In Loving Memory of Harold Anderson. Click here to view services held for Harold Anderson on March 13, 2022.
A celebration of Harold’s life will be held on Sunday, March 13, 2022, at Heritage Funeral Home, 4800 S. 84th St., Greenfield, WI from 2 to 5 p.m. “Shared Memories of Harold” to take place at 3:00 p.m.
Private family burial on March 14th at Arlington Cemetery in Greenfield.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation https://www.cff.org/donate will be appreciated.
Age 93 (1928-2022)
Harold Leo Anderson, a Milwaukee entrepreneur in the printing business, born August 3, 1928, died at his home on February 26, 2022. Born in Milwaukee to Elsie (Henning) and Harry Anderson, he was educated at Eugene Field Grade School, Boy’s Technical High School, South Division High School, and Marquette University. He met his future wife Esther Folaron in Dixie’s restaurant when she waited on him and his basketball friends. He recalled that she was impressed by his wit. In 1952, he and Esther, by then a schoolteacher, married and raised a family of five children.
He had difficult circumstances early in life, growing up during the Great Depression with his father spending much of Harold’s childhood and teen years in the VA hospital. However, he never saw it that way. Throughout his life he rarely complained about any person or problem, always grateful for everything he had. He was the first in his family to go to college, graduating from Marquette University School of Journalism in 1953. After graduation he worked at Allis Chalmers Manufacturing Company, first in a job starting and editing a company newsletter, and then running a new printing department.
Despite his parents’ and in-laws’ misgivings, in 1956 he founded a printing company (later Anderson Graphics), being one of the first to utilize a new paper plate technology to offer instant offset printing. The company later became a full-service printer, providing four-color sheet fed printing, bindery, and typesetting. Starting out as a small storefront on East Lincoln Avenue, the company grew and moved several times to larger locations. Harold relocated the company to downtown Milwaukee in 1960, bought a building in 1968, built a new plant in 1980 at 521 North 8th Street and a second, larger one in 1990 at 254 N. Emmber Lane.
The company was truly a family business. His wife worked there, as did all his children at one time or another, along with other relatives and dozens of loyal non-family members. Harold and Esther were very generous, donating printing to needy groups and individuals and helping those in need. The company was profiled in a 1984 Business Journal article entitled, “Anderson Graphics Offers Quality, Humor, Caring,” which summed up Harold and Esther’s philosophy.
Harold’s sense of humor was legendary and is reflected in the many joke-filled cards, notes, lists, posters and emails he created. In high school he created a fictional character named “Hoagy Sobocowicz” and penned playful jokes, stories and comments about him. The name was on one of his “classic joke” business cards that also said, “no phone, no address, no business, no worries, no money, no prospects.” Over the last several years he used the Hoagy pseudonym in a monthly humorous group email titled “Hoagie Sobocowicz Musings and Observations.” Harold closed his business as he neared 80 but continued his humorous traditions in his Christmas cards and emails until the end.
Words that describe him: kind; loving; whip-smart; funny; unpretentious; family man; entrepreneur; true gentleman; graceful until his last day. He was a gentle soul with such a positive attitude that kept him going for so many years. His children could not ask for a better role model. He will be so sorely missed. Now he lives in our hearts.
He leaves behind five children, Julie (Bruce) Buchanan, Nancy (Randy) Wenzen, Kathy Anderson (Doug Parker), Tom Anderson, and Laurie (Mike) Calbaum, nine grandchildren, Ryan Wenzen, Lindsey (Dan) Rohde, Rebecca Buchanan, Emily Calbaum, Alyssa Parker, Jacob Calbaum, Andrew Buchanan, Olivia Parker, Sarah Calbaum, and three great-grandchildren, Abby, Mia, and Evelyn Rohde. He is predeceased by his wife Esther, his parents, his sister Dorothy Reinke, and brother Robert Wagner.
Harold wrote his own obituary for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He even allowed his children to comment in his newspaper obituary, but he warned them that if they said anything about him, to “just remember, this is a family newspaper.” The following are Harold’s words:
“I AM DEAD!
