Charles Frederick Lyman Anderson

Charles Frederick Lyman Anderson

Charles F.L. Anderson, PhD/Nov 13, 1946 – Jan 16, 2018

Charles Frederick Lyman Anderson, 71, died suddenly and unexpectedly of cardiac arrest on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at his home in Madison, Wis.

Born to the late Dorothea C. Prouty Anderson and Charles K. Anderson in Detroit, he grew up in Dearborn, Mich. In 1968, he received the undergraduate degree in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he made lifelong friends from various states and abroad, including Peter Batay, Toronto, Canada; Ron Searls, North Andover, Mass.; Saud Al-Sowayel, Delaplane, Va.; and Charles Pastors, Oak Park, Ill.

He was advised to “go West” for graduate work and was accepted into the chemistry program at Stanford University. While a graduate student, he worked for several summers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, discovering the enchanting beauty of that state where he continued to vacation in later life.

He met his wife, Mary, at the Stanford University graduate student housing complex. They were married in Palo Alto in May 1973, the year he received his doctorate in chemistry from Stanford and she received hers in hydrology. After graduating, Charles and Mary settled for two years on Long Island, where he was a postdoctoral student in chemistry at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and she was an adjunct assistant professor at Southampton College of Long Island University.

In 1975, Charles and Mary accepted jobs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Until his retirement from the university in 2007, Charles was a senior research scientist in the Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry. He helped lead research efforts and played a key role in obtaining funding from federal agencies and other entities to study the biochemistry of DNA.

Charles was a knowledgeable and generous supporter of music, theater, and other arts groups, but his great love was opera, especially rarely performed operas by Donizetti, Bellini, and Rossini. Over a number of years, he and his wife travelled to New York City for opera performances at the MET; to Washington, D.C., for performances at the Washington Concert Opera; and to Chicago for performances at the Lyric Opera. They were also devotees of the Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ontario, Canada; the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, New Orleans; Third Avenue Playhouse, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; Midsummer Music Festival, Door County, Wis.; and, closer to home, Madison Opera; Opera for the Young, Madison; and the American Players Theater, Spring Green, Wis.

Charles also relished their vacation home in northeast Wisconsin near Lake Michigan and the companionship of several generations of very special cats, most recently Jackson and Bailey, and best beloved of all, Tiger. He is survived by wife Mary P. Anderson, professor emerita of hydrogeology, Madison; sister Jane L. Anderson and brother-in-law Ernest R. Jackson, Arlington, Va.; and cousin Bill Warner-Prouty, Windsor, Conn., with whom he recently reestablished a most enjoyable relationship, as well as other cousins in the United States and Canada. A private memorial will be held in Door County, Wis., in the spring.

Cress Funeral & Cremation Services
3610 Speedway Road Madison
(608) 238-3434