James S. Anderson IHS 1936

James S. Anderson

1936 Alumnus

Ilion Dentist and Distinguished Alumnus
By Aileen Carney Sweeney
July 2014



James S. Anderson and Charlotte Anderson

James S. Anderson and Charlotte Anderson
Parents of Dr. James S. Anderson

James S. Anderson was born in Wilkes Barre, PA on March 27, 1918, the son of James S. and Charlotte Birk Anderson. He moved with his family to Ilion in 1935. He lived at 57 Hoefler Avenue in Ilion. Dr. Anderson graduated from Ilion High School in 1936.

He had three younger siblings: Mrs. Gordon (Rita) Tucker IHS '41, Carl Anderson IHS '38 and Rev. William Anderson.

His father, James S. Anderson, passed away January 10, 1956. His mother, Charlotte Anderson, passed away at the age of 91 on September 20, 1985.

His brother, Rev. William Anderson died Jan 2, 1963. His brother, Carl, resided in Phoenix, AZ. and died in 1998. His sister, Rita, passed away December 6, 2006.


James S. Anderson IHS 1936

James S. Anderson IHS 1936


During World War II, Dr. Anderson was a Second Lieutenant and a navigator on a Liberator plane. The Utica Daily Press, September 12, 1944 edition, reported that he was missing in action. His parents received a letter from him in September 1944. He wrote the letter on September 3, 1944. Lieutenant Anderson wrote that he was in a hospital in England recovering from a broken leg. The Germans brought down his plane over Paris and captured him.

The New York Sun newspaper published an article, on October 9, 1944, that provided the details of his captivity in a hospital on the outskirts of Paris. The German doctors set his broken leg. "The German doctors were wonderful to us," he said, "and gave us wine. We had the same food they did, cabbage and potatoes — no meat."

The New York Sun October 9, 1944

The New York Sun
October 9, 1944

Gault MacGowan visited with Lieutenant Anderson while he was a captive in the Paris hospital. MacGowan was a leading war correspondent for the newspaper; The Sun. MacGowan covered The Battle of Britain, the Dieppe Raid, the defeat of Rommel in Africa and the D-Day landings in northern France. On 15 August 1944, the Germans also captured Gault MacGowan and other war correspondents. MacGowan arrived at the same hospital on August 20, 1944. MacGowan told the prisoners the war would be over soon, "...that we should not worry and that sooner than we realized we would all be sent home."

The Americans liberated Paris on August 25, 1944. The prisoners heard on the radio that the Americans were in Paris. The Germans decided to move the patients and take them with them. Lieutenant Anderson stated, "Before their departure, the doctors made the rounds of the wards, gave the patients champagne and shook hands as though they did not wish to go. I tried to get permission for my doctor to remain and take care of the British and American wounded, but it was refused."

"When everything was ready to move us," he said, "it was discovered that the elevator had been damaged... Then we heard shots and heavy explosions. The Germans left us in the hallways and disappeared into thin air. A roar of engines below indicated a hasty retreat. We were mighty relieved and excited. The French resistances arrived and the girls put us back to bed and looked after us."


Dental Poster

On January 14 1946, The Utica Daily Press reported that James Anderson was awarded a New York State War Service Scholarship. "The awards were made on a basis of competitive examinations held last Dec. 4 in Utica Free Academy. The competition was open to all veterans of both wars and consisted of a written, comprehensive examination of 240 questions covering most high school subjects " ....The scholarships which were set up in January, 1943, were established to augment the GI Bill of Rights, but a veteran of either war cannot receive the State benefit if he receiving the Federal benefit. He must elect which he will accept."

James Anderson attended the University of Buffalo and graduated, in an accelerated program, from the School of Dental Medicine.


Dr. James Anderson married Phyllis Decker and like many of his generation, he returned to his hometown, Ilion. His family resided in a duplex on East Main Street. Dr. Arthur Applegate (an IHS 1936 classmate and friend) and his family occupied the other side of the duplex house.

In 1952, Dr. Anderson's dental practice was located at 18 Otsego St. in Ilion.

Dr. James S. Anderson and Dr. James J. Marine sponsored the Dentists in Ilion section of the "Ilion 1852-1952" Centennial Book.

In 1959, The Andersons built and moved to their new home at 94 Brook St. in Ilion.

Dr. James and Phyllis Anderson - 1985
Phyllis and James Anderson 1985


Ilion School Board of Education 1966
Ilion School Board of Education 1966

Seated: Dr. James S. Anderson, H. W. Miller, George J. Friis
Standing: Robert F. Kerr, Alan B. VanWinkle,
Dr. Arthur Applegate, Arthur Dauten

Throughout his life and career in Ilion, Dr. Anderson has held positions on many boards and continued to serve his community.

Just a few of the organizations he served on, or was a member of, include the Ilion School Board of Education, The Mohawk Valley Savings & Loan, Common Cause, The Village of Ilion Steering Committee and the Cogar Foundation (Secretary-Treasurer).

