Author William C. Anderson Passes Away

William C. “Andy” Anderson, 83, passed away of natural causes last month in Fairfield, California, with his family in attendance. Since 1988, Anderson had written MotorHome’s "Off Ramp" column, punctuating the last page of each issue with his wit and humor.

The son of Robert and Fannie Anderson, he spent his youth in Boise, Idaho, graduating from Boise High School, then attending Boise Junior College. His formal education was interrupted in 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Anderson enlisted in the U.S. Army as an aviation cadet. Graduating as a pilot, he flew bombers in the 15th Air Force, stationed in Italy.

As a career Air Force officer, he flew the Berlin Airlift, piloted air-evacuation aircraft during the Korean Conflict and commanded a weather reconnaissance squadron during the Eniwetok H-bomb tests. From there, his flying duties took him to Hawaii, where he engaged in hurricane reconnaissance with the Air Weather Service. Anderson held the record for the longest hurricane-hunting mission. He participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and his last military duties were at “Fort Fumble,” as he lovingly called the Pentagon, where he served in the office of the Air Force Secretary in Public Affairs.

Upon retirement from the Air Force, Anderson turned to his first love — writing — and published some 20 books. Most of his works were sold or optioned for motion pictures or television. Bat-21 was a bestselling book about a real pilot who was shot down behind enemy lines during the Vietnam War. Anderson also wrote the screenplay when it was made into a 1988 movie starring Gene Hackman.

In 1948, Anderson married his true love, Dortha Power, also of Boise. Among his survivors, in addition to Dortha, are: a son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Candyce of Rohnert Park, California; a daughter and son-in-law, Holly and Danny Weil of Guadalupe, California; and a daughter, Ann Kiessling, of Boston, Massachusetts; plus two grandsons and four granddaughters.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Andy Anderson Stem Cell Program, care of the Bedford Research Foundation, 53 Concord Road, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730.