R. G. LeTourneau has made a huge impression on Howard Anderson's life. It all started with an address by LeTourneau's founder in Chicago more than 50 years ago that led a young Anderson to Longview, Texas to pursue his education. "R.G just spoke from the heart," Howard recalled. "I liked the way he connected the Lord to his own work. He told us how he gave 90 percent (of his earnings and company common stock) to the Lord through the foundation he created, and lived off 10 percent." His foundation was designed to sponsor religious, missionary and educational works.
That address eventually led a young Howard to pack his bags and head south to East Texas. Once at LeTourneau University, Howard met his New York roommate, Fred Holmes (1954 LeTourneau graduate), a friend with whom he still keeps in touch more than five decades later. "I really liked the mix of class time and work experience" Howard said. "Combined with spiritual emphasis, it was a good foundation for my future career." In the 1950s, students rotated a schedule of attending classes one day, then working at the LeTourneau plant the next day. In November 1951, Howard broke his leg in a severe car accident. His recovery was aided by "Mom and Pop" LeTourneau, who welcomed the young man into their home. The LeTourneau's home was a place where students who were sick or injured could stay while they recuperated under "Mom" LeTourneau's loving care. She cooked for her guests, and meals were marked with short appearances from R. G., who would stop to eat, then rush back to work at the plant. Howard stayed at the LeTourneau's for about a week until he was well enough to return to his residence hall. Howard spent two years at LeTourneau University, graduating in 1952.
Howard Anderson's engineering career spanned 45 years, the last 41 spent at Axelson Inc. in Longview, where he retired in 1997. Since then he's kept busy in the local Longview community and in his church, where he sings in the choir. He volunteers as a docent once a week at the Kilgore oil museum and directs music weekly at a local nursing home. The two years he spent at LeTourneau University provided Howard with great memories, lasting friendships and a solid foundation for his future. He and his wife Betty have contributed generously to the S. E. Belcher, Jr. Chapel and Performance Center project and Howard has included LeTourneau University in his estate plans by naming the University as a beneficiary in his will. He encourages others, especially alumni like him to do the same so the university will continue to grow and provide a quality education in a Christian environment.
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