John Anderson

Obituary of John Charles Anderson

Surrounded by his family, John Charles Anderson passed peacefully in his home near the ocean.  He was raised in Hermosa Beach, and coastal California was an important part of his life.  He loved being alone and contemplating the rhythm of the waves while walking along the shore or running on the sand, and he spent many an hour collecting rocks, body surfing, or playing beach volleyball.   He inspired us to appreciate the beach.


John was a naturalist, a teacher, a mentor, and a scientist. He loved maps and outdoor adventures whether it be camping, observing, hiking, exploring, or traveling. Planning road trips to get to new places was his forte.  He could always find a special hiking trail or a remote campground, and couldn’t wait to head off to the mountains in Northern California, Minnesota, Alaska, or Canada.  Sports were also a big part of his life.  He played, he coached, he cheered on from the stands and would discuss sporting events endlessly.  He enjoyed watching basketball on TV in his final days.


John was a contributing member of the Santa Cruz community since the 1960s.  He taught at Redwood Glen science camp, worked at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, and was intimately involved in the development of the Surfing Museum.  We all remember the late nighters that resulted in the Fungus Fairs, the Spring Wildflower shows, and the special exhibit that brought the beloved whale to the museum in Seabright. 


He was active politically, always working for a humanitarian, environmental, or just cause.  He loved live theater and movies, and Shakespearean sonnets sustained him to the end.  He had a goofy side, especially with his kids and grandkids, which was a joy to everyone.  His artistic flare showed up in his meticulous exhibit work, his abundant vegetable gardens, and his carefully constructed woodpiles.  His friends will remember him as a kind, patient, thoughtful, loyal, and funny man who was always ready to listen and help.


John lived his values, and was loved and gave love until his last breath.  His life is celebrated by his sister Grace; his wife Jenny; his kids Todd, Colin and Sarah Kate; and his grandchildren, Jordan, Colton, and Declan.  There will be no formal service.  Instead, please take a walk outside with someone you love and share stories about John.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Anderson, please visit Tribute Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for John
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel
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