By CHRIS HARRIS, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
A beloved Ferguson public servant passed away suddenly on Friday, leaving a hole not just in the town’s governing body but in its heart as well.
Nora Anderson, a member of the Ferguson City Council, passed away at her residence. She was 55.
Anderson was first elected to the council of the fifth-class city just south of Somerset in 2008. She was in her second term, having been re-elected in 2010, and had filed for this year’s election as well.
“She’s always been in support of anything and everything that would benefit the city,” said Ferguson Mayor Allen Dobbs on Saturday. “The council has worked well together. We couldn’t have gotten where we are without her.”
Dobbs said that with the general election so close — Tuesday, Nov. 6, only a few weeks from now — no steps would likely be taken to fill Anderson’s vacant seat on the council.
“It’s something you can wait for until the first of the year,” he said. “(Anyone who filled the seat) would just have a couple of months.”
The council seats six individuals. With Anderson in the race, there had been seven candidates vying for those six spots. Now, however, it becomes elementary that everyone who has filed will join the council in January, making any votes “complimentary,” noted Dobbs.
Only three incumbents had even filed for re-election: Anderson, Linda Hughes, and Anthony DePrato. That number will now be two, joining fellow candidates Malissa Thacker, Pammela Sue Cordell, John Westberry, and Sandy Pitman as being ushered onto the council.
Anderson suffered from health problems even while on the council which ultimately contributed to her passing. According to Pulaski County Coroner Larry Godbey, the cause of death was renal failure, along with complications from other physical ailments.
“Despite her illnesses, she loved trying to better the quality of life for residents here in Ferguson,” said Dobbs.
In October 2007, before she was on the council Anderson submitted a letter concerning what was a hot-button issue in the area at that time — the possible dissolution of the city and absorption into the county government’s purview. The letter supported Ferguson’s staying intact, arguing that the city would receive inferior services in the county, and provided numerous facts and figures to back that up. Even at that time, Anderson was fighting for her hometown to remain strong.
“Pulaski County has one magistrate for our area (and) although he is doing a fine job, he represents approximately 12,540 citizens and approximately 275 road miles,” she wrote. “We now have a mayor and six council members, who serve at considerable sacrifice, to represent 900 citizens. We need our representatives for the city.”
Anderson then went and backed up those words by filing for election to the council at the next opportunity.
Visitation for Nora will be Monday, October 22 from 5-9 p.m. at the chapel of Somerset Undertaking Co. and on Tuesday from 12-2 p.m. at High Street Baptist Church.
A celebration honoring the life of Nora will be held Tuesday, October 23 at 2 p.m. at High Street Baptist Church with Rev. Ed Amundson officiating.
A complete obituary can be seen on page A3 of this edition.
Dobbs said that Anderson’s passing was a “shock to everybody,” and that she will be missed by those who knew her.
“(Anderson) was all for trying to make things better for the future,” said Dobbs. “The governing body of the City of Ferguson will miss her, and the people of Ferguson will miss her.”