At Cobb’s Hill, a tree, a plaque and fifty years after the death of Shirley Louise Anderson

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Off Culver Road

Lovers of Cobb’s Hill know there are always discoveries to be found.  (See full series, Adding Audrey to the Cobb’s Hill Series)

Recently, on the Culver Road side of the park, I saw for the first time a plaque memorializing Shirley L. Anderson, who fifty years ago, was killed along the Israel-Jordan cease fire line. In October 1969, Monroe County sponsored a Memorial Crisom Maple tree.

Jun 18, 1969

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Jun 18, 1969

In Democrat and Chronicle articles, I learned more of the tragic event. A 1960 graduate of East High and the daughter of Gordon B. Anderson, a Republican county legislator, Anderson was visiting Israel where she was killed by Soviet-made guns of Iraqi troops stationed in Jordan when their shells exploded in a tourist beach area where she and a companion were preparing for a swim.

As seen in the plaque, Anderson, then 26, was returning from a teaching position in the Congo.  At the time, she was the first tourist killed in the Mideast since the Six Day War in 1967.

Jul 09 1969

Jul 09 1969

Poignantly and horrifically, her father heard of the death via a radio account. Gordon Anderson then called Representative Frank Horton who confirmed the account. Horton would later say that both the U.S. and Russia must share part of the blame because both countries supply arms to the Mideast.

Jun 19, 1969

Jun 19, 1969

Anderson then drove home and told his wife. The next day the family moved to establish a college scholarship fund in their daughter’s name. In July, the County Legislature expressed its deep sympathy and sorrow.

In the June 18th article, Gordon Anderson simply said, “We just thanked God we had a good Christian girl for  26 years.” A bright life cut sadly short.shirley l anderson

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From Adding Audrey to the Cobb’s Hill Seriesuntitled