In memoriam: J. K. Anderson (Jan. 3, 1924 – Oct. 13, 2015)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Department is saddened to report the death last week of Emeritus Professor J. K. Anderson, a beloved teacher and scholar who came to Berkeley almost 60 years ago. His former student Chris Simon has compiled the following notice, which he has kindly consented that we reprint here.

In memoriam:  John Kinloch (“Jock”) Anderson (January 3, 1924 – October 13, 2015)

Professor John Kinloch (“Jock”) Anderson passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 13 at the age of 91.

Jock Anderson was Professor of Classical Archaeology at UC Berkeley where he was a beloved mentor to many generations of students.  His remarkable generosity of spirit, humanity, and kindness were unstinting to all who knew him, and he enriched all his friends, colleagues and students with his unique knowledge of English, Scottish and Greek poetry, enormous amounts of which he could recite accurately from his astonishing memory.  His deep knowledge of archaeology, history, literature and scholarship was prodigious.   He and his wife Esperance provided much nourishment (literal and spiritual) to all those who visited their charming house and garden in the Berkeley Hills near Tilden Park.

Jock was born in the Punjab.   He was born late, nearly three weeks after the due date, and his mother’s ayah tried to reassure Jock’s mother by saying “There was once a very wise man who decided not to be born for a hundred years.  This will be a very wise child.”

Jock was educated at Trinity College, Glenalmond (now Glenalmond College) in Scotland, and at Christ Church, Oxford.  During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Highland Regiment (the "Black Watch") and took part in the campaign in South-East Asia, providing vital service in intelligence.  After participating in major excavations in Greece and Turkey, he began his teaching career at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1953.  It was in New Zealand that he met his future wife, Esperance, who was to be a cherished companion to him until her death in 2000.  The Andersons moved to Berkeley in 1958 where he spent the rest of his distinguished career. 

Jock published major works on ancient horsemanship, military theory and practice, ancient hunting, and on the soldier and historian Xenophon.   In addition to numerous scholarly articles, he also wrote in the 1990s, with the illustrator Nancy Conkle, several charming children’s coloring books on different aspects of the ancient world.   His teaching attracted a very large number of students, especially for his popular introductory undergraduate lecture course on Classical Archaeology.  Jock was known for settling down in his home, without a teaching assistant, to grade well over a hundred blue books for this class.   As in everything else, Jock was very kind in his grading and always eager to encourage and help his students.  He also individually helped many graduate students master their Greek and Latin, and, as curator of the Lowie Museum (now the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology), shared his expert knowledge of ancient art with countless students.  Jock was a founding member and key contributor to Berkeley’s very successful Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology (AHMA).

He was a well-known and well-respected figure on campus, remembered by many for the witty minutes in verse he composed for a faculty dining club to which he belonged.   He was also a loyal member for many years of the Berkeley Greek Club.   He and his late colleague and dear friend, the Classical archaeologist Professor Crawford H. Greenewalt Jr. ("Greenie"), both provided a wonderful example of how a kind and humble approach could happily coexist alongside first rate scholarship.

Jock was notable for his keen interest in the world around him.  He served for many years as a docent at the Tilden Botanical Garden, and possessed a wealth of information on the flora and fauna of California.   He and Esperance put immense energy into conservation and improvement efforts in the Berkeley Hills and Regional Parks.  They were enthusiastic bird watchers.  Jock was an excellent equestrian throughout his life, winning many prizes in local horse races in his younger years, and sharing his love of horses with his family and many of his friends.  He and Esperance were also deeply attached to their dogs.   Jock’s regular trips with family and friends to the Rodeo at the Cow Palace, and to the Christmas banquets at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club, will be remembered fondly by all those lucky enough to have accompanied him.  He fully embraced the culture of California while maintaining an extremely strong love of Scotland where he spent much of his childhood and where many of his relatives still live.   He had an enduring fondness for bagpipes, Kipling, and Gilbert and Sullivan. The strong influence of his early years in the Punjab was also apparent.  His children remember his particular love of elephants and Jock’s ability to inspire the elephants at the zoo to make a salaam.  

He and his late wife Esperance were dearly loved by family, colleagues, students and friends.  Professor Anderson, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, is survived by his three children, Elizabeth (and husband Kim Abbott), Katherine Mary (and husband John Schaaf), and John (and wife Karen) and by five grandchildren, a great-granddaughter, and his beloved dog Isla.

--- Christopher Simon, PhD Classical Archaeology, UC Berkeley, 1986