Leonard Anderson

Leonard (Lenny) Albert Anderson, 78, passed away on Oct. 25, 2021, in Hayward. In his words, in theatrical terms, “I had a great run in this thing called life.”

Born on Oct. 13, 1943, to Cleo (Bus) Anderson and Evelyn Marie Anderson in St. Joseph, Missouri, Lenny accepted all challenges and excelled at most anything thrown his way. He attended Neely Elementary School in St. Joe and Lafayette High School, where he was student body president in his senior year. He was a longtime Boy Scout participant, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, and for several years served on the staff of Boy Scout Camp Geiger, where he earned the rank of Sachem in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say.

He graduated from St. Joseph Junior College, where he was president of his sophomore class and, during that time, was chosen alternate appointee to Annapolis by President Richard Nixon. He attended Missouri University in Columbia, Missouri, and Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville.

Lenny joined the U.S. Army in March 1965, attended officer candidate school at Fort Benning, Georgia, and spent one year in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for his service as infantry platoon leader and, upon returning to the United States, earned the rank of Captain and served as a Brigade S2 (Intelligence) staff officer during the 1968 civil rights uprising in Chicago. Subsequently, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Dakota and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Possibly the time he most enjoyed during his lifetime was the years as managing director of the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park, South Dakota, and then as executive director of The Little Theater on the Square in Sullivan, Illinois. He touched many young aspiring actors, actresses, musicians and technical theater personnel and interacted with many professional artists during those years, urging all to aspire to achieve the best in their chosen fields of endeavor. And he worked hard to bring the greatest theater productions to the many audiences in the communities where he worked.

He spent his early retirement years owning and managing Forest Moon Bed and Breakfast in Hayward with his wife, Carol.

Those that knew Lenny closely new him (in spite of his “always in command” and sometimes gruff attitude) to be a kind, gentle and loving man.

Lenny was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Willian D. (Bill) Anderson.

Survivors include his loving wife, Carol of Hayward; stepdaughter, Michelle (Tony) Pals of Teutopolis, Illinois; sisters, Betty Huston of St. Joseph, Missouri, and Susan (Jim) Heidebrecht of Greenville, South Carolina; brother, Mark (Penny) Anderson of Owasso, Oklahoma; several step-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

The funeral was held in St. Joseph, Missouri, on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Meierhoffer Funeral Home, with visitation at noon and the service at 1 p.m. Burial followed with military honors.

Memorials can be made to the Black Hills Playhouse, P.O. Box 2513, Rapid City, SD 57709.

May his soul rest in peace forever!

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