Barbara Phelps Anderson
September 28, 2012
Barbara Herrick Phelps was born on May 21, 1919 in Baltimore, the daughter of Harry Perry Phelps and Julia Mitchell Muchette Phelps. Her parents moved the family to Chicago in 1923. Barbara graduated from the Hannah More Academy for Girls and Gunston Hall Junior College in Washington, DC, where she was elected senior class president. Barbara was grateful all her life for the experience of living in the nation’s Capitol.Barbara transferred to the University of Chicago, where she met and married Robert Orville Anderson in 1939. In 1941 the Andersons moved to Artesia, New Mexico, as owners of the Malco Oil Refinery, which produced high octane aviation fuel for World War II aircraft. Along with the rest of the United States, Pearl Harbor changed the lives of the Andersons. In 1944 they purchased the Johnson & Lodwick Refinery in Roswell and moved the family there.Roswell could not have functioned at that time without its women volunteer workers. Barbara took care of her growing family, volunteered for community services, and made lifelong friends. She was a Girl Scout leader and Cub Scout den mother, served on boards of the Roswell Girls Club and the Eastern New Mexico Medical Center. She was a member of the Roswell Women’s Club, the Morning Garden Club and the Junior Book Club.In 1996, Barbara at last fulfilled a promise she made to her father by completing a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA with an English Literature major. During this time she served as a member of the boards of the American Ballet Theater, Occidental College, St. John’s College, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the New Mexico Commission on Aging.Barbara also played a quiet but highly important role in Aspen. While it was her husband, Robert O. Anderson who served as Interim President and then Chairman of the Aspen Institute from 1957 to 1987, it was Barbara who donated 23 acres of land to the Music Festival in 1964 so that the school could be built up Castle Creek.When her husband Robert O. Anderson retired, Barbara devoted her time to twenty grandchildren and seven children. She lived quietly in Roswell, enjoying local activities as well as old friends, until her death on September 24, 2012.She is survived by seven children: Katherine Denton, of Tucson, and her children Kate and Kelsey; Julia and Morgan Smith of Santa Fe, and their children Jay, Julia and Nelson; Maria Anderson of Alaska, and her children Alicia, Marin, Adrienne and Tom; Robert and Susan Anderson of Corrales, and their children Nelson, Benjamin and Lauren; Phelps and Ann Anderson of Roswell and their children, Christopher, Jennifer and Briggs; Barbara and Chris Kryder of Boston, and their children Gus, Will and Maria; and Beverley Crane and Jeff Forniciari of Santa Fe and her children Emma and Will. Barbara is also survived by nine great grandchildren, many beloved nieces and nephews and her brother-in-law Donald B. Anderson and his wife Sally of Roswell.She was preceded in death by her husband Robert O. Anderson; her sisters Patricia Phelps Ely and Beverley Phelps Kraft; and her brother Oliver Hazzard Perry Phelps.A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 29, at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 505 North Pennsylvania in Roswell. Memorial gifts can be made to the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, Roswell Boys and Girls Club, Community Kitchen Inc. or a charity of choice. The family will receive friends in the Parish Hall after the service.