Reports of my death are not greatly exaggerated. They are not exaggerated at all. So, please get on with your life but know this about me: I was born in 1928; educated in Milwaukee at Eugene Field Grade School, Boy’s Technical High School, South Division High School and Marquette University. I married Esther Folaron on Thanksgiving Day, 1952. We had four girls, one boy and a female dog named Rover. Esther passed away in the year 2000 and I missed her. Rover passed away before that and I missed her too but not as much as my wife. In 1956 Esther and I started a printing business. Anderson Graphics lasted 51 years. Six years after my wife died, I met Terry Hodach. She was my friend and companion for six years until she passed away. My sister, Dorothy Reinke, and my brother, Robert Wagner, passed away before I did. That’s the story of my life and it’s been fun. Lesson to be learned: Whatever you do, have fun. Let’s hear it for Dr. Steven Port who kept me alive all those extra years.”
Harold was a fabulous father to his five children and also a great family patriarch. He led with quiet compassion and wisdom. Having known him and to be part of his family for 37 years is a treasure for me. His impact will long be felt.
Julie, I never met your father but his personal obituary tells me I would have gotten along just great with him a true character until the end.
Julie, Bruce, Andrew and Rebecca –
What a blessing to have your father and grandfather for 93 years! Prayers to your whole family and may his memory continue to be a blessing.
We did not know Harold Anderson, but his unique obituary caught our eye in the newspaper. Harold clearly made this world a far better place while he was in it, doing as much good as he could in ever endeavor.
His children were so fortunate to have been influenced by such a positive role model, After reading this on-line obituary, it is clear to realize that his “stories” will continue to live on in the hearts he leaves behind.
Yet, his loss is incalculable and the empty spaces he used to fill are so quiet. We are very sorry for your loss – may love surround you all in the days and weeks to come.
Julie, Bruce, Andrew and Rebecca, I was touched by the words in the obituary “now he lives in our hearts”. I know that the heart keeps your love and the mind holds the memories. I am deeply sorry for your loss and wish you peace. Amazing on how this quote matches your patriarch’s life:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
What a beautiful and unique obituary. Thanks for sharing and God bless. Wishing you all the best,
Julie, I am sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing., I know he appreciates all you did for him. Even though he lived a long life, it is never easy to lose someone so close.. However, after reading the family obituary and his own, I am sure that when you think of him in the future, a big smile will be on your face.. He was clearly a special person.
You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Please accept our condolences.
I never met Harold but after reading his obituary in the paper, I wish I had.
What a wonderful fun human being the world has lost.
I know I don’t have to tell this, but you all were very lucky to have had him in your lives.
I would have loved to have been that lucky.
I hope your memories of all those funny times spent with him help you through the days ahead without him.
I want to send my condolences on your fathers passing.
Although we have never meet, I think his obit in the paper was the best I’ve ever read.
My father passed 3 years ago, but was also born in 1928, went to Boys tech, and had many other family members attend South Division.
I’ m sure their paths crossed in the years.
The sense of humor in your dad’s obit only makes me sure of this.
HAROLD & Esther were treasured customers of mine for all the years I worked at Meyer’s restaurant & Bar. They started our infamous poker game at the bar back in 1987 and it still continues today.. He is truly a Royal Flush to me.. Harold’s humor entertained all who met him and for that he will never be forgotten.. While his earthly game has ended, his heavenly one has just begun. Let the games begin,Harold, and remember to save me a spot.
We were so lucky to be counted as friends of the Anderson Graphics family – and to be recipients of the comical Hoagy Sobocowicz emails – and to be able to smile at Harold’s funny, charming and life-affirming self-penned obituary! He started out with “I’M DEAD!” And finished with “Whatever you do – have fun”
Only you, Harold – can make us smile even as you leave this world!
To the kids – our condolences – thank you for sharing you Dad with us. He was one of a kind and we will never forget him. He sprinkled joy and happiness wherever he went.
Lisa and Max Hoelzl
My dad was my hero. Kind. Loving. Whip-smart. Funny. Unpretentious. Family man. Entrepreneur. True gentleman. Graceful until his last day. No one could ask for a better role model. He will be so sorely missed. He lives in my heart
So wish I could have met your Dad. How lucky you were to have him in your lives for so long. My very sincerest sympathy.
