Rex Emil Anderson was born in Gunnison, Utah on August 17, 1924 and passed away on April 6, 2021. During his 96 years, he saw the world change from horse and wagons to space travel. He was one of five children born to Gustaf Sanford Anderson and Selma Christina Rosenlund of Sanpete County.
Right after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Navy and served in WWII for 4 years. He trained at the US Naval Training Camp Bennion in Farragut, Idaho and in California, before shipping out from Treasure Island to be part of the liberation of the Philippine Islands during the invasion of Leyte Gulf. He drove landing barges from the ship to the beach filled with troops. He was wounded but recovered overseas and served with honor until the end of the War in the Philippines.
After returning home, he met his sweetheart, Elayne Thomson and swept her off her feet at many a dance at the Palisade Dance Pavilion. They were married on March 26, 1949 at her parent’s home in Ephraim, Utah. Their marriage was solemnized in the Manti Temple on December 8, 1949. They raised 4 children, enjoyed 11 grandchildren, and lived in the same Sugarhouse home for over 60 years. He loved hunting, fishing, camping, gardening, being outdoors, and any activity with his family. Elayne passed away in February of 2007. Rex continued to live in their home doing his own cooking, cleaning, yard work, gardening and tree trimming until a few years ago. Rex didn’t want to “get down,” so he walked right up to just before he passed, often stopping to visit with neighbors. “One day at a time for an old man!”
Rex was a skilled welder, machinist, and "tinner." For 60 years, he was a proud member of the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 312. He improved working conditions and benefits for union members. He was respected for his craftsmanship and mentoring. He worked on everything from elements for the NASA Space Program to project managing for the building of the big Kennecott stack to installing the first of the break-away basketball backboards in gyms across the West. His family loved going on drives as he pointed out all the buildings that he had worked on in Utah.
Rex was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including diligently serving as an Elder’s Quorum President and High Priest Group Leader. He was a dedicated home teacher, Stake Missionary and temple worker. He loved his time serving as Scoutmaster with his two best friends. Rex was an example to all in his dedication to serve others. He was a gifted handyman for his family and anyone in the neighborhood. Rex and Elayne had wonderful and caring neighbors that became like family and helped care for them in their senior years. Many a night was spent visiting with family, friends and neighbors under the trees in their front yard.
Rex was preceded in death by his wife and daughter, Peggy Anderson Brady, his parents, siblings, Anderson and Thomson in-laws. He is last of that “greatest generation.” He is survived by his children, Mitzi (Courtland) Nelson, Thomas (Pamela) Anderson and Richard (Allison) Anderson, 11 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren with 2 soon to be born, 1 son-in-law Daniel Brady, and his last of many faithful dogs, Pepper.
Thank you to Dr. Brett Porter and Nurse Dawn, who truly listened to Rex and helped guide his family through the last many years. Thank you to Rex’s many loving caregivers at Beehive Homes of South Jordan, Sunrise of Sandy and the Abbington in Heber. We’ll all miss his “Hey Girl” and “Hey Buddy” greetings.
A visitation will be held Sunday, April 18, 2021 from 6-8 pm at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 E 1300 S, Salt Lake City, Utah. A graveside service for family will be held at Wasatch Lawn Cemetery. To help everyone stay safe, Covid safety practices of masks and distancing are still being observed at Larkin Sunset Lawn.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Dementia/Alzheimer’s research.