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Cubbies, built and installed by Anderson, are welcome and used at BRIDGE For Youth with Disabilities. Photo by Margaret Ontl
Cubbies, built and installed by Anderson, are welcome and used at BRIDGE For Youth with Disabilities. Photo by Margaret Ontl

Lifetime hobby allows Anderson to give of himself

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life River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Those who know Hudson resident Gordy Anderson know he is soft spoken and inclined not to smile for photos, instead approaching life with a quiet solemnity. On the other hand when asked about his volunteer work, family or his woodworking hobby a gentle joy is present.

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"It has been a lifelong hobby, ever since I was a kid on the farm," said Gordy Anderson, about woodworking. "My favorite subject was shop class. My dad was a farmer but a carpenter too so I guess I got my interest in it from him." From an early age, woodworking was a part of Anderson's life.

"When we were first married we were broke," said Anderson, "So we bought a lot and saw-milled the lumber we needed." With a little help, Anderson and his wife, Jean, built their first house from scratch. Along with the house, he also made a lot of their furniture including a bedroom set, end tables and a steamer trunk.

"Building furniture is a lot of hard work, most have three or four coats of sealer," said Anderson of the fine furniture he has built. Over the years Anderson acknowledges that tools have improved a lot.

"For example, when my dad built his machine shed. He had two tools, a handsaw and a hammer," said Anderson, whose workshop would be the envy of many a craftsman. The area is spotless and organized with absolutely everything having a place. Outfitted with an air filter and vacuum system not a speck of dust was visible. Recently he built 36 cubbies for BRIDGE For Youth With Disabilities.

"A couple of nights later I went back to finish the installation and there were little notes on each one," said Anderson. "It's such a simple little thing to reach out and help people."

And reach out Anderson does, building bookshelves for the history room at the Hudson Public Library, making a podium for the Woodbury Legion post in honor of his father who was a World War I veteran and creating and completing any number of projects for his church Shepherd of the Valley in Afton. Resting on the radio in his workshop is a stack of thank you notes that he cherishes.

"The nice thing about woodworking as a hobby is that you can do things you can enjoy and help other people at the same time," said Anderson. "It is relaxing and you and start and stop during the project."

Anderson recently retired from the board of directors of The Phipps Foundation. It has been 22 years since he retired from his career with Xcel Energy.

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