Truly fitting that your Dad penned his own magnificent parting tale, Julie. Please accept our condolences, and our prayer that our Lord Jesus bless you and the entire Anderson Clan with abundant peace and comfort, with unending cherished memories of this great man. God bless you all, always.
Julie, so sorry for your loss of your dad. It’s just been 4 years since I lost my dad and each day I still think of him and the lessons he taught by example. Your dad sounded like a great man who knew how to love life and his family. Special thoughts to you and Bruce and your family. Bob and Leesa Smith.
To the Anderson Family I am sorry for your loss. As I get on in my year’s I check the obituaries a few times a week. I didn’t know Mr. Anderson but his obit caught my eye so I continued to read. What a delight, unique and heart warming. It inspired me. Your father truly had a passion for living and passing on his goodness even to those who did not know him.. I wish the family peace.
He was my Uncle Harold. I was part of the earlier days of the family business print shop, working part time through high school and college. Hours set to help meet the company’s needs, but my schooling always came first with him. One summer business was painfully slow. No one was laid off, no one’s hours were cut. We did busy work while Harold took no salary (as I learned years later). And he the father of five. One act of kindness in a rich, full life of them.
I worked for Harold for 21 years. The company he created was that great of a place to be employed. Harold was very fair and was always the voice of reason. He was also not one to let a good pun go unspoken. I frequently tried to beat him to the punch. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I did not. Harold was a lucky man since he had the love and respect of his family, both immediate and extended.
Julie, Kathy & family – so sorry to hear about your father – what wonderful memories you must all have. Thoughts your way, Sue and Shawn Spence.
I had the good fortune of working for Harold & Esther for almost 25 years.. As a couple I never saw 2 people compliment each other so well as those two did.
As Paul G. wrote, ” he never let a good pun go unspoken”. So true!
I always looked forward to his Christmas cards. With his last card being his best, IMHO.
I also miss talking Packer football with the H-bomb as we affectionately call Harold. From Monday morning quarterbacking to guessing the draft picks picking the long shots to make the team. Even after the close of AG we still sent Emails on the subject.
Speaking of Emails, Lisa mentioned his Hoagy Sobocowicz Emails, sometimes good sometimes real groaners but always something to look forward to.
Harold, you will be missed !
I could not have asked for a better father. He was loving, patient, kind, funny and always there for us. His wonderfully positive attitude kept him going all these years. He wanted his legacy to his children and grandchildren to be a sense of humor, which served him – and others – well during his lifetime. He will be so dearly missed.
Julie, I am so sorry for your loss. Both of your parents were very special and engaging people, even to a newcomer to life in Milwaukee. You are lucky to have had such clever and energetic role models growing up and their best traits most certainly have been passed on to their lineage through you and Bruce.
Harold was my Uncle, and as a kid I was excited when I got to go to the “shop” and help with a big rush printing job – collating by hand (boy am I old)! I didn’t get exposed to Harold’s sharp wit and humor until much later. I still have posters, business cards and Christmas cards of the family and the creative Christmas cards he sent in recent years. I’ll miss the “Hoagy Sobocowicz” monthly emails! He was still sharp as a tack!
Dear Harold – I know you are gone, but I know you can see these words up above. What an important person you were to so many people, family and friends. Your generation had some of the most incredibly wholesome, honest and hard working folks. May we always honor them, and continuously strive to live by their morals and standards that they taught us through their constant love and support. Anderson Graphics was a cornerstone for the Shanovich family. I cherish all the stories and remember when you and Esther picked up my Mom, Arlene for work and she sat in the back with Rover. May peace be upon you always and your family too. I will miss your kindness. I pray for all the angels up above, that look down upon us with their sweet love. God Bless you forevermore. Gail Johanson
Dear Julie, What a delight to see the family pictures and to celebrate the long and significant life of your father. Thanks to Bruce for passing along the link to the obituary. I have a feeling that might be you playing the piano? I have enjoyed hearing about your family and applaud your diligence in maintaining the travel these past few years. His own words reflect satisfaction with a life well lived and collection of photographs confirm it. Debby Thomas