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Roy Anderson

Engineer, innovator, veteran

Roy Irvin Anderson, a longtime Claremont resident, died Friday, January 11, 2013 in La Mesa, California. His wife of 65 years, Virginia, preceded him by only 6 weeks.

Mr. Anderson was born March 12, 1922 in Kenosha, Wisconsin to Irvin and Minnie Anderson, the oldest of 3 sons. Coming from humble roots, he worked his way through college and in 1944, earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Later that year, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and became an aerial engineer serving in Europe.

On January 3, 1948, Mr. Anderson married Virginia Worthington Anderson, who he had met in college. Their 65-year marriage was a testament to their love and devotion for each other, family shared.

After the war, and with the help of the GI Bill, Mr. Anderson earned a master’s degree in engineering from Northwestern University. Following graduate school, Mr. Anderson was hired by Du Pont Industries, where he was a primary researcher on the team that invented Mylar.

Following the sudden loss of his parents in 1959 to an automobile accident, Mr. Anderson was determined to see the world. In 1962, the Andersons walked away from job and home, and embarked on a yearlong global adventure with their 3 young children. Their travels included 7 months in the Indian Ocean island Republic of the Seychelles. Throughout their marriage, the couple visited more than 50 countries.

Returning from their year abroad in 1963, the Andersons landed in California, where they took up residence. Mr. Anderson became plant manager of Plastron, a small plastics company he would one day co-own. In 1974, Mr. Anderson, along with his business partner Richard Lauer, purchased Plastron from Cutter Laboratories in one of the first leveraged buy-outs. Plastron became the world’s foremost independent supplier of medical tubing, and Mr. Anderson’s engineering skill helped establish several other companies. His work included innovations in outdoor furniture as well as plumbing.

Mr. and Mrs. Anderson lived in Claremont for 40 years until 2010, when they moved into assisted living in San Diego. 

Mr. Anderson is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Donald and Jean Anderson of Illinois; by his sister-in-law, Janice Anderson of Arizona; by his 3 children, Dr. Wayne Anderson and wife Jeanine LaFrance of La Mesa, California, Dr. Reid Anderson and his partner Denise Grimes of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Carolyn Anderson Styler and her husband David Styler of La Cañada, California. He also leaves 4 grandchildren, David Anderson, Kristen Anderson, Lindsay Styler and Lauren (Styler) Vargas and her husband Rolando Vargas.

A celebration of the lives of Roy and Virginia Anderson will be held February 23, 2013 at 3 p.m. at Christ Church, located at 1127 N. San Antonio Ave. in Ontario. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Christ Church.

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