by Karl Kurtz
Fred Anderson, 83, a member of the Colorado Senate from 1966 to 1982 and president of the National Conference of State Legislatures in 1977-78, passed away just before Christmas. He served as president of the Colorado Senate for eight years.
He was well known in Loveland and in Colorado for his activism, for his even-handed representation in the Senate and for his impact on state water law.
"He was really passionate about the work he did," said his wife, Anne. "He cared very much about his family and Colorado. It's a wonderful legacy in growth."
Fred, often "Freddy," was the fourth president of NCSL. The first three presidents had been leaders of each of the three organizations that were merged to form NCSL and were slotted into office as part of the merger agreement. Fred was the first to be elected on his own.
He first became active in NCSL immediately after the merger in 1974 when the organization was making a decision as to where to locate its headquarters. Fred was a strong and effective advocate on behalf of Denver, leading the group of legislators and staff that made the pitch to the NCSL executive committee for the city that became NCSL's home. He also led the host committee for NCSL's fourth annual meeting in Denver in 1978 during his presidency.
Fred was a friendly and talkative fellow, often sporting a western bolo tie and cowboy boots. Morgan Smith, a member of the Colorado House of Representatives while Fred was in the Senate, tells an amusing story in a remembrance:
I was so terrified I couldn’t speak. My throat was literally frozen shut. Freddy Anderson, however, was just chatting away as if nothing were wrong.
We were deep underground in the Idarado Mine, somewhere between Ouray where we had started and Telluride where we would end up. This was the summer of 1976, we were members of the Interim Committee on Mineral Taxation and our job was to learn about the mining industry and draft a severance tax bill....
A mine tour...was always part of these meetings and that is what Freddy and I were doing deep underground. We had been shown one level of the mine and were to descend to a lower level. The only way to do this was to stuff ourselves in this tube called a “stope” as I remember it and pressed tight together, descend in the pitch darkness. I was embarrassed at how paralyzed with fear I was and astonished at Freddy’s bravery.
Several weeks later we had our next Denver meeting. Just as we were about to get started, Freddy interrupted and said that he wanted to make a statement. “That Morgan Smith” he said, pointing to me. “He’s the bravest man I know. We were going down in this stope thing and I was so scared I couldn’t stop talking. But he just stood there perfectly calm and quiet.”
I have many fond memories of Fred Anderson and his leadership of NCSL. Condolences and best wishes to his wife, Anne (another great friend of NCSL), and his family.
Photo credit: denverpost.com