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Donald Keith Andersen
October 31, 1926 ~ October 8, 2023 (age 96) 96 Years Old
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Donald Keith Andersen was born October 31st, 1926 to Roy Emil Andersen and his wife, Anna Marie Winkelman in Venus, Knox County, Nebraska which is no longer on the map. He and his family later lived in Winnetoon, Nebraska before moving to Chewelah, Washington during the depression. When Don was age five or six years he bought a horse with 1300 pennies he had saved, calling him “Penny”. Penny died within the year. When Don was in high school he bought a Model-T that had no fenders and a racing body. His next car was 1931 Chevy. After school he worked in a pea factory and later a chemistry lab. His father got him a job at the Magnesite Plant in Chewelah where he made 76 cents an hour. Don joined the United State Navy, right out of high school at age 17 years in 1944. His basic training was in Memphis, Tennessee then he went to mechanics school in Norman, Oklahoma. He then went to gunnery school in Pensacola, Florida and on to advanced gunnery school in Lake City, Florida. By that time there was no need for gunners so he was shipped to Alameda, California for deployment to the South Pacific. He and a buddy decided they did not have any desire to go to that area of the world so they finagled an assignment to Santa Rosa, California where his friend became a meteorologist (with no experience) and Don was first a “plane captain” which was really a plane mechanic, maintaining the base’s Howard plane and flying around California with the base commander in it. Don later was the airport tower operator at Santa Rosa (also with no previous experience). He was mustered out in 1946 in Shoemaker, California as a Seaman 1st Class. He was very proud to have “Honorably Discharged Veteran” license plates on his van!
After the war he used the GI Bill and graduated from the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1948 with a license in Aircraft and Engine Mechanics. During a visit to Hooper, Nebraska to visit his mother, he got his pilot’s license, also on the GI Bill, at Scribner Air Base, an abandoned airfield outside of Scribner, Nebraska. He then hired on as an aircraft mechanic for United Airlines based in San Francisco. He received his flight engineer’s certificate from Trans Ocean Airlines in Oakland, California. He became a flight engineer for United, first based in Chicago. He was then a co-pilot on the DC 6, DC 7 and DC 8 and then a captain on the B-727 out of Denver. After he turned age 60 years in 1986 and could no longer fly as a pilot he was a flight engineer on the Long-Range DC 10 non-stop from Denver to Honolulu for three years, finally retiring in 1989. He worked for United Airlines for 41 years.
He was chairman of the Bankruptcy Committee at The Pinery in Douglas County, Colorado where he and his family lived for almost 30 years. They were the 13th family to move into the development. He was the leading spirit in getting the storage area across the road from The Pinery developed.
Don and his wife, Ann (Freehafer) Andersen have been married 60 years. He has three daughters, Lucinda, Donna (Andersen) Parker and Kathleen. Don and Ann had two sons, Ward and Eric. Eric is deceased. Ward and his wife, Ellen Lindseth, live in Plymouth, Minnesota. Don has three grandchildren, Danica, Trevor and Liam Andersen and Cheyenne Parker plus a great-granddaughter, Audrey Ann Meyers.