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John C. Anderson, 68, longtime wire-service photographer

He photographed Philadelphia sports teams and many world-wide news events.

John C. Anderson
John C. AndersonRead more

JOHN C. ANDERSON was looking forward to covering the Eagles game last Sunday as a wire-service photographer.

The struggle in the snow against Detroit would have made for some great pictures for this dedicated photojournalist, but John was killed Friday night in a traffic accident near his home in Pemberton, N.J. He was 68.

He was driving behind his wife in her car heading home from a restaurant about 8 p.m., when his car collided with another vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

John worked for United Press International (UPI) for 28 years, and, before concentrating on sports photography in the Philadelphia area, had covered some of the major events in history, in the U.S. and abroad.

"John was an institutional presence in Philadelphia for UPI and he was well-respected and admired," said Laurence Kesterson, a former Inquirer photographer.

"I spoke to him about three weeks ago and he was excited about covering the Eagles again this season, and he was looking forward to following Chris Christie in New Jersey as a possible presidential candidate.

"He was a mentor to a lot of young, rising photographers through the years, myself included, and he will be missed."

"I had known John for some 30 years," said Daily News photographer Steven M. Falk. "He was always kind and professional. He was always fun to be around."

John, who formerly lived in Yardley and Bristol, worked as a network administrator for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for the past 10 years, while also doing his photography.

At CHOP, he basically kept the hospital's computer system functioning.

"He was very proud of his work there," said his son, Shawn Anderson. "He felt that if he did a good job installing and setting up computers, it would make life better for both the doctors and the nurses who work to save the children."

John became a photojournalist for UPI in 1971. He worked out of bureaus in Philadelphia, Detroit, Miami, the Caribbean, Madrid, elsewhere in the Iberian Peninsula and Trenton.

He covered social unrest in Detroit and Chicago at the end of the Vietnam War and civil-rights protest era, the end of the Franco regime in Spain, the uprisings in Morocco, the civil war in Portugal, and the downfall of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, among others.

He photographed every president from Eisenhower to Obama.

As a sports photographer, he covered the Eagles, Sixers and Flyers, the Masters golf tournaments and horse racing.

He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won numerous photojournalist awards from his peers.

"He loved the city of Philadelphia," his son said.

John was born in Lake Charles, La., to Lorin and Helen Anderson. He grew up in the small town of Palisade, just outside of Grand Junction, Colo. He spent summers helping with the peach harvest and camping in the Rocky Mountains.

He graduated from the University of Colorado with a major in journalism and minor in history. For a time, he worked as a photographer for the Milwaukee Journal, where he met his wife, Avis Halaska. They were married in 1973.

"He was a good man," his son said. "He believed in helping people. He mentored a lot of photographers, and encouraged children to get involved with computers.

"He felt he was lucky in life. He got to do what he wanted to do. He had no regrets."

Besides his wife and son, he is survived by another son, Joseph Anderson; a daughter, Jennifer Roberts; and three grandchildren.

Services: Funeral Mass 10 a.m. today at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, 999 Reading Ave., Yardley.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Christopher's Hospital of Philadelphia,