of those he loved and served. People knew they were safe with Art.

In 1950, Art became the fourth President of Minnehaha Academy. He began his presidency as a very eligible bachelor but Bernice Anderson of Duluth soon ended his eligibility for good.

In the Fall of 1959, after a decade of distinguished leadership of Minnehaha Academy, Rev. Anderson became Chaplain at North Park College in Chicago. In 1964, he responded to the pastoral call from Bethlehem Covenant Church in Minneapolis.

Art chose to be a parish Pastor the remainder of his career. That was his calling. Exclusiveness was anathema to him. He sought a church for sinners only. He loved to tell of the church in Ohio he had attended one Sunday evening. When it came time for the offering, the pastor said, as the plate was passed, “Those of you who are able to give, give, and those who need, take.” “I like that,” said Art.

In 1969 Art and Bernice, with Sonja, Kirk, and baby Ingrid, loaded their car and set out for New York City taking Sandy Johnson with them for moral support.

After an adventurous move into the parsonage on Long Island, Art took up his call as pastor of Bethesda Covenant Church in New York. The congregation worshipped in the United Nations Chapel. Pastor Anderson relished contacts with persons from around the world that his presence at the UN allowed and Kirk became an outstanding young baseball player.

Next came the call to First Covenant Church in Youngstown, Ohio. Art preached and pastored in Youngstown until he retired in 1988. After retirement, Art and Bernice engaged in delightful Interim pastorates including Coral Springs, Florida, Indianapolis, Indiana, Bedford, New Hampshire, and First Covenant Church in Omaha, Nebraska.  He especially enjoyed four years as Visitation Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Boardman, Ohio.

While at Bethlehem Covenant in Minneapolis, Art (known to some as Andy), engaged in theological studies at the University of Chicago. Art loved to read and study, he loved conversations with professors, students, colleagues, and friends. It is true to say that he loved conversations with everybody.

Art and Bernice settled in Ohio and became members of Federated United Church of Christ in Chagrin Falls. There followed many years filled with family life, reading and writing, and friends. Art and Bernice and daughter Sonja’s family loved Federated Church.

The recent death of Ingrid’s husband, Mike, led to Bernice and Art moving to Lee’s Summit, Missouri. It became necessary for Art to move to the John Knox Care Village. He soon became beloved there, too. He died peacefully, Saturday morning, September 28. Perhaps somewhere in his mind was the memory of the winning touchdown pass he caught the night the “Bombers” of Barnum High near Duluth won the league championship.

Art is survived by his wife, Bernice, two daughters, linguist Sonja Solar and engineer Ingrid Potts and their families, one son, architect Kirk Anderson and his family, five grandchildren, two great granddaughters, and his brother, Rev. Gilbert L. Anderson. Art was preceded in death by his brother, Rev. Bert Anderson.

At, you can find 25 of Art’s columns. Every one of them is a treat.

Arthur W. Anderson may you rest in peace. You will continue to be beloved.

There will be a Memorial Service, October 8, at 4:00 p.m. at the Federated Church, Chagrin, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to North Park Theological Seminary, 3225 West Foster Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60625.


  1. Emily Taylor on October 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you so much for letting me be part of Art’s life for such a short time. He is truly unforgettable. He brought a quiet and calm to those residents who needed it the most and would often be seen comforting others. He liked to laugh and joke with me making spending time with him so precious. I will certainly miss him. How fortunate you all are to have such a wonderful man in your lives. I pray that you all find peace in knowing that Art is where he finally belongs.

  2. Carol and Dan Morgan on October 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bernice and family. Oh, how we loved them. Pastor Anderson was our dearly beloved pastor during his serving the Lord at First Covenant in Youngstown, Ohio. During their early retirement years we always enjoyed their visits to Florida where we had moved. He was very special and not forgotten.

  3. Linda Johnson on October 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Pastor Anderson married my husband and me at First Covenant Church in Youngstown, Ohio in 1975. He also stepped in to conduct the funeral of my mother (Janet (Port) Booher in August, 2003 also in Youngstown. We remember him as a very kind and gracious man. We send our prayers and sympathy to Bernice and to the rest of his family.

  4. Marilynn & Carroll Smith & family on October 4, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Dear Bernice and Family: Please accept our sincere condolences. Rev. Anderson was truly a “gentle” man and admired by all who knew him. Think of you often and remember what great neighbors you were, always there for us. Our thoughts are with you.

  5. Barb (Olson) Beraduce on October 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    We have lost a GREAT man but not the lessons that he taught us. Let go, let God. My prayers are with you all.

  6. Timothy Heintzelman on October 2, 2013 at 9:56 am

    “Chief” (as I used to call him) was a remarkable pastor. He loved Christ deeply and passionately and shared that love with others. He was a mentor for me and his spirit influences much of how I carry out the task of pastoral ministry. My prayers go out to Bernice and the family. We are thankful for the gift of his life and for many ways his faith challenged and encouraged us all.

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