Rolla was the son of Clara Ann and William H. Anderson, who preceded him in death. He was the last born of seven children, who have all preceded him in death. His siblings were Hazel, Estella, John, Vinetta, Harold, Glen and two nephews, Donald Anderson and Gale Davis, who were like brothers. He was loved by and married to Patricia J. Woodman for 65 years until her death on March, 15, 2010
Rolla has three daughters who survive: Julie Ann Paulsen (Donald), Susan Jane Van Dis (William), and Mary Jane Pickell ( John, III). He has seven grandchildren who survive him: Jill Elizabeth Paulsen Fitch (Warne), Bradley Scott Paulsen (Jaime), Mark Andrew Paulsen (Jacquelyn), Andrew William Van Dis ( Emily), Daniel Anderson Van Dis ( Lindsey), John Middleton Pickell, IV ( Stefanie), Jeffrey Anderson Pickell. Rolla and Patricia's beloved grandson, James Underwood Pickell preceded Rolla in death. Rolla and Patricia have 16 great grandchildren.
Rolla was a graduate of Mt. Vernon High School in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. He attended Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi and South East Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. His enlistment in the Marines during World War II precipitated his move to Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan where he received his BS degree. He received his Master Degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Rolla began his teaching and coaching career at Marshall High School in 1945. He coached and taught at Lakeview High School, Battle Creek, Michigan for six years, starting in 1946. Two of the football teams he coached there had undefeated seasons. In 1953, Rolla began his career at Kalamazoo College. He served as a coach, Director of Athletics and Chairman of the Physical Education Department for thirty two years. Kalamazoo College had an undefeated football team and two conference championships during his tenure as football coach. The teams he coached in tennis, golf, and cross country were each conference champions. During Rolla's tenure as Director of Athletics, Kalamazoo College won nine all sports trophies.
Rolla was inducted into seven Hall of Fames: Kalamazoo College, Western Michigan University, Southeast Missouri State University ( member and captain of the 1943 National Championship Basketball team), Lakeview High School, The NCAA Tennis College Hall of Fame, The International Tennis Hall of Fame, and Mt. Vernon High School. He was awarded a Distinguished Service honor at SE Missouri and honored as a Distinguished Alumni at Mt. Vernon High School. Rolla was elected to the Western Michigan University Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation Alumni Honor Academy.
Rolla was named 1950 Michigan High School Coach of the year during his tenure at Battle Creek Lakeview High School. He received the Michigan College Football Coach of the year in 1962. Rolla served two years as a member of the Executive Committee of the United States Tennis Association. He served as Chairman of the NCAA Tennis Committee. The Athletic Center at Kalamazoo College was named in his honor in 1980.
Rolla was active in the affairs of the community and his church. He was a 65 year member at First Baptist Church serving on many committees there. He was a fifty year member of the Kiwanis Club, serving as its President in 1962-1963. He was the President of the Constance Brown Speech and Hearing Center. Rolla was involved in the United States Tennis Association and served as President of the Midwest Tennis Association. He was the Chairman of the USTA Junior Tennis Programs and served as Director of the USTA Junior Championships for 34 years.
Lastly and most importantly he was a wonderful son, brother, uncle, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend. His legacy of love along with Patricia's will be greatly missed.
In accordance with Rolla's wishes, he has been cremated. He will be buried along with Patricia at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta, Michigan. His Memorial Service will be held at Stetson Chapel on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 10:30am. Visitation will be held after the Memorial Service. In lieu of flowers gifts may be made to Kalamazoo College, The Rolla and Patricia Anderson Athletic Endowment Fund. Arrangements by Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Westside Chapel.
Rolla and Patricia Anderson Athletic Endowment Fund
Office of Advancement
1200 Academy Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006 https://www.kzoo.edu/onlinegiving
MAY 5. 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
1200 Academy St.
Kalamazoo, MI, US, 49006