John A. Andersen died suddenly on July 30, 2021 of natural causes at Greenfields of Geneva. He was born on Feb. 5 1928 in Burlington, Iowa. He was the ninth and youngest child of Andrew and Laura Andersen. John attended Burlington schools and graduated from Burlington High School in 1945. He played basketball and other sports in High School. After attending Burlington Jr. College for one year, he entered the Army in the Military Police serving 16 months in Japan. Returning home, he finished his Sophomore year at Burlington Jr. College. He played basketball at Coe College where John was given the nickname name, “Ace” from his teammates. John graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1951 with a degree in Secondary Education. He later earned a M.A. degree from the University of Iowa in Educational Administration and took graduate education classes at Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, IL.
On August 19, 1951, John married his sweetheart, Barbara McCollom of Burlington, Iowa. She was the love of his life and they were married for nearly 64 years. Their first home was in Marion, Iowa, where John served as a 6th grade teacher. In 1953, he became a teaching Principal of the new Longfellow Elementary School and welcomed their first son, Mark. Scott followed in 1956 and daughter Christine in 1959.
The family moved in July of 1960 when John took a position as the Principal at Gary Elementary School in the West Chicago School District #33. In 1961, John and Barbara built their first home in Geneva, and welcomed their daughter Julie in 1963. They raised their family in this home until 1987. Many special memories and longtime friendships were established with the “Eastside” neighbors. John loved to ride Mark’s bike, “Black Bart,” around the neighborhood, greeting neighbors with a wave and warm smile! John was a very friendly and energetic person throughout his entire life. He had MANY friends and always greeted everyone with a firm handshake! Over the years, he looked in on and cared for many elderly people in the Methodist Church and in the community. He was always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.
Upon his retirement after 23 years at Gary School in 1983, John worked part time for the Geneva Republican and the Chicago Title Company. He also worked for Waubonsee Community College as a site Administrator at Geneva High School. Because of his love for the game of tennis and its influence on young people, he was also the Varsity Tennis Coach for Geneva High School from 1984-1994 during this tenure, the Vikings won the Little Seven Conference five of the ten years. John enjoyed and kept busy serving the city of Geneva in many different capacities. He was the 1st Ward Alderman for the City of Geneva, 1989-1993. He also served as the Chair of the Safety Committee and on the Police & Fire Commission. John was in the Geneva Lions Club for 21 years serving in many different leadership roles. In 1992, John was named the Parade Marshall of the Geneva Swedish Days Parade. He also was a dedicated volunteer for the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Delnor Hospital.
John was a 61-year member and pillar in the United Methodist Church of Geneva joining in 1960. Serving the church on many committees throughout his life with the church. One of his favorite was coordinating the Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast “First shift servers,” for over 50 years! He was especially proud of his Danish heritage. And was ALWAYS vigilant to ensure that his last name of Andersen was spelled with an “e”, the Danish spelling, and not with an “o”! John was an ARDENT Iowa Hawkeye and St. Louis Cardinal baseball fan his entire life! Many hours were spent over the years watching all sports on the TV, in his easy chair, with a bowl of popcorn in his lap!
John is survived by his children Mark (Lorelei) Andersen of Tempe, AZ, Scott Andersen of Tempe, AZ, Christine (Ronald) Donovan of Hendersonville, TN, and Julie Pfeiffer of Chaska, MN; nine grandchildren Hayley Andersen of Phoenix, AZ, Annika Andersen of Carlsbad, CA, Phillip (Maggie) Andersen of Buffalo Grove, IL, Julie Rae Andersen of Phoenix, AZ, Eric (Natalie) Donovan of Gallatin, TN, Patrick Donovan of Arlington, TX, Brinn Pfeiffer (Rion) Smith of Tacoma, WA, Megan Pfeiffer of Wheat Ridge, CO, and Wesley Henderson of Chaska, MN; and his sister Mary Ann Purcell of Norman, OK. John was also a Great Grandpa to four great children Maeve and Mickey Andersen, Chloe Engler, and Ivy Donovan. He also has 25 nieces and nephews living all over the United States.
John was preceded in death by his parents Andrew & Laura, his beloved wife Barbara, brothers Eugene & Paul, sisters Dorothy, Edna, Emma Laura, Irene, and Margaret.
A visitation for John will be held Sunday, August 8, 2021 from 1:00 - 5:00 pm at Malone Funeral Home, 324 E. State Street (Route 38), Geneva.
A Memorial Service will be held Monday, August 9 at 1:00 pm at the United Methodist Church of Geneva, 211 Hamilton Street, Geneva with Pastor Rob Hamilton officiating.
Interment will be private at the Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington, Iowa.
In lieu of flowers, Memorial Donations can be made to the United Methodist Church of Geneva, 211 Hamilton Street, Geneva, Illinois 60134 for the Educational Scholarship Fund, or to the donor’s choice.
For information, 630-232-8233 or www.malonefh.com.
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