Florence “Jo” Chaplin Anderson went to her heavenly home on July 31, 2021 in Lincoln, Nebraska at the age of 97. Jo was born on August 18, 1923 in Sumter, South Carolina, to Clarence Saxby and Emma Richardson (Baker) Anderson. Jo grew up in Sumter and graduated from Edmonds (Sumter) High School there. She especially loved swimming, dancing and medical studies. Jo taught swimming for the Red Cross and dancing at Arthur Murray Dance Studios. When it was time to choose what to study in college, she chose nursing.
However, when the Army wanted physical therapists, Jo signed up to help, as well as to “find a good husband!” Sure enough, while assigned to the Post Hospital as a physical therapist working with polio patients, she met the love of her life, Ferd Anderson, at a dance at Ft. Bragg in 1949.
Jo and Ferd married on August 4, 1950 in Sumter. Ferd was sent to Korea two weeks after their wedding, and Jo continued to work as a physical therapist while he was away. They both loved children and hoped for a large family. Following Ferd’s return, they were blessed with seven children, four daughters and three sons. Eventually, eight wonderful grandchildren also joined the family. Ferd and Jo also cared for five foster children whom they always considered as family. They greatly enjoyed family life with a full household, and living around the world with their children through Ferd’s military assignments. They always said their only tragedy in life was losing their second daughter, Leslie, at the age of two.
When the children came, Jo chose to be at home to raise them. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother, cook, baker and seamstress. She sewed many of her own clothes, and made beautiful clothes for her children. She was an excellent hostess, and enjoyed hosting many parties for military and church members and for her family. She continued to love music and dancing, and passed this on to her children. Jo especially enjoyed attending her children’s and grandchildren’s recitals and concerts.
When Ferd retired from the Army in 1976, they settled in Lincoln, Nebraska, to be close to Ferd’s parents. After the children were grown, Jo returned to school and received her LPN degree at Southeast Community College. She then worked at several nursing homes in Lincoln, often caring for people much younger than herself (including her dear husband!).
Later in life, Jo joined the Shim Shams senior dance troupe at Hart Dance Academy. They brought down the house at events all around Nebraska, including the State Fair and Husker football and basketball games. She was their oldest dancer, and even performed with them at her 90th birthday party!
Jo and Ferd were always very active in the Episcopal Church. They taught their children to love the Lord and to serve others. Shortly after arriving in Lincoln, they began attending St. Mark’s on the Campus Episcopal Church, and were active participants in the church for many years. Dear to their hearts were the yearly canoe trips down the Niobrara, and serving in many capacities, including donating funds for an organ and elevator, and helping in the food pantry. They love the people of St. Mark’s.
Jo will be greatly missed by her children, grandchildren, extended family and friends. She is now dancing in heaven with her beloved Ferd, and we look forward to the day we will all be together again!
Jo is survived by her children Gwen Victoria Anderson (Robert Edwin Bast); Ferd Emanuel (Monique) Anderson III, Lori Jean Anderson, Clarence Saxby (Claudia) Anderson III, Samuel Chandler Baker (Rebecca) Anderson, and Helga Torell (Mark) Reynolds; grandchildren Rachel Chaplin (Hans) Anderson-Seller, Isaac Taylor Anderson, Hannah Baker Anderson, Will Chandler Anderson, and Eli Saxby Anderson; Simeon Mark (Amanda) Reynolds and Mary Helga Reynolds; Isabelita Chaya Anderson; great-grandson Phillip Leonidas Seller; foster children David Ward, Patty Walsh, Delores Arnold, Theresa Arnold, and niece Vicky Anderson.
Jo was preceded in death by her parents; husband Ferd Emanuel Anderson, Jr.; sisters Emma Baker Chambliss and Jeannie McLellan McLain; brother Clarence Saxby Anderson, Jr.; and daughter Leslie Joan Anderson.
Special thanks to the wonderful staff of Legacy Estates, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Bryan East Hospital, The Ambassador, and Home Instead, for the loving care they provided Jo.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, August 18, Jo’s birthday, at 10 am at St. Mark’s on the Campus Episcopal Church in Lincoln. A viewing will be held at 9 am at the same location, just prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at Sunrise Cemetery in Wahoo, Nebraska.