HOUGHTON - Walter T. Anderson, 89, of Houghton, passed away Monday, Jan. 28, at his Bluffs apartment after a long illness. Anderson, a longtime resident of Woodland Road in Houghton, had lived at the Bluffs Senior Community since Nov. 2011.
Walt was born March 30, 1923, in Beechwood, Iron County, Mich., the son of Andrew Johann Theodore "Ted" and Karen Marie "Mamie" (Henriksen) Anderson.
After attending grade school in Beechwood, and graduating from Iron River High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the Michigan College of Mining and Technology, now Michigan Technological University, in just three years of study. After graduating in 1943, Walt accepted a position with General Electric in New York. He was recruited to work for Tennessee Eastman on a secret government project and was sent to Oak Ridge, Tenn. There, he became part of the Manhattan Project to enrich uranium which would be used to build an atomic bomb and ultimately end World War II. In his later years, he gave many presentations on the Manhattan Project to local school children and organizations.
Walt married Marie Karry on Dec. 31, 1945. In 1950, he completed an MS in Electrical Engineering at Michigan Tech and returned to Oak Ridge to work for Union Carbide. Walt went back to the university in 1954 to join the electrical engineering faculty, rising to the rank of professor and earning the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1957. In 1970, he was named assistant head of the electrical engineering department and served as its acting head in 1972 and in 1979-80. In 1984, Walt was appointed director of the University's School of Technology, a position he held until his retirement in 1988. Walt also served Michigan Tech as a director of the now-defunct Ventures Group and was instrumental in the dispensing of its assets to benefit the university. In Dec. 2007, at the MTU fall commencement, he was honored with the Michigan Tech Board of Control Silver Medal Award, recognizing him for his outstanding personal accomplishments. Following retirement, he continued his professional work with electrical design projects for U.P Engineering.
A professional engineer, Walt was highly active in his profession and his community. He was appointed by then Gov. George Romney to the Michigan Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors. He served as vice president of the National Council of Engineering Examiners, which honored him with a distinguished service award and an award of merit.
He was a member of the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers, which named him Engineer of the Year in 1971 and a fellow in 1994. He was also a life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the American Society for Engineering Education.
In addition, Walt was a member of the Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel, the professional electrical engineering fraternity Tau Beta Pi, the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, the Beechwood Historical Society and the Iron County Historical Society. He also joined the Houghton County Historical Society and served as a volunteer conductor on its Lake Linden steam train.
Walt was active in his church, Peace Lutheran, and a 35-year member of the Kiwanis Club and its past president. He enjoyed a lifelong hobby as an amateur radio operator; his call letters were W8ERB, and he was a life member of the American Radio Relay League. He was a member of the Copper Country Radio Amateur Association, and an active participant in the UP Evening Net, having been named "Ham of the Year."
Walt donated land for an addition to the Beechwood Cemetery in Iron River Township, expanding on the initial acreage donated by his father Ted. He also established a scholarship at Michigan Tech for electrical engineering and technology students.
Walt was preceded in death by his parents; infant sister, Alice Marie; brother, Paul; and stepfathers, Carl Bellin and Frank Munaretto. He is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, Marie; daughters, Karen (Ken) Fraser of Milford, Mass., and Marilyn (Michael) Glover of Ickford, England; sons, Richard (Lois) of Calumet, Dale (Phyllis) of Dollar Bay, Ronald (Barb) of Tapiola, Robert of Chassell and Thomas (Terry) and Keith (Karen) of Houghton; 14 grandchildren; and 21 great-grand children, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The O'Neill-Dennis Funeral Home in Hancock is in charge of arrangements. Visitation will be Sunday from 4-7 p.m. at the funeral home. The funeral will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Peace Lutheran Church in Houghton with visitation one hour prior to the service at the church.
Interment will take place in the spring at the Beechwood Cemetery following a graveside service.
To leave online condolences, please go to oneilldennisfh.com. Memorials in lieu of flowers may be directed to the Walter T. Anderson Scholarship at the Michigan Tech Fund.