Sunday, June 8, 2014

Andy Anderson - Troubleshooter

We've spent a lot of time looking at Arrow's rides and the technology behind them. Today, and over the next two weeks, I'd like to shift gears a bit and take a closer look at Arrow's founders and how their relationships framed the history and destiny of the company.

Andy and Carolyn Anderson about 1952


Angus Merlin Anderson was born Oct. 10, 1913, in Chetek, Wisconsin, a region known as "Indianhead Country," situated on a chain of lakes with over 130 miles of shoreline. One of it's more famous sons is Larry Walker, former Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals right fielder.

The son of Theodore Martinus and Mary Anderson, Andy was the fourth of six children. He was named for an older brother who died when he was a child and also had a younger brother named William who died from rheumatic fever as an infant. His two older sisters were Ruth and Marvel and he also had a younger sister named Ruby.

Ruby was a very talented and an accomplished singer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was engaged to Robert Wood, who was connected with a movie studio in Hollywood and was also an accomplished artist. Marvel and Ruby both died from TB in the 1940's.

Andy was also musical. He and Ruby would do concerts together. They both sang and Andy played a steel guitar which he had made.

The family lived in Chetek until 1927, when they moved to 290 North 10th Street in San Jose, California, where Andy attended San Jose Technical High School, which was located where the Engineering Building currently sits on the San Jose State University campus. He was president of the first graduating class, in 1933.

The 1936 San Jose City Directory lists his occupation as a Bakery Helper, but by 1940 he was working as an electrician.

Angus married Phyllis L. Newman, formerly of Chetek, on July 5, 1942. They had three children; a son, Eugene and twin girls; Caroline and Marilyn in 1949. Phyllis should probably get the credit for being Arrow's biographer, as it was her faithful collection of newspaper clippings and photographs which has made possible much of the telling of the rest of the story as related in this blog.

Carolyn, remembers that her dad had many wonderful stories of Disney and Arrow, which he loved telling and she loved listening to.  She also remembers standing in line on opening day and that her dad spent a month there afterwards, making sure everything was operating properly. Carolyn also insists that that Andy, Bill, Ed and Karl were equal partners in everything during the first ten years, including working together as a team to purchase the land and build the first shop at 243 Moffet.

Andy during construction of Arrow's first buildng.

Carolyn says that her dad would often mention that every partner had their own specialty in the business. Andy was known as the problem solver.  Many times, when they came up against a problem, they would go to him for the solution.  He would go home, think about it during the night, and come in with the answer the next day.

Patricia Hardiman with Flower Girls Carolyn and Marilyn Anderson

The Anderson and Hardiman families were also close.  Bill and Evelyn Hardiman also had two daughters; Patricia and Sandy. Carolyn and Marilyn were flower girls at Patricia's wedding and took piano lessons from her. Andy also bought Carolyn's first car, a 1956 VW bug, from Pat and her husband Aiden Gough. Carolyn says she loved that car and wishes she still had it. 

Phyllis and Andy initially lived in Mt. View, but moved to Los Gatos in 1947 and then Santa Cruz in 1959.

He appears in many of the photos that the local newspapers used in their stories about Arrow;

Andy adds a stack to one of the two Casey Jr. engines in March of 1955
Andy and Karl Bacon discuss Casey's testing prior to shipment to Diseneyand

Andy and Bill Hardiman left Arrow in the spring of 1956 to start their own construction company.

In 1970, Phyllis and Andy purchased a farm in Park Rapids Minnesota where they retired 1980. In 2004, they left the farm and moved to Prineville, Ore., to be closer to their children. After Phyllis died in November 2007, Angus moved to Milwaukie, Oregon.

He passed away on July 26, 2009 and was laid to rest in Mission City Memorial Park in Santa Clara, Calif.

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