Donald Eugene Anderson
May 31, 1933 – November 24, 2019
Resident of Lafayette
Donald Eugene Anderson passed away after a brief illness on November 24, 2019. Born May 31, 1933 in Oakland, California to Thomas Shober and Lillian Anderson (née Diamond), he loved music, travel, and family. Don graduated from Oakland High School and then attended U.C. Berkeley, where he joined the Kappa Alpha fraternity. He later received his J.D. from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
Don was a business litigator for over 50 years in San Francisco and Walnut Creek. Early in his career, before Public Defenders existed, Don represented inmates at Alcatraz as court appointed counsel. Ultimately Don’s litigation practice involved representation of high-profile real estate, construction, and transportation companies.
As important as his law practice was to him, his family came first. Don and his first wife Marian Anderson (née Meadowcroft) raised three children, Tom, Allan and Carol in the Orinda-Moraga area. Don made sure the kids could say “Go Bears” at an early age, and they each carried on the family tradition of attending Cal.
With Don’s second marriage to Helen in 1988, he found his best friend and soul mate. Together they travelled the world, planned epic birthday celebrations, soaked in the sun by the pool and in Cabo, and enjoyed each other’s company whether having a quiet dinner at home or over long lunches in Napa and San Francisco.
Outside of work and family, Don was committed to community service. He was engaged in politics throughout his adult life and was appointed to several administrative posts. He started by serving on various local boards in Orinda and Moraga in the late 60s and early 70s. He then moved to regional boards, serving on the Contra Costa County Planning Commission from 1974 to 1986, and the Bay Area Regional Water Quality Control Board, to which he was appointed by Governor Deukmejian in 1983. His dedication to community service continued into the 2000s, with his appointment as the public member of the RAN (Regional Access Network) Board. Don was also the chair of the Contra Costa County Republican Party from 1981 to 1984.
He was equally active with the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, the church where his parents met in the 1920s. Over his lifetime, he served as an elder and held roles critical to continued operations of the church as the community evolved around it. Don was also a member of the Lafayette Rotary and the Oakwood Athletic Club, where he swam with the master’s program past his 85th birthday.
Above all else, Don enjoyed connecting with friends, a good laugh, and any occasion that brought family together. He relished spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren and could be counted on to be the first on the dance floor and to burn the midnight oil telling stories. He rests more peacefully knowing Cal beat Stanford for the first time in ten years at the Big Game in 2019.
Don is survived by his wife Helen, his children Tom (Sandy), Allan (Nancy) and Carol (Drew), their mother Marian, his brother Ralph (Joanne), his step-daughter Jaclyn, his 7 grandchildren (Emily, Philip, Henry, Isaac, Kelsi, Shelby and Samantha), his nieces and nephews, many dear friends, and his devoted dog Rusty.
A memorial service will be held on January 18, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, located at 2619 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, care of Food Ministry.