"The Cogar Foundation was established in 1969 to encourage, through scholarships and research grants, studies which might reveal the long-term sociological implications of rapid advances in science and technology." The scholarship fund was established in 1974. Ilion Alumni recipients of the Cogar Scholarship include: Aileen Carney Sweeney, Dr. David Morris and Eric Storne.

"The HCCC-Cogar Foundation Lecture Series brought distinguished speakers to the HCCC campus and have included Senator Edmund Muskie, Dr. Omar K. Moore, Dr. Albert Hibhs, Stewart Udall and Dr. Isaac Asimov.


Barringer Road Elementary School
Barringer Road Elementary School Construction 1966

Photo Credit: Dr. Theodore R. Carney

In June 1966, a certificate was presented to Dr. Anderson and was the first-ever given by the Ilion Teachers Association. Bernard Murray, President of the Ilion Teachers Association, said the certificate was for outstanding leadership and devotion. At the time, Dr. Anderson had served as school board president for two years. These critical years were during the rebuilding of the high school and the construction of the new Barringer Road Elementary School.


Herkimer County Community College

Herkimer County Community College

Dr. Anderson was appointed, in 1966, as a member of the Founding Board of Trustees of Herkimer County Community College. Dr. James Anderson was chairman of the general inauguration committee in 1967. The inaugural convocation and installation of the first college president, Robert McLaughlin was attended by more than 500 guests at the Ilion Capitol Theater. Dr. James Anderson, Herkimer College Board Chairman, conducted the dedication ceremonies for the new Herkimer County Community College campus in 1971. Dr. Anderson's lasting positive influence on the lives of local residents seeking a higher education has been tremendous.

Jane Graham chronicled his early tenure on the board in an interview on June 6, 2006. This fascinating series of interviews, with early leaders of Herkimer County Community College, provides first person accounts of the history of the founding of HCCC and the includes the accounts of the politics involved in its inception. The interview is available to download as an MS Word Document file at the SUNY Digital Repository. (Source: a series of interviews with early leaders of Herkimer County Community College (State University of New York): Dr. James Anderson (trustee), interviewed by Jane Graham on June 6, 2006; Dr. Robert McLaughlin (founding president), interviewed by Jane Graham on April 26, 2006; David Trautlein (founding dean), interviewed by Jane Graham on April 28, 2006)

In 1999, Dr. Anderson was one of nine people who were named the first recipients of the HCCC Torchbearer Awards. The honorees were instrumental in the development of Herkimer College. Award recipients were honored with individual plaques on the Torchbearer's Wall in the Robert McLaughlin College Center lobby. The plaque bears the following text: "We recognize those who have given themselves to light the way for future generations. Through their vision and commitment, our Torchbearers have built this community college and maintained its tradition of opportunity and excellence."

"For his years of service as a member of the Founding Board of Trustees (appointed 1966), twelve years as chairman (1970 to 1982), and presently the longest standing Board member. Dr. Anderson, a dentist from Ilion, has been instrumental in making significant contributions to all phases of the development of the College. He has recommended and supported many positive changes to the facilities and curricula. He has also insisted on campus beautification and the maintenance of an outstanding library. During his tenure, Dr. Anderson has been remarkably committed to maintaining a quality and affordable educational opportunity at Herkimer College." Dr. Anderson was also named to the Emeritus Board of Directors


Ilion Annunciation Church 1972
Ilion Annunciation Church 1972

Dr. James S. Anderson, Mrs. Roger (Lynn) Weeden, Mrs. Phyllis Anderson

Dr. Anderson has served on the Parish Council of Annunciation Church in Ilion, NY. His brother, William, was a Catholic priest.

His children graduated from Ilion High School:
Laura Anderson Henry '‏72,
Philip Anderson '74
and Christine Anderson '78.

He resides, with his wife, Phyllis, at Forge Hill Estates, in Ilion.

He is the godfather of Theodore Robert Carney II.

His fellow 1936 classmates and friends include Dr. Arthur Applegate and Dr. Theodore R. Carney.


Dr. James S. Anderson retired from his dental practice in the 1980s.
Dr. Stephen May took over Dr. Anderson's well established Ilion practice.

Dr. James S. Anderson celebrated his 96th birthday this year.

When he is not reading and enjoying poetry or attending daily Mass, he can be frequently seen golfing at Doty's Golf Course in Ilion. He also travels with his wife, Phyllis (Ilion Public Librarian), to visit their children.

Jim and Phyllis Anderson reside at Forge Hill Estates, Ilion NY.

Cedar Lake Golf Club 1966
Cedar Lake Golf Club 1966
Photo Credit: Dr. Theodore Robert Carney
Cedar Lake Golf Club 1966
Cedar Lake Golf Club 1966
Photo Credit: Dr. Theodore Robert Carney

Limerick for Dr. Anderson
By: Aileen Carney Sweeney

I know a dentist named Jim,
Who's life was filled to the brim;
A look at his past,
Showed lad with a cast,
Twas the Nazis fixed his limb.

James Samuel Anderson DDS, IHS 1936, age 99, of Ilion, passed away peacefully on April 5, 2017 at his daughter's home in Winchester, MA.


References Cited


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First Published July 11, 2014
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