Nathan Arvid Anderson

Nathan Arvid Anderson

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”-Mark Twain

Nathan Anderson, beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend died on February 16, 2019. Nathan was as a lifelong “medical minimalist,” and his advanced cancer was only diagnosed six weeks before his passing.

Nathan was born in Oakland, California, on February 22, 1938, to Nancy (Kjos) and Hogan Anderson. His parents were first-generation Norwegians of humble means and strong principles.

The family moved from California to Washington and eventually settled in Salt Lake City with their four children: Nathan (the eldest); Audrey; Mark; and Mary.

From an early age Nathan demonstrated high intelligence and lively curiosity. He skipped several grades and graduated from high school at age 16. Bookish and shy, he said it was hard to get dates without a driver’s license.

In his late teens and early twenties he found work as a river guide for the U.S. Geographic Survey in Southern Utah, and his work included an early descent of Glen Canyon.

Soon after he married, he served in the U.S. Army in Korea from 1961-1963. He and his wife Glynda later divorced.

He graduated from the University of Utah in 1971 with a degree in journalism.

Nathan married Cynthia Gay Swaner in 1968. The couple had two children together, Tor and Kristin, before divorcing in 1975.

So began his “Norwegian bachelor farmer” years, which he dedicated to staying up late with a good book and starting each day with a fully read paper, completed puzzles and lots of coffee.

He was a proud teamster and worked for IML trucking for many years. He found this work satisfying as it was “work that needed doing.” As a self-avowed procrastinator he also believed that anything worth doing should be done well.

After his trucking years he joined the Davis County Library in 1985. He touched the lives of so many people as their Bookmobile librarian, recommending titles and keeping the aged Bookmobile running in all seasons. Both the Bookmobile and Nathan officially retired in 2002, but Nathan kept working as a part-time cataloger until 2016. Work that needed doing.

He spent countless hours with his children, nieces and nephews, playing catch, basketball, gin rummy and teaching the finer points of pool. He loved jazz–both the Utah Jazz and the music of the early jazz pioneers. He was often serious and always extraordinarily kind. And when he laughed it was with such hearty exuberance that it brought tears to his eyes.

He delighted in the adventures and far-flung travels of his children and requested a small stone from every country they visited as a keepsake. Nathan carried two such stones in his pocket for more than 20 years, till they were worn smooth. It was his way of always being in touch.

He will be lovingly remembered by his two children, Tor Anderson (Sharon Grundy) of Telluride, Colorado, and Kristin Anderson (Matthew Blau) residing in Cuenca, Ecuador, as well as by his adored grandchildren Wilder and Lila; siblings Mark, Mary and Audrey; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life is planned for August 3, 2019. Donations in his honor can be made to Community Nursing Services (CNS) Hospice, a local not-for-profit organization that provided exceptional care to Nathan in his final days.

  • Mary Taufer
    Posted at 10:27h, 25 February Reply

    Well said. I hope wherever he ends up the speech and grammar are proper, well communicated and succinct. Best to you, Nathan. I loved that I knew you

  • Michele Swaner and Tom Vitelli
    Posted at 13:41h, 25 February Reply

    Nathan was a true gentleman and exceptionally kind. He was a wealth of knowledge and was always interested in the opinions of others. We will remember his intellect, sense of humor and his bright blue eyes! We will miss him.

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