Jack Carter Anderson

March 5, 1936September 28, 2020

A pioneer in Seattle’s Gay community has died. Jack Anderson, 84, came to Seattle as a psychologist specializing in juvenile justice and became an advocate for the gay community. He was one of the first counselors for Seattle LGBTQ community at a time when homosexuality was a crime and being openly gay meant being considered mentally ill. Mr. Anderson also wrote the first Seattle advice column for gays which was later nationally syndicated.

While serving on the board of the Dorian Group, an early but effective gay organization in Seattle and Washington State, Mr. Anderson also became involved with a group that eventually hired a lobbyist to work on the decriminalization of homosexuality, which succeeded in 1976. He worked throughout his remaining life to improve the acceptance and understanding of his community.

When, in 1983, Mr. Anderson learned of the severity of the HIV/AIDS crisis he immediately got to work. He called people together and, through the Dorian Group, sponsored a first-of-its-kind public presentation of the epidemic at the Mayflower Hotel, which was well attended. Then he marshaled doctors, nurses, and administrators to understand the crisis and create plans. He provided consultation services to the King County AIDS Prevention Project for many years, all the while losing some of his own friends to the crisis. He organized groups, workshops and appeared on radio and television to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“Jack was one of the most important influencers in the years of gay rights, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the expansion of the legal rights of all LGBTTQ people. His friendship was a powerful rudder in the many years of journeying with him.” ~Rev. Michael Ingersoll

Jack Anderson was born in Dallas, Texas, during a time when he knew he was different, but, “You just couldn’t be gay in Texas back then,” he said. At 24, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an accomplished jazz musician. At the same time, he earned a Masters Degree in psychology at Pepperdine University. This, while working full-time as a band leader, providing live music for a children’s television show. He later used his training to pioneer in therapy treatments for young patients being held in juvenile detention in Orange County, CA. He became an expert in that field and was recruited to work in Seattle as State Director for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for Washington State. “I felt like I was doing some good on a larger scale,” he said recently.

After his long career in Seattle in psychology and gay activism, Mr. Anderson became a real estate investor who worked with the Country Doctor to buy one of his buildings for expansion of their Dental Clinic, serving a low income population. Recently, he reflected, “I felt good about how this real estate deal benefitted marginalized lower-income residents in the community.”

Mr. Anderson resided at Horizon House and leaves behind many friends who will miss him. His younger sister Jann said, “I found Jack to be one of the sweetest, most wonderful people I’ve ever known.” His sister Jill said, “Jack was a loving, protective brother with a sense of mischief and a quirky sense of humor. After moving to Horizon House, he called me on Skype nearly every day and treated me to either a comedy routine featuring Reverend Raymond and Nurse Gladys or a private concert on the keyboard. When he could no longer use Skype, we talked on the phone every day. I will miss the times we had together."

Music played an important role throughout Jack’s life but it went on hiatus for several years until his later years when music played a central role in his life once again. In addition to giving him a real sense of purpose and bringing him a lot of joy, he relished playing for his neighbors and his friends, culminating in recording the beautiful CD “My Romance” as a gift for his friends. “Jack’s music has been a continuing thread throughout his life, giving him meaning, purpose, and a deepened way to connect with others.”

On behalf of his entire family, his sister Jill added, “I want to thank his loving, supportive friends for their care during his final days. A special thanks to Horizon House and Hospice for their excellent care.”

Jack formed many friendships in his life. Michael Ingersoll, John Chaney, Doug Shaw and Stephen Phillips formed Jack’s “Twilight Team” to help jack in his final months in Hospice. The Team wishes to thank everyone at Horizon House and especially Bret Lucero his Hospice nurse who with the Supported Living staff made his end calm and gentle. “We helped Jack as a small repayment for Jack’s help to so many in his caring life” ~The Twilight Team.

Memorial Remembrances may be directed to the Horizon House Residents Assistance Fund, Lifelong or a charity of your choice.

Click on the following link to read a wonderful article about Jack published in the Seattle Times:


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Jack Carter Anderson

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