Cover photo for Rolan E. Anderson's Obituary
Rolan E. Anderson Profile Photo
1932 Rolan 2021

Rolan E. Anderson

June 13, 1932 — November 1, 2021

Rolan Anderson, 89, Ulen, MN and formerly Minneapolis, MN, died November 1, 2021 at Viking Manor in Ulen, MN.

Rolan was born on June 13, 1932 in Omaha, Nebraska. He grew up on a farm near York, Nebraska. He was adopted at birth and eventually, in his 70’s, found some of his biological family. His (adoptive) father was a farmer and his mother was a housewife on the farm. Rolan graduated high school in 1949 and went on to the University of Nebraska to earn a degree in Agriculture. In 1953 he married Muriel Softley.

Rolan was called to serve and left for the army for two years. When he came back, he went back to the University of Nebraska for a Master’s degree in Agriculture, and continued on to the University of Minnesota to expand his studies even further.

Rolan and Muriel moved to Minneapolis in 1958, and eventually bought a home in Fridley, MN in 1967, which remained their home until 2020. He and his wife, along with their two adopted children, Jane and Julie lived in the home their entire lives. Muriel passed away in 2015 after being married for 62 years, but Rolan continued living in their Fridley home until he fell in his house and was unable to continue living alone. He moved into the Viking Manor Nursing Home past September, 2020 to be closer to his daughters, Jane and Julie.

Rolan was an instructor of biology at Anoka Ramsey Community College from 1966 until 1998 when he retired. He was passionate about teaching and education and was proud to be a faculty member at ARCC. He contributed to the higher education of his grandchildren; always encouraging lifelong learning and gaining knowledge.

Rolan enjoyed many things! He is well known for his love of music–classical music. He played the piano, sang (had perfect pitch!), and was in his church choir (Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, MN) for over 50 years. He was an usher at many musical events as well.

He was also an animal lover. He was a long time member of the SAMS club (Samoyed Association of Minneapolis, St.Paul) and went to dog shows to watch and support Jane, and, at times, he entered the show ring as well! The house was always full of animals, usually dogs; however, there was a time when it was a bit of a zoo including, a snake, mice and fruit flies (from the biology department), parakeets, a turtle, and cats. Not only was the house full of animals, it was also full of ‘stuff’. Dad was known to be a ‘packrat’. He loved his antique wood and tin box collection. He saved everything. He was frugal; he reused, recycled and reused again. Although he was frugal, he was also generous with his donations to organizations. Every year, Rolan would give to over 50 charitable organizations. With these donations, he would typically get a membership card and perhaps a pen or a bag for his ‘gift’. And yes, he saved them all.

Rolan loved to read and was a great photographer. He has hundreds and hundreds of slides he took while on family vacations that included visiting just about every state in the U.S. Unfortunately, because he was such a great photographer, many of our pictures are of dad behind the camera instead of in front. Along with the travels, his frugality increased. A large, old army tent was always our lodging, along with four air mattresses blown up one at a time from our own air. One mattress was always certain to have a slow hole and if it was raining outside, make sure you didn’t touch the canvas tent–it would start leaking at the spot it was touched. A trip that he made while on sabbatical from the college was to the Galapagos Island; certainly a once ina lifetime experience.

Another amazing thing about Rolan was that he was a runner! He ran in many long distance races around the city. He even completed three marathons in his lifetime; running up until he
was in his 50’s.

Rolan had a great memory, and a bizarre ability to remember tiny details, years, numbers, and dates that most people cannot retrieve. He kept track of birthdays (as Muriel did) and sent cards out yearly to many friends and family, always including with his signature, King Alfie. Alfie the cat was his companion until
the end. Even when in the nursing home, Alfie would come to visit dad in his room. Alfie would snuggle and rest with dad. Rolan loved his cat, Alfie.

Dad was the smartest, kindest, generous, gentle, talented andfascinating person we knew. He had an extremely dry sense of humor. If you understood it, you would laugh even harder at his

Rolan’s ashes will be placed in Fairmont, Nebraska next to his wife, Muriel. His beloved dogs Bandit, Tessie and Jett’s ashes will be with him as well.

We miss him fiercely.

Survived by Daughters Jane Anderson (Lanny Brekke) and Julie Mies (Scott). Grandchildren Anna, Thomas and Mathias Mies. Steadfast friend; King Alfie the cat.Dad was adamant about having no funeral or any type of service. We will respect his wishes, but look forward to your memories, stories and comments as well.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to Anoka-Ramsey Community College Foundation or We R Furr Feline Rescue.

*Anoka-Ramsey Community College Foundation

11200 Mississippi Blvd NW
Coon Rapids, MN 55433.

In the memo, write “In memory of Rolan E. Anderson.”
Or go online at to contribute your gift in memory of Rolan, while supporting students.

*WE R Furr Feline Rescue
Bell Bank
920 Lake Avenue
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
Memo: in memory of Rolan Anderson and Alfie


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