William Breckenridge Anderson II


Professor Anderson (Bill) passed away January 5, 2011. Born July 28, 1927, to Judge  Lyon Anderson and Gladys Nacy Anderson in St. Louis, Missouri, Bill grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri. His musical talents led him to Illinois Wesleyan University; but he soon followed in the footsteps of his father, his uncle Roscoe Anderson, and his grandfather William B. Anderson, attending the University of Missouri at Columbia where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and graduated with a law degree in 1952. He married Mary Lou McCullough of Webster Groves in 1952 and began his legal career with the Air Force Judge Advocate Corp, achieving the rank of Major. Stationed at Walters Air Base in Mineral Wells, Texas, then Wheelus Field Air Base in Tripoli, Libya, Bill and Mary Lou loved their four years with the Air Force. They returned to Missouri in 1956 where Bill briefly worked in the law department for the city of St. Louis. Later that year his great mentor and future partner Norris Allen persuaded Bill to join the law firm founded by his uncle Roscoe in 1906, Anderson Gilbert Wolfert Allen and Bierman (now Anderson & Gilbert, L.C.). For 12 years Bill and Norris defended Sears, Roebuck and Co., insurance companies, railroad companies, hospitals and doctors, and in 1961 he was honored with the prestigious Lon O. Hocker Memorial Trial Lawyer Award. In 1968 Bill’s greatest legal adversary and good friend, Jim Jeans, brought him to the UMKC School of Law to teach Torts. As Associate Dean, Bill was instrumental in the development of the current UMKC Law School building. For 24 years, law students enjoyed learning Civil Procedure, Torts, Evidence, Law and Medicine, Legal Methods and Appellate Advocacy from a skilled trial lawyer. A Professor Emeritus since 1992, former students still light up and proclaim what a great teacher he was. Blessed with a powerful and curious mind, Bill’s joys outside of teaching were listening to opera, reading British history and smoking a pipe. Above all, he worshiped the company and conversation of his beloved wife Mary Lou. Professor Anderson is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary Lou of Kansas City, Missouri; brother Judge John (Jack) Anderson and wife Carol of St. Louis, Missouri; sister Katy Anderson of Webster Groves, Missouri; son Breck and his wife Malia of Overland Park, Kansas; daughter Nancy Alemifar and her husband Masood of Kansas City, Missouri; grandchildren Layne and Maril Anderson and Keyan and Aidan Alemifar; as well as nieces; friends; and a multitude of former students.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held Friday, February 4, 5:00 p.m. in the E.E. “Tom” Thompson Courtroom at the UMKC School of Law, 500 E. 52nd Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64110. A reception will immediately follow. Condolences can be made at WWW.CremationCenterKC.com. Special thanks to the staff of Kansas City Hospice House who made the last week with Bill a sweet and meaningful experience.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Kansas City Hospice House, 12000 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Missouri, 64145.

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