City of Soldotna Mayor Nels Anderson passed away Tuesday morning, according to a shared Facebook post from the mayor’s son, Nate Anderson.
“Our dad, John Nels Anderson MD, “Doc”, Mayor Anderson passed to the other side this morning,” Nate Anderson wrote in his Facebook post. “I couldn’t be more proud to be his son. He went down fighting to the end. Love you dad. Will never watch a Dodger Game, eat a bowl of chocolate chip mint ice cream, or back bounce Big Eddy without thinking of you. Till we meet again.”
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen said the city’s heart go out to Dr. Anderson’s family.
“I would like to extend my deepest condolences,” Queen said. “Mayor Anderson was beloved in this community, and a true public servant. He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of his friends and neighbors, and we are forever grateful.”
Anderson was elected to serve as mayor in 2017. Anderson previously served as Soldotna’s mayor from 2013 to 2015. He also served on city council from 2009 to 2012 and on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Board of Education for about 15 years prior to that.
Anderson worked as a doctor and helped deliver many babies in the central peninsula, including Soldotna City Council member Tim Cashman’s son. Cashman said Anderson has been a huge part of his family and life for a long time.
“It’s been an honor for me to be able to work with him,” Cashman said. “I’ve never met a single person who did so much and asked for so little. I wish his family the best.”
Cashman said Soldotna has big shoes to fill.
Tyson Cox, another council member on Soldotna City Council, also said it was an honor to work with Anderson.
“He will be missed not only by me, but by the entire city and area,” Cox said. “He’s been part of this community for a long time. He will be greatly missed.”
The Clarion previously reported that he and his wife traveled to west Africa to go on a mission trip for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2016.
Nels Anderson was also part of the Last Frontier chapter of the International Dutch Oven Society, and over the last decade, hosted several statewide Dutch Oven Championships during Soldotna’s Progress Days.
Stan Steadman, a member of the Last Frontier Dutch Oven Society, said he knew Anderson well.
“He was a wonderful man who reached so many sectors of our community,” Steadman said.
In a Facebook post, the City of Kenai also offered condolences to the mayor’s family.
“Our deepest sympathies are with Mayor Anderson’s Family and the City of Soldotna at this time,” the city’s Facebook post said.