In Memory of
U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant
Leon Gilmore Anderson
Brookings, South Dakota
Brookings County
Unknown – July 31, 1944
Perished in Action, France

Leon Gilmore Anderson

Leon Gilmore Anderson was born in Hazel Run, Minnesota.  He attended Hazel Run High School where after graduation he attended State College, now called South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota.  While at college, he participated in football during the years of 1939, 1940, and 1941.  In 1941 the North Central Conference named Anderson an honorary captain and an All Conference guard.  While also assisting with various programs in the physical education department, he took part in boxing where he earned the title of heavyweight boxing champion.  Other activities he took part in were Blue Key Honorary Fraternity, Scrabbard and Blade, Monogram Club, and Agriculture Club.  Leon also held the position of secretary/treasurer of the officer’s mess.  Anderson met his soon-to-be wife, Vivian Ray, while attending college.  They married in Iowa in late November, 1941.  He graduated from the school of Agriculture at State College in May of 1942.    

Leon entered the military as Second Lieutenant in State College’s ROTC program.  He traveled overseas to England for one year and to France for three more weeks, where he participated in battles and engagements.  While in the service he held ranks of Second Lieutenant and Officer in the infantry.  Leon perished in action on July 31, 1944 and his wife Vivian Ray received word on August 20, 1944 from the War Department.  The family buried him at Hazel Run, Minnesota, on Sunday, September 27, 1944 at 2:30 p.m.  They held a Lutheran service.

The military service awarded posthumously the Purple Heart medal and scroll for his wounds received in action at France resulting in his death.  The names of survivors at the time of Leon’s death were his wife Vivian Ray, and his parents Mr. And Mrs. G.M. Anderson. 

As of 2002, Vivian Ray Distad lives in Brookings, South Dakota.  “He was an ambitious athlete and scholar,” she said of her former husband. 

This information was respectfully submitted by Jenna Creighton, seventh grade, Mickelson Middle School, Brookings, SD, May 2002.  Information for this entry was provided by Vivian Ray Distad, former wife of Leon Anderson, of Brookings, South Dakota.  Brookings Register 8/23/44.