In Memory

Michael H. Anderson VIEW PROFILE

Anderson, Michael Hugh Age 75, passed away after suffering a heart attack on June 20, 2021. Michael, of Arlington Virginia, formerly of International Falls, Minnesota was born on October 28, 1945, to Paul Albert Anderson and Helen Ansley Anderson (Tibbetts). He received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Hawaii / East-West Center, Honolulu and an MA and a BA in Journalism/Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. As a Peace Corps volunteer, he was an English teacher and a journalism lecturer/trainer in Malaysia. At the University of Minnesota, he was an instructor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Information Services Coordinator for the College of Education. His media experience included reporting stints on daily newspapers in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota and serving as editor-in-chief of "The Minnesota Daily" when it was the world's largest college newspaper. He began working for the US State Department in 1981 and served in many South and Southeast Asian countries (Papua New Guinea, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia), often serving as the Councilor for Public Affairs, managing the Embassy's press, cultural, and educational affairs. He was a remarkable Foreign Service professional and received many awards including the Exceptional Service in the Public Interest Certificate, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the East-West Center. He retired in 2011 and was continually active in volunteer and philanthropic activities in the Washington, DC area; two of his favorite organizations were Friends of Malaysia and the Public Diplomacy Association. Mike shared his engaging personality and love of journalism and public affairs with his friends and family, often with his memorable Christmas letters and special "clipping service." He loved to travel world-wide and was beginning his first post-COVID trip when he passed. He especially enjoyed spending time with family and friends at the family cabin on Rainy Lake in the Ontario / Minnesota Borderland, where he will be particularly missed. He is survived by his brother Paul (Bonnie), his nephew Jesse (Julie), and his niece Lindsey (Pete) Fabian, four grandnieces (Annika, Leah, Claire, and Emma), and many beloved cousins and friends in the United States, Canada, and around the world. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in Mike's honor to the University of the Minnesota's Hubbard School of Journalism Scholarship Fund, the Peace Corps, or Friends of Malaysia. A memorial service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. (visitation l0:00 a.m.) September 16 at Atonement Lutheran Church in New Brighton, Minnesota. A celebration of Michael's life will occur on July 31 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. in the Astoria Condominiums library (2100 Lee Highway) in Arlington, VA and another celebration will occur at the family cabin on Rainy Lake in Ontario on August 29.

Published on June 27, 2021

Mike was an outstanding and very active member of our class. He was feature editor of the Buzzette, World Affairs Club president, co-chair of the 1963 Homecoming, NHS and alternate to Boys State. More information about his long diplomatic career in foreign service is on his profile page on this website. 

Mike attended our 50th class reunion, where he reconnected with several members of our class. He will be missed and we are proud that he was one of us! Please share your own memories of Mike. 

Mike with Mike Wilkinson, Gail Hughes and Sue Short at the 50th reunion

Mike with Gail. In the background -Mark Brandow, Drew Stirrat and Don Sharp

Mike with Louy in New Delhi in 1989.

Mike and Greg Long in NYC

Drew and Sue Morrill Stirrat with Mike in D.C.

Mike with Anne McKinsey in D.C.

Mike with Ginny in Reston, VA. 

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06/24/21 09:32 AM #1    

Louise (Louy) Diracles (Klabau)

I am so sad that the world lost such a kind, smart and generous man...Michael Anderson.

While in New Dehli, India, Michael opened his home to my husband and me.

I always loved chatting with Michael via e mail. He always had something pertinent to say. I will miss him.

Sincere condolences to Michael's  family.

Louy Diracles


06/27/21 08:25 AM #2    

Joanne P. Larson (Galley)

I am sorry to learn of Mike's passing.  I didn't know him well in high school, but he always took time to talk to me at our reunions because of our shared connection to International Falls.  He was very kind.  Condolences to his family and friends.

06/28/21 11:46 AM #3    

Gail F. Hughes

Mike was one of my oldest and dearest friends.  Whenever he was in the Twin Cities to visit his brother, we'd go for lunch or dinner; and I also visited him in D.C. whenever I went there for conferences.  In earlier days, Mike visited me in Botswana, where I was teaching as an Independent Volunteer, and then at the East-West Center in Hawaii.  I also visited him in Singapore when he was stationed there, and we traveled to Malaysia at that time. 
I first met Mike in 9th grade, when we were both on the Beeline.  Then in high school, Mike was the Feature Page Editor of the Buzzette, and I was the Editorial Page Editor.  Both of us attended the U of MN, but we didn't see much of each other during that time because he was busy in his role as Editor of the MInnesota Daily.  He went to Malaysia in the Peace Corps a year before I went to Lesotho as a PCV, because I taught for a year in Portland, Oregon, first. But then he traveled to Africa and visited me in Botswana.  He also visited local friends of mine in Nairobi.  When I went back to Grad School at the U, Mike suggested that I look up Dr. Frank Braun, who was the director of international education activities in the College of Ed.  I did, which led to my becoming the student Administrative Assistant for Frank.  Also, it was Mike who told me about the East-West Center and encouraged me to apply for a Post-Doc there, which was accepted.  So I owe Mike a LOT!
Mike was someone with a sparkling personality who was popular with all types of people, everywhere.  In high school, he knew and was friends with people in the 'In' group like our Homecoming Queen Louise Diracles, who visited him in India when he was stationed there, as well as with the Buzzette crowd and the intellectuals such as Vic Koivumaki, who he visited before Vic died.  And of course, in his role as a Foreign Service Officer, he got along with people all over the world.  He was the #1 "All-Rounder" who I've ever known.
I sent Mike a postcard from Montana in mid-June when I was there on vacation - a postcard he probably never got.  I came back to find a birthday card from him, and also a letter with some newspaper clippings.  Mike skipped a year of visits due to Covid, but he was planning to come to Minneapolis this summer. I'll miss him now and forever!

06/29/21 08:19 AM #4    

Mark Brandow

This is a sad loss- Mike was so engaged in the larger world & development overseas. We shared the Peace Corps Volunteer life early on, both in Malaysia, but it formed a bond that stayed with us. He often shared what was going on in the Friends Of Malaysia group he belonged to, encouraging my participation. His career gave him a unique insight to World Affairs- he was a valued friend for many of us. Rest In Peace.




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