B Mark Anderson, My Hero, My Dad

B Mark Anderson

B Mark Anderson, M. Div


“B Mark Anderson, My Hero, My Dad” is a guest post submitted by John Erik Anderson. John Erik Anderson is an officer in the U.S. Army and a veteran of the Afghan war.


For as long as I can remember, my family has had the Thanksgiving tradition that each of us dress up as a mysterious character to act out while we sit down for our evening feast.


A lot of thought goes into to the characters we choose, ranging from historical or fictitious figures to the purely abstract. One memorable year comes to mind when my mother portrayed Agatha Christie’s Hercules Periot, while my sister Sarah played Lt. Col. George Custer, dressed as a cavalry officer with a music stand. She had to explain the prop as her “last stand” before we finally guessed who she was.

Who I’m Most Thankful for: My Father, B Mark Anderson

But this year when I come home after three years of serving in Germany and Afghanistan, choosing my character is easy. I’m going to be the man I’m most thankful for: My father, B Mark Anderson of Muscatine.

B Mark Anderson: No Stranger to Near-Death Experiences

Over his 70 plus years of vibrant life, Dad has been no stranger to near-death experiences and truly embodies the meaning of the word “survivor.” This is why when he told me last October that he was diagnosed with a severe form of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (a cancer of the lymph tissue), that he was going to fight to survive just like every other time in his life.

With a biography that reads like a character out of a Wes Anderson film, by the age of two my dad had survived hernia surgery, a severe fall from a barn, and was nearly trampled to death by a loose team of horses. As a senior in high school, he contracted blood poisoning and still has the scars to prove it. As a track star at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., he survived a serious bout of Typhoid fever that nearly killed him.

While working on bridge construction over the turbulent Clackamas River in northwestern Oregon, he was nearly drowned by summer rapids. After college, Dad volunteered as a missionary in Mexico where he miraculously walked away unscathed from a violent plane crash.

Upon moving to Muscatine and having seven children with my mom Kari, calamity still followed him. The infamous floods of 1993 very nearly destroyed our home that he had built near the Mississippi, and was forced to move. A few years later a violent tornado ripped through our farm and damaged much of the house.

B Mark Anderson Fights Cancer

Then in October 2012 he was diagnosed with cancer, yet never once gave up his will to fight and survive. Despite this crippling illness, my dad is a man that takes every breath of fresh air from God as a gift, and makes the most of it. He remains as active as he can, speaking and writing whenever possible and even publishing his own book on early Christian churches and apostles. (Grab a copy of Local Churches Global Apostles. It’s an inspirational read and tells you (almost) everything you ever wanted to know about churches and apostles–both early Christian and modern day.)

B Mark Anderson, My Hero and My Dad, Never Buckles

When so many others choose to give up, my dad stays in the fight. Be it blood poisoning, a natural disaster, plane crash, or even the painful destruction of cancer, Dad has stood firm. Never buckling, never taking the easy road, and never forgetting those less fortunate.

Despite the terrible ravages of chemical therapy that twists one beyond recognition, nothing will ever change my vision of Dad as a fighter, tall and lanky with sharp eyes and perfect silvery hair out chopping firewood in the rain.

He will always be my hero, and for that I am thankful. Learn more about my Dad–go to Who is this B Mark Anderson anyway?

This guest post first appeared in the Muscatine Journal.

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