Len Anderson died on July 28 at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.
Anderson was born in 1955 in Bethesda, Maryland. He grew up in Verona as the eldest in a family of five children (Len, Bruce, Judy, Maryellen, and Gordon). He attended Our Lady of the Lake School and graduated from Verona High School in 1973. While there, he played varsity baseball and basketball, and was selected to the National Honor Society for academic achievement. He then attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1977 from the Wharton School with a degree in political science and economics. He later continued his studies in the graduate business school at Drexel University.
Anderson had a long and varied career, primarily in insurance. He completed the management-training program at Prudential, and held executive positions there. Eventually, he joined Bankers Life, the life- and health-insurance subsidiary of CNO Financial Group. In 1994, he began working at Bankers headquarters in Chicago, in the historic Merchandise Mart. He was responsible for training staff in field offices across the country.
He spent nearly two decades at Bankers, ultimately managing the firm’s office in Cherry Hill, N.J. In that role, he took pride in starting or developing the careers of his employees. Over the years, Anderson hired hundreds of salespeople, whom he trained, encouraged, and mentored. Nothing gave him greater professional pleasure than when a protege succeeded.
Anderson was the proud father of four children and a daughter-in-law: Alexis, Jarryd (wife Katherine), and Colin, from his first marriage (to Gertrude Casselle), and Ethan, whose mother, Rachelle Ricks-Anderson, Len married in 1993. Each of his children has pursued advanced professional or graduate degrees, a fact Len never tired of pointing out. He kept copious lists of their accomplishments, taking care to add each successive diploma.
He was smart and curious, and enjoyed hearing people’s ideas and debating them. As part of a large family of siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces, Anderson frequently found himself “holding court” at gatherings of 40 or more relatives. He loved to start group conversations by asking a series of provocative questions, then using follow-up inquiries to challenge, cajole, and draw individuals into the discussion. It became an expected part of most holiday celebrations: there was turkey, football, and Len’s Socratic dialogues.
He liked to travel and see different places — he had deep affection for New Orleans and its culture — and he lived at times in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and southern California. He finally settled in Bala Cynwyd, on the Main Line of Philadelphia.
Len loved a good road trip, and drove cross country multiple times. He was also an ardent sports fan, cheering mostly for the Eagles, 76ers, and other professional teams of his adopted hometown. He loved going to Penn basketball games at the Palestra. A childhood affliction left him with a lifelong fondness for the New York Mets.
Anderson is survived by his children, his siblings, his partner Rachelle, and his mother-in-law Barbara Ellison, with whom he had a long and close relationship. He was predeceased by his parents, Len and Betty Anderson, his sister-in-law, Pulcheria Ricks-Poole, and his fathers-in-law, Rocellus Ricks and James “Budd” Ellison.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, August 14, at 10 a.m. in St. Matthias Catholic Church in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, celebrated by Msgr. Francis W. Beach.