Ralph Anderson dies; beloved commissioner, veterinarian was 69

May 10 – Former county commissioner and veterinarian Ralph R. “Doc” Anderson died at 9:54 am on Saturday at the age of 69.

The tour takes place on Sunday, May 16, at 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The funeral services will take place at 7 p.m. at Fisher Funeral Chapel, 1801 Chase Road, Logansport.

Randy Head, former District 18 senator and former Republican chairman of the county, said Anderson had an influence and long served the county as both a veterinarian and an elected official.

Anderson served in local politics for approximately 28 years and has owned and managed the Logansport Veterinary Clinic since 1980.

His 38-year-old wife, Connie Anderson, worked with him in the hospital every day.

In politics, Anderson served as a trustee on the Jefferson Township Board for 12 years, then as Cass County Councilman (four as President) for eight years, before serving as Cass County Commissioner for District 1, the northern third of the county, for eight years.

Cass County Republican chairman David Richey said the news he and many received through social media came as a surprise and a shock.

“We’re sad,” said Richey. “Our hearts and our love go to his family.”

Although not close to Anderson, he knew him as someone who loved Cass County and the people of Cass County.

As a commissioner, Anderson campaigned for district employees and had experience from his years in the public service.

“Ralph really takes a lot of wisdom with him,” said Richey. “There is this knowledge and this wisdom that we will not get back.”

Anderson died of a myocardial infarction – a heart attack – aged 69, said George Franklin, coroner at Cass County.

His wife Connie discovered he had collapsed at home and called doctors, Franklin said.

Anderson was pronounced dead in the emergency room at Logansport Memorial Hospital.

His immediate family made a statement to the community in which they “expressed the appreciation for the pouring of love and support shown to us after the sudden heart attack and unexpected death of our husband and father.”

The story goes on

They also thanked the support and care the family had received from law enforcement, rescue workers, and emergency room staff at Logansport Memorial Hospital.

“Ralph had a big heart for Cass County, touched the lives of two- and four-legged friends throughout his career, brought a smile to faces working at Civic Players of Logansport, and invested 20 years of civil service as a councilor and commissioner,” it said the explanation.

“The loss is immense, but we know that grief shared is grief lessened,” he continued. “Your prayers for our family mean more than we can put into words.”

Anderson was from White County and was a third generation veterinarian.

He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather John Anderson and his father Arthur Anderson, declaring his family. His uncle and older brother Charlie Anderson were also veterinarians.

He graduated from Purdue University’s College of Veterinarian Medicine in 1976 and was immediately hired by a practice in Ohio.

Anderson returned to Indiana in 1980 and opened his own practice on the west side of the city at 1520 W. Market St.

Anderson specialized in small animals and horses when he opened, but he gave up caring for horses when he ran out of time to make field visits.

His older brother Art Anderson, currently a White County councilor, remembered Ralph as caring.

“He was a good kid and a smart kid growing up,” said Art Anderson. “He was always good to people.”

Ralph’s interest in politics was also a family tradition.

“He was always interested in politics, and he got that from Papa because Papa was always interested,” he said. “You take that in as a child.”

However, Ralph sometimes struggled making difficult decisions as an elected officer.

“He doesn’t like to hurt people.” Art said.

Art also remembered his brother as someone concerned about the environment and reforesting his farmland.

Ralph would remove some of the large trees so the smaller ones could grow, he said.

Anderson retired from politics as President of the County Commissioners in December when his term expired.

He’d lost the primary to Ruth Baker in June, but saw it as a sign it was time to spend more time doing the things that mattered in his life.

“I served the county for 28 years and the county finally told me it was okay to go home and take care of my family,” said Anderson. “I will have four new grandchildren this year.”

The Logansport Veterinary Clinic continues to operate under the direction of Ralph’s brother Charlie Anderson, DVM.

The full Anderson obituary will be published in the Pharos Tribune on Wednesday.

Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at james.wolf@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5117

Twitter @JamesDWolfJr