I was asked to write an article about Dr. John A. Anderson, Sr., one of two men who said “yes” to stepping up in November 1970 to co-create The Pankey Institute. As I put together a timeline of his life, I noticed the import of his early life experiences, many of which commonly shape a person’s Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.
These qualities are often found in boundary pushers, leaders, and dentists committed to continuing their education throughout their lives. They do so while folding their learning back into their practice of dentistry for the benefit of others.
I first met Dr. Anderson in December 1956 when he and his family were visiting cousins. They attended a Christmas choral concert at our church in Hinsdale, IL. I was a freshman in high school at the time.
As I was introduced, I can remember his handshake and warm greeting. When he heard I wanted to be a dentist and go to Northwestern University Dental School, his words were very encouraging.
Life Experiences That Shaped Dr. Anderson’s Life
Dr. Anderson was born November 18, 1919 in Wonju, Korea. His parents Dr. A. G. and Hattie Anderson were medical missionaries – Hattie had a teaching degree. John’s schooling occurred at Pyongyang Academy in Korea.
John was sent to the USA to continue his education with two years at Baldwin-Wallace College, OH. In the fall of 1938 he entered Northwestern University Dental School (NUDS). He then graduated three years later in 1941.
John became a Clinical Instructor at NUDS from the summer of ’41 to the summer of ’42. After marrying his wife Eleanor in ’42, he was commissioned in the Army Air Corps, Dental Division and sent to India. After returning from India, where he contracted malaria, John recovered and was released from active duty.
He opened his first practice on N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL in 1945. His uncle was a dentist in the area of Chicago called “Andersonville” due to the large population of Swedish immigrants.
While he and Eleanor lived in Andersonville they had three children: Denise ’47, Jay ’49, and Jill ’53.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 in this story of a Pankey founder …