June 9, 1935 – September 13, 2021
On June 9, 1935 a rambunctious little boy was born in Le Mars, Iowa by the name of Dennis Kay Anderson. This mischievous, fun-loving child grew up on a farm near Aurelia, Iowa. He would ride his treasured pony named “Silver “, to a one room schoolhouse where he would pack hotdogs on a string in a thermos so he could enjoy a hot lunch. Yes, even young Denny loved his food.
The boy with the booming voice, and zest for fun would break both his legs and each arm twice, by jumping off a bridge into a snow pile at recess on a dare, by sliding into home plate, tagging a base and on the football field.
As he grew, Dennis would help on the farm and show grand champion steers. He went out for sports, although not knowing much about rules or technique, he quickly found a passion for his dedication, energy, enthusiasm, and leadership skills.
At 130 lbs. the “Charger,” Dennis Anderson would play defensive line and not only letter in football but also basketball, baseball and track and field. After high school he would attend Wayne State Teachers College in Nebraska where he would play tennis and basketball.
It was at basketball practice where he first noticed a beautiful, long-legged co-ed wearing shorts, named Barbara Jean Rezac. She was a city girl and honor student from Omaha South High School. They would date on and off during college, through Denny’s Army Reserve Service and after starting their teaching careers.
Finally, when the seemingly final break-up ended in a “settlement” over who could take possession of their beloved dog named Duke, neither would concede, so they agreed to marry and settle the dispute permanently.
A union of 62 years. Duke won that round for the benefit of so many to come. Barbara and Dennis would elope and marry in Jackson, Minn. on June 1, 1959. They would move from their beloved community of Bode, Iowa where they taught for Twin Rivers of Bode Schools in August 1967 to Bloomfield along with their children, Keeley and Kent.
It is in Bloomfield where the creation of “Marvin Mud Puddle” was formed. Dennis felt as a boisterous coach and elementary PE teacher he could help put the children at ease by doing two simple things. One was anointing himself with the “Marvin Mud Puddle” nickname and the second was to attempt to make each kid feel special with a nickname of their own.
At Davis County School is where he and Barbara both worked before she moved on to Iowa State University. Coach Anderson would coach and assist varsity basketball, junior high basketball and junior high track, as well as high school boys and girls varsity track. He would also assist with varsity football. It is on the track where his teams excelled the most. He simply enjoyed the purity and raw emotion of athletics and competition.
In addition to coaching varsity sports, he implemented the “Biddy Basketball” program, which was a foundation for mustang athletics for decades. Countless hours in the gym on Saturday mornings would inspire and benefit generations of mustang athletics.
1958 to 2018, 60 years of coaching, (50 at Davis County) mentoring, motivating and giving. Rolling baseball diamonds, cinder tracks, sweeping gym floors, teaching countless kids in Drivers Ed, all the while the nicknames continued.
He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, who was not only devoted to his family and friends around the globe where he and Barb traveled extensively, but also in his community and beloved Davis County Schools.
Dennis was an avid outdoorsman, where he enjoyed, boating, hunting and fishing and loved the beauty of mother nature. From 1958 to 2018 he enjoyed 60 years of annual fishing trips to Canada where he would catch the rare “North American Blue Marlin…. “And enjoy banter with family and friends. He would always have a smile, a toast, positive advice, or a pat on the back. He Loved Life to the very fullest and even at 86, that rambunctious little boy was still inside him.
Dennis passed away the evening of September 13, 2021, at his home in Indianola, surrounded by his loving family.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Barbara, daughter Keeley Anderson Kinney (Dan Kinney) of Pleasant Hill, son Kent Anderson (Friederike Anderson) of Bloomfield; four grandchildren, Keegan Rooney, Jorden Rooney, Laena Anderson, Mila Anderson, two great granddaughters Alaya Kearney and Tayan Rooney; two step-grandchildren, Amber Holub (Brad), Chase Kinney (Brittany), and three step-grandchildren, Dylan Holub, Brinkley Holub and Rhya Kinney.
Dennis was preceded in death by his parents Henry G. and Francis (Davis) Anderson; sisters Joyce Stanford (Harley), Ruth Swain (Pat), and nephew Tim Swain; and step-great-grandchildren Dalton and Danielle Holub.
A Celebration of Life for Dennis will be held on Saturday, October 16, in Bloomfield at the Davis County High School Mustang Stadium, and the Dennis Anderson Track. The Plaza and Gate will open at 10:30 a.m. Please begin by signing in with your name and nickname that Marvin Mud Puddle gave you. The celebration of Dennis’ life will begin at 11 a.m.. It will be moved inside the gymnasium if there is inclement weather. Dennis’ family invites you to join us as we celebrate Dennis and his life so well lived.
Arrangements for a private family service were arranged by Iowa Cremation of Waukee and presided over by Rhonda Eakins.