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William Anderson

William Joseph Anderson (Dr. Joe), eye doctor to many, mentor to countless, civil servant to his community and friend to all, passed away Sunday, March 1, 2020. He was 88. He was born Jan. 21, 1932 to Jesse and Gena Mae Anderson. He was raised in Athens, Georgia and married Patty Crawford Anderson of McKenzie. They were married for 67 years. His memory will be cherished and kept alive by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His three children, Gwin Anderson and Gena Anderson Stallings, both of Dresden and Gail Anderson Edmondson of Pulaski survive him. He was blessed to have five grandchildren, two of which shared his birth date. Those grandchildren include Martha Anderson of Union City, Anderson Stallings Brock of Champmansboro, Kathryne Edmondson Jensen of Memphis, Mac Edmondson of Birmingham, Alabama and Deah Stallings of Dresden. He was blessed with eight great-grandchildren. Joe was the youngest of four brothers and is survived by his oldest brother, Robert Edwin Anderson, who turned 100 years old this past summer. Their father was a traveling hardware salesman and this was the beginning of Joe’s interest in tools. Joe graduated from high school at the age of 16 and immediately enrolled in the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis. When Joe graduated from Optometry School in 1952, he was not old enough to sit for the Optometry Licensing Board and subsequently took a job as an elevator attendant at the Sears Crosstown Store in Memphis. Memphis is also where Joe met Patty while she attended pharmacy school. They arrived in Dresden in 1953 and he practiced for 59 years until he retired in 2012. Joe is remembered for many things including his jokes and his playfulness. If you go to the Anderson Eye Clinic today, you will find several coins laying on the sidewalk….glued down to trick the curious pedestrians. He was renowned to dress in costumes and to play numerous jokes Joe was a great advocate for the City of Dresden serving as Alderman/Mayor for 16 years. He was devoted to the youth of Dresden and was instrumental in securing grants for the current Wilson Park Complex that is enjoyed by many. He was a big supporter of Dresden High School athletics. Joe’s involvement in athletics came because of his long tenure as a Rotarian. Joe was an active Rotarian for over 50 years, never having missed a meeting. Joe was also active in scouting attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. He left a legacy of Eagle Scouts including his son, Gwin and his grandson, Mac. He was a huge supporter of his father-in-law, Gwin “Granddaddy” Crawford, who guided many young men as Scoutmaster of Troop 40 to the rank of Eagle. Joe loved the water and loved being on the water. He was an avid sailor and enjoyed many sunsets over his home at Kentucky Lake. The “Cabin” was a refuge to many of his friends, family and extended friendships. Joe made the cabin a paradise for many. He loved rare steak, a boat ride, tinkering and fixing things and enjoying time with family. Joe, our father, devoted husband, loving grandfather, great-grandfather and friend to many will be deeply missed by us all. We hope you can celebrate his life and his legacy with us. Services will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Dresden Saturday at 11 a.m. Visitation will be on Friday at Bowlin Funeral Home from 5-8 p.m. and from 10 a.m. until service time on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to the Joe Anderson Memorial Fund at Simmons Bank, 101 South Church Street, Dresden TN, 38225. This fund, honoring Joe’s memory and life of achievement and service, will be used for the continued support of the Park Services in Dresden. Online tributes may be left at

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