Memorial services for Dr. Nels Anderson, the late mayor of Soldotna, take place on Monday, Sept. 16, at the following locations:
LDS (Mormon) Church on Marydale Ave. in Soldotna:
Viewing from 2:30-3:45 pm
Service from 4-4:45 pm. Interment to follow at Soldotna Memorial Park.
Soldotna Sports Complex:
A community gathering celebrating the life of Dr. Anderson from 6:30-8 pm.
“He gave so much to his community. Let’s gather as one to celebrate the passing of this great servant,” said Sen. Peter Micciche.
Dr. Anderson was born on Feb. 28, 1946 in Bangor, Northern Ireland. He was the oldest of six children. The family moved to Logan, Utah.
He attended Utah State University, where he met Carla, his wife of 54 years, during their freshman year. They married in Twin Falls, Idaho, on Feb. 15, 1965, and moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to continue their undergraduate studies.
Anderson earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biochemistry from the University of Saskatchewan and earned a medical degree from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1973, completing his residency and specialized in obstetrics and infertility. He was assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base to practice medicine.
Upon discharge from the Air Force, the couple moved to Soldotna, and have called the Peninsula home ever since.
During his 36 years in Soldotna, Dr. Anderson made his mark on his community as a family physician, an in vitro fertilization specialist, public servant, Boy Scout leader, church leader, dog musher, and avid gardener.
As a physician, obstetrics was his favorite part of family medicine, and he was the only in vitro fertilization doctor doing test-tube babies in the state of Alaska. During his career, he delivered more than 5,000 babies, with more than 300 of them test-tube babies.
Bringing those little miracles to those families is the true legacy he leaves behind.
He was the chief of staff at the Central Peninsula General Hospital two separate times, and served as the president of the Alaska chapter of the American Cancer Society. Anderson was awarded as the Alaskan Family Physician of the Year in 1999.
Dr. Anderson took a seat on the Kenai Peninsula School Board and served for 16 years, and was School Board president for many of those years. He was elected to serve on the Soldotna City Council from 2009-2012, and he was instrumental in the creation of the Soldotna Community Memorial Park, Soldotna’s first cemetery.
In 2014, Anderson began his first term as Soldotna City Mayor. He would serve until he left for a mission in West Africa in 2016. Anderson served a second term as Mayor upon his return in 2017, which he held until his death.
Mayor Anderson was an active and devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in many capacities during his life, from teaching Sunday school to serving as a bishop.
Upon his move to Alaska, Dr. Anderson embraced all things Alaska, including taking up the sport of dog mushing after being asked to sponsor a local musher. Like everything else in his life, he didn’t do anything halfway. A mere five months after his first time mushing, he ran and completed his first Iditarod race in 1987. He would go on to run the race two more times in 1991 and 1992.
After his racing days had passed, he continued to support the local mushing community, and was given the honor of being the Race Marshal for the Tustamena 200. Dr. Anderson also owned a commercial setnet fishing site, which his sons worked diligently to pay their way through college.
Dr. Anderson will be remembered for his love for his fellow man, giving service above all and truly exemplifying a statement he was often heard him telling his scouts, “Character is what you do when nobody is watching.” He was the true leader of his family and led by example to his seven children, 19 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife, Carla; five sons, Hubert (Elaine Jones) of Salt Lake City, Utah, Jeremy (Laura Sozio) of Hermiston, Ore., Matt (Valerie Popper) of Kansas City, Mo., Nate (Allison Bingham) of Anchorage, Alaska, and Deryk (Julia Sullivan) of Palmer, Alaska; two daughters, Carissa of Anchorage and Rebecca (Derek Johnson) of Heber City, Utah; his three brothers, Bryan, Kim and Deryk Anderson; and two sisters, Elizabeth Wooton and Melanie Wadsworth.