David Andersen, passed away peacefully on October 15, 2018. David was born in Watertown, South Dakota on November 5, 1955cand lived there with his family, Mylo and Marlys Andersen and his sister Shari, attended and graduated from Watertown public schools, and left to attend the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music, (String Bass Performance), and later a BS and an MS in Mechanical Engineering. He served as Principal String Bassist for the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra for 10 years, throughout his undergrad and graduate studies. During that time he played with several renowned composers and conductors, including Seiji Ozawa, John Williams, Peter Schickele (PDQ Bach), Leonard Bernstein, and several others. He also traveled abroad to play in the Strauss Festival in Vienna, Austria. He concluded his work as a professional musician after he completed his graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering , to begin his career at the Center for Computer Aided Design, at the University of Iowa.
He married Leslie in February 1988, assumed the role of stepdad to her young son Jeffrey, and then moved to Chicago in August 1989. There he began his work with the Association of American Railroads/AAR where he worked for several years, earning his reputation as “all quiet competence.” Always the one wanted on a project’s team, “he was collegial and dependable and ensured that work was done exactly right, on time, and with little fanfare,” according to a long-time friend and colleague.
In November 1991, David and Leslie welcomed the birth of daughter Juliana Celeste and together the family enjoyed trips to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, the east coast, including New England and mid-Atlantic, and Washington DC, Canada , the UK, Hawaii, a cruise to the Mexican Riviera and others. David satisfied his musical interests by subscribing to several seasons of the Chicago String Ensemble, Chicago Sinfonietta, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and also attended occasional productions at the Lyric Opera and Chicago A Capella, as well as concerts presented by local and regional companies. Together, the family made numerous trips to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Lizzadro Museum, and other productions including ballet, theatre, and performances by comedians John Cleese and Trevor Noah. He and Juliana were avid fans of Monty Python and Star Wars, too.
After a successful career with AAR, he took on a new career in the paper industry with Stone Container Corporation– a job that included frequent trips to paper mills throughout the US and Canada. An active member of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), he served as President of the Fox Valley Chapter and presented several professional papers at national conferences. His excellent background in the railroad industry drew him back to work for Sharma & Associates during the final years of his professional career, where his outstanding knowledge of train dynamics and computer simulation were highly valued. His contribution to important projects with the US Department of Energy/Federal Railway Administration were especially valued and an essential part of the company’s expertise. He worked almost steadily, solving problems and mentoring young engineers in the firm, up until days before he lost his valiant battle with cancer on October 15.
David and Leslie were active members of St. Andrew’s Church in Downers Grove where he served on Altar Guild, as a member of the vestry , and as an usher. His well-earned reputation as “Punster Extraordinaire” was “enjoyed” by his colleagues and friends alike, and his reputation as a fine cook was treasured by all who were fortunate to partake of his excellent homemade pasta, sourdough baked goods, and amazing Christmas cookies, recipes that he learned from his dear mother and others he discovered himself.
Above all, David was patient, kind, and generous. He was considerate and gentle, and eager to learn new things about the world and its people. He is survived by his wife Leslie, daughter Juliana, stepson Jeffrey Davis, father Mylo Andersen, sister Shari Kjetland (Andersen), brother –in-law Barry Kjetland, and nieces, Sara and Rachel Kjetland. His mom, Marlys Andersen,was deceased in 2011. Funeral service and interment were held on October 20 at St. Andrew’s Church. Memorials may be sent to St. Andrew’s Church, 1125 Franklin Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515.
Print Obituary & Condolences