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Elton M. Anderson

Loner rancher Elton M. Anderson, 75, died April 27 (1995) in Homer.

Anderson and his wife, Edna, built a home and ran a cattle and horse operation on a grazing lease in the hills north of Homer long there were any neighbors nearby.  Eventually they bought part of the property--reported to be the state's first grazing lease--but not before much of the surrounding land had been subdivided into small parcels. Though the nearness of neighbors sometimes put a crimp in his ranching operation, Anderson befriended the newcomers and touched their lives in ways he probably never knew.

Former neighbor Adele Hiles, who moved several years ago to Arizona, kept in touch and spoke to him by phone the week before he died, another neighbor said. Hiles wrote a poem for him, which was printed on the back of the memorial service program. Homer troubadour Hobo Jim Varsos, another former neighbor, memorialized Anderson in song several years ago.

After Anderson's death, he wrote another song that was read at the memorial service. Current neighbor Chat Wise built the casket for Anderson, and another neighbor, Kiki Abrahamson, lined it.

Anderson made a lot of friends in his 35 years in Alaska. According to his family, Anderson spent countless hours helping and advising the young families who settled nearby, sharing his knowledge of farming and homesteading. In addition to helping his neighbors, Anderson helped start the Happy Valley Rodeo and provided stock for several of the events for many years. He raised cattle and horses there until his death, but to supplement the family income he spent many winters working in road and oil-field construction. He accompanied the first Caterpillar train to the North Slope and the Beaufort Sea.

Anderson retired from construction work in 1984.

Source:  Homer News, August 1995  




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