On April 3, 2011, Edward W. Anacker came to the end of a long and joyous life in the care of the dedicated staff of Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. Ed was born on June 2, 1921, in Chicago, Ill., where he grew up visiting the Field Museum and excelling in school.
When his family visited St. Paul, Minn., when he was 14, he attempted to travel the distance on bike – sleeping in haystacks and fixing flat tires with rubber bands. During the Depression, he graduated at 16 from Helena High School, joined the CCC, worked as a carpenter, and ultimately went to college at Montana State College.
His higher education was interrupted by World War II. Ed was commissioned into the Navy as second in command of a ship where he was responsible for navigation. “I always followed the ship in front of us,” was how Ed described the discharge of this duty. A Kamikaze crashed 150 yards off the bow of his ship during the Okinawa campaign.
On a Greyhound bus traveling through North Dakota, he met the angel of his life, Stella E. Lillo. They were married in 1945.
After the war, Ed returned to MSC, received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and then went on to Cornell University where he gained a doctorate in physical chemistry. While in Ithaca, N.Y., sons, Steven and David, were born. Ed then joined the faculty of the Montana State College chemistry department where he would remain until he taught his last class in 1996 – raising to the rank of full professor and ultimately serving a term as department head. Ed enjoyed and excelled at teaching both undergraduate and graduate students. He also wrote and published numerous research papers.
During the ’50s and ’60s, Ed loved to fish and climb mountains, leading his children, colleagues and friends on white-knuckle accents up mountains like the Grand Teton. During this time, sons Eric and John joined the tribe.
In the ’70s, Ed discovered the peculiar joys of running and biking. His accomplishments included riding a bicycle from the 45th parallel to the Canadian border in under 24 hours, and running 100 miles – up and down mountains in California – in under 30 hours. This last achievement inspired Ed to create the Bridger Ridge Run which bears his name. Ed continued to run to the very end, enjoying his last Wind Drinkers race earlier this year.
Ed was preceded in death by his wife, Stella, and his sister, Marge.
He is survived by his four sons, seven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and brother, Robert.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 15, at Hope Lutheran Church.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.