Craftsman loved to build things

NORTH READING — Joseph “Joe” Frederick Anderson, 64 of North Reading passed away on October 22, 2014 after a two month battle with cancer. Joe was with family at the Sawtelle Hospice House when he died.

Joe was born in Queens, New York on July 15, 1950. He was the second child of Marie E. Anderson (Koubsky) and Olavi F. Anderson. Joe lived in Mine Hill and Succasunna New Jersey while growing up. He was at home in the outdoors; he loved canoeing and was an avid and skilled fisherman. Joe graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in forestry. He fell in love with his square dancing partner Catherine Robbins, and they relocated to Massachusetts. Joe was an attentive science teacher at the Cardinal Cushing High School in South Boston and exercised his craftsmanship and love of wood work at a cabinet shop.

He was most proud of his role as full time father to his son Brian and daughter Sarah. He loved to tell stories of making homemade baby food, organizing squirt gun birthday parties, taking Brian and Sarah and their cousins on summer adventures in Maine, and volunteering at their elementary school. He taught many Reading young people the game of Magic the Gathering, and continued to play in a regular Thursday night group. As they grew, Joe was an inspiration for the Brian and Sarah and their cousins as they learned to portage their own canoes.

Joe loved to figure out how to build things. He brought a sense of craftsmanship and solidity to his work. He built a home in Maine and rebuilt one in Reading and then became a realtor. He was the happiest when he was helping a family find just the right new home. He loved to share his knowledge of construction, wood, or house styles. He was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and might have someday written a book about the bungalow style.

Joe was an active and dedicated member of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Woburn. He used his many gifts and never counted his time when it came to helping the Church with property issues. He lent his warm voice and enthusiasm to the choir. Joe was a loved friend, generous with his help. He brought a peaceful presence, deep caring, humor and playfulness into the lives of his friends and family. He passes on a legacy of love of fishing to the next generation of his family of the heart.

Joe was preceded in death by his father, Olavi F. Anderson and is survived by his wife Catherine Robbins, son Brian, daughter Sarah, and daughter-in-law Lauren. He is also survived by his mother Marie E. Anderson (Koubsky), his brother Mark B. Anderson, and sisters Kathleen Matthews and Eve Anderson.

A visitation was held at the Douglass, Edgerley and Bessom Funeral Home, 25 Sanborn Street in Reading  on Friday, October 24. A memorial service was  on Saturday, October 25 at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 60 Forest Park Road, Woburn.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Mission of Deeds, Reading or to the Roof Memorial Fund at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Woburn. For  on line guest book visit