This morning (Sept. 20, 2010) I am flying to PA for my father-in-law's (Harry Rudolph Anderson's) funeral. He was 93 years old. As I have been packing there are so many memories going through my mind. Jim and I have been married for almost 31 years which means I knew Rudy Anderson for about 33 years give or take a few months. That doesn't mean I haven't always known who he was because he and his partner, Jim Eicher were known as the local builders who helped build Fallingwater in Mill Run, PA and also built so many of the prettiest homes in our little boro. I remember when they built a friend's house. I watched that house go up day by day all the while being in awe of how quickly they worked and how nice everything was. When the house was done.....well, let's just say I was hoping someday I would have enough money for them to build me a house, too! So I have admired Rudy for many, many years.
For 31 years Jim and I usually stayed in his (and Grace's) home on our yearly trip to PA. and he was always generous and gracious. We have played a lot of cards around the kitchen table on Smith Ave. and had many conversations about "the old days". Rudy had a fantastic memory for events and it always amazed me at the detail with which he could talk about his childhood. His stories of working on Falling Water and the problems they overcame in this endeavor are priceless. The PA Conservancy loved it when Rudy would come and talk to those people touring Fallingwater. I especially loved his telling when he and his partner, Jim Eicher drove west to Taliesan to visit with maverick architect, Frank Lloyd Wright and to see the school he had there. His first hand and detailed observations and insight are unmatched.
In the last few years it has been a tough thing to see someone who was always so busy and loved to work as much as he did get to a point where he was unable to do what he loved the very most. So today I am happy for Rudy because he now has a new body and is able to walk unassisted and wield a hammer and saw like he did when he was 25 years old.
So let me just end by saying I have always felt blessed to have Rudy Anderson as my father-in-law and I am praying the Lord has a wing he needs added for Rudy is just the man for the job!
Daughter and primary caregiver, Darlene giving a tribute to Rudy during his 90th party.