Vicksburg voice dies at age 62

Published 11:04 am Friday, April 18, 2014

The voice of Vicksburg has signed off for the last time.

Ron Anderson, whose career as a broadcaster spanned 36 years, died Wednesday at Promise Hospital. He was 62.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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Anderson was best known as the host of “Hometown Morning Show” on radio station River 101.3 FM, for his participation in charitable events across the city and TV commercials for Hometown Medical.

“Anyone who knew him would agree he was the happiest man on the planet,” said broadcaster and former co-worker Evelyn Johnson. Johnson succeeded Anderson as morning show host when he retired in 2009.

“He suffered from all kinds of different ailments, but he never let it show when he was on the air. He was a real professional,” she said.

Besides doing the morning show, Anderson also broadcast football, baseball and softball games and worked at different events in the city.

“Wherever there was something going on, you would find Ron there,” Johnson said. “He was always at Bazinsky Field. He took part in the Mash Bash when it was going on. He took parts in all kinds of events, especially involving the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.”

“I never did work with him or as a competitor, but he always called me an old radio man, because I was in radio 4 or 5 years more than he was,” said city IT technician Bill Ford.

Ford recalled the time he and Anderson attended a Mississippi Association of Broadcasters convention and pooled their money to buy a CD player.

“We took it back to his station (River 101) and set it up,” he said. “Bob Bishop, the owner of the station, didn’t like CD players, because he said they were a fad. So each time Ron finished his shift, he had to remove the wires and hide them. He was like the newpaper industry. No competitors or co-workers, but a brotherhood. When you lose somebody like him, it takes a little from all of us.”

In a 2009 interview with The Vicksburg Post, Anderson said his community service work was his proudest accomplishment.

Anderson was born in Nebraska, but grew up in Vicksburg. He began his career as a radio announcer in 1973 after attending Northeast Louisiana University, now known as the University of Louisiana at Monroe in Monroe, La. One of his first jobs was as nighttime announcer for WKYV radio, one of the first FM radios in Mississippi.

He retired in 2009, citing his problems with rheumatoid arthritis and insulin-dependent diabetes as part of the reason for leaving.

Johnson said Anderson “was like our at-work father figure at the station. He did the things a father would do — yank your collar when you were bad and praise you when you did good. I was surprised when I got his position. Those were some very big shoes I don’t think I’ll ever fill. I can only hope that I can do it in a way that would please him.”

Anderson is survived by his wife, Julie, who was known as “Dutch.” They had four children and 10 grandchildren, two of which died in a fire in 2009.Anderson,Ron

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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