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 Eleanor <I>Firke</I> Anderson

Eleanor Firke Anderson

Champaign, Champaign County, Illinois, USA
Death 12 Nov 2014 (aged 96)
Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
Memorial ID 138886002 · View Source
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Eleanor Anderson, 96, of Woodbury, widow of the composer Leroy Anderson, died November 12, of natural causes, at her home. She was born Eleanor Jane Firke, May 21, 1918, in Champaign, Ill., the daughter of Beulah Hubbard Firke and Attorney Charles Wesley Firke. She grew up and went to school in Monticello, Ill.

She attended Connecticut College in New London, and after her father’s death, she transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and graduated in 1939 with honors in English.

She moved to New York City to attend the Tobe-Coburn School for Fashion Business. She met her future husband, Leroy Anderson, a musician, arranger, and composer, at International House in New York City. Mr. Anderson composed numerous light concert pieces, including “The Typewriter,” “The Syncopated Clock,” and his most popular piece, “Sleigh Ride.”

The Andersons lived in Arlington, Va., while Mr Anderson, a captain, served in the US Army. After World War II, they moved to Cambridge and then Brooklyn.

In 1946, they spent the summer in Woodbury, in a cottage on Painter Hill Road. It was here that Mr. Anderson composed “Sleigh Ride.” In 1949, they moved permanently to a converted barn on the same property.

In late 1953, the family moved to a newly built house on Grassy Hill Road in Woodbury where Mrs. Anderson lived for the rest of her life.

In contrast to her musically accomplished husband, Mrs. Anderson could not carry a tune or play an instrument. “I didn't have enough of a musical background to talk with Leroy about what he was doing,” she once said, but she was always his most tireless promoter and supporter.

Mrs. Anderson was a longtime member of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. She was active in the Alliance Francais, Woodbury Garden Club, and Flanders Nature Center’s wildflower trail committee. For more than 60 years, she was a member of St Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Sons Rolf Anderson of Montgomery, Vt., and Kurt Anderson of Roxbury; daughter and son-in-law Jane and Peter Vercelli of Thompson, Conn.; grandsons Anders Vercelli and Lars Vercelli, both of New York City, and Ivan Anderson of Junction City, Calif.; and several nieces, nephews, and great-nieces survive Mrs. Anderson. Her husband, and her son, Eric, predeceased her.

Her funeral will be at St Paul’s Episcopal Church, 294 Main Street, Woodbury, Saturday, November 22, at 1 pm, followed by burial in the family plot at New North Cemetery, 101 Washington Avenue, Woodbury.

Memorial donations may be made to the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, 110 Bank Street, Waterbury CT 06702 or St Paul’s Church, 294 Main Street, Woodbury CT 06798.

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  • Created by: Michael Ryley Bradbury
  • Added: 17 Nov 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 138886002
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Eleanor Firke Anderson (21 May 1918–12 Nov 2014), Find A Grave Memorial no. 138886002, citing New North Cemetery, Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by Michael Ryley Bradbury (contributor 46850737) .