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Robert Bernard Anderson Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Robert Bernard Anderson passes away in 1989.

Robert Bernard Anderson was an American administrator and businessman.

Anderson was born in Burleson, Texas. He would briefly work as a high school teacher before attending the University of Texas Law School in 1932.

In 1933, Anderson would become the Assistant Attorney General for Texas. He would leave the position a year later to become the State of Texas Tax Commissioner.

In 1939, Anderson and some business associates would purchase KTBC a radio station in Texas. When the FCC would not allow them to increase their power output, Anderson and his partners would sell the station to Lady Bird Johnson in 1943.

In 1953, Anderson would become the Secretary of the Navy under President Eisenhower. Eisenhower thought very highly of Anderson. Anderson would become one of Eisenhower's closest confidants. During his time as Secretary of the Navy, Anderson would end the remaining formal vestiges of segregation in the Navy. In 1954, he would leave the position of Secretary of Navy to become Deputy Secretary of Defense.

In 1956, Eisenhower tried to get Vice President Nixon to leave the Vice President position to become Secretary of Defense. Eisenhower did this with the hope that he would be able to add Anderson as his vice president in the next election. In 1960, Eisenhower knew that Nixon had the Republican nomination, despite this fact, Eisenhower encouraged Anderson to run against Nixon. Anderson refused.

From 1957 to January of 1961, Anderson served as the Secretary of the Treasury. As Secretary of the Treasury Anderson helped to create the International Development Association which gives grants and loans to poor and under-developed countries.

In the 1960's Anderson would not hold any official offices. He would carry out diplomatic missions for President Lyndon Johnson. He would also be appointed as a special Ambassador to Panama during the Panama canal negotiations.

Unfortunately the remainder of Anderson's life was filled with personal and professional problems. He would hospitalized for alcoholism several times. In the 1980's a bank he was running had an illegal branch in New York. It was also found to have been laundering money for drug traffickers. In 1987, Anderson would plead guilty to violations of banking laws and tax evasion. He was sentenced to prison. Upon Anderson's disbarment, the Supreme Court of New York Appellate division said "a sad but we think necessary end to the legal career of one who has in times less beclouded by poor and corrupt judgment served his country in high office as Secretary of Treasury, Deputy Secretary of the Navy and as Special Ambassador to Panama during the Panama Canal negotiations."

Anderson would pass away on August 14th, 1989 after surgery for throat cancer.

Anderson was a member of Vernon Lodge No. 655 in Vernon, Texas.