By: Celia Catlett

Ann Anderson radiates energy and friendliness. As with so many interviews I have conducted with new residents, the session turned into a lively conversation. As we talked, I learned that Ann, after getting her BA in English literature and philosophy from the University of Minnesota (Cum Laude), did not follow the usual job route for these majors. After her marriage to Steven, she worked briefly as a social worker in St. Paul. She told me that her work on aid to women with dependent children was an eye-opener that set her on a path from liberal Unitarian to full-fledged humanitarian. Because she herself is adopted, she welcomed an offer to work with placing children whose mothers were unable to keep them.

But this was just one step in Ann’s multifaceted life. When her children, son Bruce and daughter Liz, were born, she became a full-time mother. Once they were grown, Ann went back to school, gaining her RN (with honors) from the community college in Brazos Port, Texas, near where her husband’s career had taken them. She worked as a nurse for several years, writing a patient manual during her tenure.

The Andersons have bred, trained, and shown Rummer Run Boxers for a number of years. They no longer are able to keep any of them at home. The dogs are now cared for, shown, and bred by the Andersons’ close friends and handlers in Birmingham, Alabama. Ann’s love of the breed is evidenced by membership on the board of the American Boxer Charitable Trust. Her interest in the animal kingdom also extends to the species we see flying past our windows here at Plymouth Harbor. She is a co-founder and current board member of Sarasota’s Save Our Seabirds.

Steven Anderson also took a sharp turn from a BA in history at the University of Minnesota to the medical sales business. He worked with several pacemaker companies over the years. Fascinated by new research at the University of Alabama on freezing harvested heart valves for use in surgery, he wished to promote this breakthrough process that allowed more patients to receive implants and started his own company, CryoLife. Doctors loved the idea, but, as Ann informed me, getting financing was the hardest part. He succeeded, however, and the company flourished and now trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Andersons have lived in various places: Minnesota, Wisconsin, St. Petersburg, Florida, Texas, and for about 30 years in Atlanta and part-time in Sarasota—first on Bird Key and then on Longboat, where they became full-time Sarasotans and still own a house. Although only halfway moved in, Ann is eager to participate in and contribute to our community.