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Donald Alan Anderson


Vallecito resident Donald Alan Anderson died after a three-and-a-half year battle with cancer Thursday, March 22, 2012, in California. He was 72.

Known as “Don,” he was born to Arthur and Bernice (Walker) Anderson on June 19, 1939, in Minnesota. He grew up in the Dakotas, graduated from South Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and earned a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Anderson enjoyed a 27-year career with the U.S. Public Health Service. Seventeen of those years were spent on loan to the Environmental Protection Agency, where he worked on water quality and waste-treatment systems.

His family said he was an avid hiker and backpacker who loved the mountains, trains, fine wines, old movies, maps and trivia.

They said he was affectionately known by his California ski club friends as “Filthy Don” or “His Filthiness,” an honorific title he was given based on a hike taken in the Sierra Madre Mountains more than 40 years ago when he and five friends returned to camp quite grubby and were subsequently dubbed “The Filthy Five.” The Filthy Five Film Festival has since been an annual event for the “Filthies” and their extended friends as an occasion to share travels of the past and reminisce.

Mr. Anderson retired to Durango in 1989 and moved to Vallecito in 1997.

“He was a citizen activist who cared enough about his community and neighbors to give untold hours of his time and energy working on environmental and developmental issues affecting the Vallecito community,” his family said. “He was the kind of engineer who could cut through all the extraneous matter to get at the heart of things.”

Mr. Anderson also was involved in local land-use issues, the Four Corners Air Quality Task Force and the San Juan Large Scalers model train club. He designed his house on the side of a mountain in the style of an old building at the Tom Boy Mine near Telluride but with a southwest flair interior, his family said.

Mr. Anderson is survived by his partner of 15 years, Marilyn McCord, of Vallecito; and four nephews and two nieces.

A memorial service honorific will be held at Vallecito at 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, 2012, his birthday, at Mountain Utes Lands Park at the north end of Vallecito Reservoir.

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