Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

November 28, 2012

John Vernon Anderson

TRAVERSE CITY — John Vernon Anderson, 86, of Traverse City, formerly of Suttons Bay and St. Johns, was called home on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, at Munson Hospice House.

John was born on Jan. 30, 1926, in St. Johns, the son of Roy and Ella (Sessions) Anderson. He was born with a silver croon in his mouth and a song in his heart. John graduated from Rodney B. Wilson High School in St. Johns and was a dairy farmer in Essex Township until moving to St. Johns, where he sold life insurance and was a dairy inspector for the State of Michigan for more than 20 years. John entertained people from a very young age performing with his older brother Gerald and sister Helen any chance their mother Ella could arrange a program.

John married his sweetheart Phyllis Joan Sousley on March 31, 1945, and they were blessed with three children, Michael, Phillip and Karen. In 1947, John was featured on his own radio show on WJIM in Lansing and was very popular during the Bobby Sock era and he received requests and fan mail.

He also sang children's songs for the Cradle Roll Report to welcome babies born at local hospitals. John was a long-time member of the First Congregational Church and choir in St Johns.

John took his family on many fun camping trips and adventures exploring many unmarked two-tracks.

The family also enjoyed traveling to visit relatives in Florida, where he would join his brother Gerald's band singing and playing the saxophone at dances in St. Petersburg. Later, John, Phyllis and Michael enjoyed being members of the Hub Antique Car Club and traveled around Michigan in his cream-colored 1954 DeSoto taking picnics along the way.

John continued sharing his beautiful voice singing in church choirs, and at shows, weddings and funerals over the years. When he and Phyllis retired to Suttons Bay in 1985, he joined the Suttons Bay Congregational Church Choir and was a member of the men's Barbershop Chorus in Traverse City for around 15 years and was a featured soloist in several special shows, including "Sharing Center Stage" at Interlochen Arts Academy. You can take the boy out of the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the boy. On their land on Maple Valley Road, John grew a large garden and raised some prize vegetables which he was very proud of.

John is survived by his wife of 66 years Phyllis Joan (Sousley) Anderson; son, Phillip (Bev) Anderson; daughter, Karen (Mark) Hall; sister, Helen (Charles) Huntington; granddaughters, Autumn (Don) Jurek and Carrie Gleason; grandsons, Paul (Hollie) Anderson, John (Roxanne) Gleason and Daniel Gleason; great-grandsons, Noah, Oliver and Henry Jurek, and Cole and Eli Anderson; nieces and nephews, Linda (Robt) Williams, Jeremy Lewis, Maureen (Dale) Scott, Debra (Rod) Brethauer, John M. (Laura) Anderson, Sandy (Bill) Buyak and Scott (Rhonda) Sousley.

He was preceded in death by his son Michael; his brother and sister-in-law, Gerald and Carole Anderson; and his niece, Nancy (Brian) Culity; also his special dogs Laddie, Fritz, Poochie and Sammy. He and Phyllis also loved their beautiful Maine Coon Cat, Honey.

A memorial-celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Suttons Bay Congregational Church at 11 a.m. The Rev. Dr. Robin Long will officiate. Burial will be at Lowe Cemetery in St. Johns at a later date.

Memorials may be directed to, Munson Hospice House, Suttons Bay Congregational Church, or HANDDS to the Rescue pet adoption in Traverse City.

Please share thoughts and memories with John's family on their online guestbook at

Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.

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