Mary Sulgrove Anderson

Honored by:Miriam A. Shannon
Brick location:K:3  map

Greenfield, Iowa is the hometown of Mary Anderson, born Mary Sulgrove to Blanche and Byron Sulgrove in the month of November 1912. The Sulgroves were a farm family, living about four miles south of town. A one-room schoolhouse at Buffalo Wallow was her first school, and later she rode horseback into Greenfield to attend high school each day. Quite the student, Mary graduated early from high school and matriculated to Simpson College before attending Iowa State.

Home Economics Education was her field, and she graduated in three and a half years (1932), with highest honors in her class. She was tapped for Omicron Nu and Phi Kappa Phi honoraries. Mary worked for room and board for various professors to help pay her way through school. An Alpha Gamma Delta sorority sister arranged to introduce Mary to her future husband, Earl Anderson, at a sorority formal dance. Earl was a student in the school of Agricultural Engineering and a member of Farmhouse Fraternity.

These were depression years, and Andy decided to stay at Iowa State for a Master's Degree, hoping that jobs would be more plentiful after the advanced degree. Mary taught Home Economics for three years in Iowa schools, and she was glad to be able to pay off all college indebtedness before marrying in 1935. In those days, married women were seldom hired for jobs that needed to be saved for men or unmarried women.

Andy's career took them to Grinnel, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit suburbs. Mary was a "stay at home mom", raising their three children until they were in upper school. Then she taught at a junior and senior high school in Hinsdale, Illinois, and later in Grosse Ile and Trenton, Michigan. Another occupation during the time the children were growing up was that of journalist for "Republic Steel Farm Spokesman", writing a column for farm wives.

In 1972, Andy and Mary moved from Michigan to Parker, Colorado where they enjoyed retirement in a home they had designed using the engineering skills and the home economics skills they had been practicing for so many years. In 1991, shortly after they returned to Michigan to a retirement apartment complex in Kalamazoo, Andy died. In the fall of 1999 Mary was feted as a fifty year member of P.E.O. and is still an active member of her Kalamazoo chapter.

Mary's life has been one of service, love, and compassion, and those fortunate to know her are quick to see the joy that springs from her faith in God. Her daughter, Karen West and her husband Art,live in Leesburg, Florida; her son, Larry Anderson and his wife Susan, live nearby in Battle Creek; and her eldest daughter, Miriam Shannon and her husband Dave, live in suburban Kalamazoo. She has six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.