Life Sketch

Springtime gives life! After spending a leisurely 19 hours traversing the birth canal and already two weeks later than expected, Nathan Losel Anderson grudgingly presented himself to the world on April 29, 1984 at 11:45 p.m. at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC. Yes, Nathan was a native Washingtonian, which explained his fierce loyalty and undying affection for the Washington Redskins football team. After finally being nudged out with forceps, he weighed in at a hefty 9 lbs, 9 oz. However, shortly after that, he seemed to have shifted into high gear and lived his all-too-brief life at a fast and ever busy pace. At 9 months, he was walking through the house with a growing sense of confidence.

A loving, likable, fast-growing child, at age 2 years 4 months he achieved big-brother status when his sister Nicole (Nikki) arrived on the scene. He loved that role and eagerly took the responsibility with an amazing sense of seriousness. He really thought that he had hit the Big Time when 2 years and 2 months later, a second sister, Nichelle, made her appearance. Now, he knew he had a fan club of two!!

Because of devoted efforts by his maternal grandmother, at age 5 years, Nathan had mastered reading, writing, and arithmetic at such a level that he just blew through Kindergarten in two weeks time and was advanced to 1st grade at the George E. Peters Seventh-Day Adventist Elementary School. At the same time, he began formal music training at his Aunt Nevi’s Ottley Music Studio.

He was a gracious, industrious child, who developed an entrepreneurial spirit very early in life. At age 7, after requesting an allowance and being turned down by his father, Nathan came back an hour later with a list of proposed chores he could do and the prices he felt was fair to charge. After extensive negotiations with his father, he signed a contract to vacuum the entire house, top-to-bottom each Friday afternoon. By age 9, he proposed a contract renegotiation to include cutting the lawn. At age 10 he moved up to cutting the neighbors’ lawns, while employing his two sisters, Nicole and Nichelle to do light raking and running the grass blower. Later, during his teenage years he spent summers working for a neighborhood contractor, helping paint houses and build fencing.

Meanwhile, the music acuity that he had exhibited early in his life grew. Before age 3, Nathan knew how to turn on the stereo, select his favorite album featuring the orchestral works of Adrian T. Westney, Jr., put it on the turntable, arrange the kitchen pots and metal mixing bowls. When the music began, he simultaneously conducted the orchestra, and then switched to play the pots and bowls whenever the real orchestra’s kettle drums were featured within the score of “Lo, He Comes”. By age 10, Nathan’s piano skills had developed to the level where he passed the National Piano Audition and earned him an opportunity to perform during a program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

During Nathan’s four years at Takoma Academy (TA), he excelled academically, earning a spot in the National Honor Society, sought and found increasingly lucrative summer employment, including employment the summer after his senior year at the University of the District of Columbia, teaching rudimentary computer skills to younger high school students enrolled in a summer enrichment program. As an athlete, he excelled in basketball, soccer, and track. (In later years -2008, he successfully completed the Annual Marine Corps Marathon and was already preparing to run the 2010 Marathon.)

While at TA, he burnished his musical talent by leading the student band that accompanied the Gospel Choir, Shabach, directed by his cousin, Anwar Ottley. With guidance from his Aunt, coupled with stylistic coaching and mentoring by his father, Nathan also expanded his role as a church musician, accompanying various soloists, groups, and choirs, at his home church, the Emmanuel-Brinklow Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Ever the entrepreneur, he soon discovered that his skill level propelled him to be a sought after well-compensated part-time pianist/organist at churches throughout the Washington/Baltimore area. Nathan’s four years at Oakwood College (now Oakwood University) in Huntsville, AL proved to be a personally satisfying journey of academic achievement, spiritual growth, social networking, professional development, and musical excellence. His work as a key member of the band for the Dynamic Praise Choir, composer/arranger/accompanist for numerous vocalists, placed Nathan in a category with some of the most sought-after musicians. And the easy part of it was, he loved making music.

During the summers of Nathan’s college years, because of his course of study (Computer Science) he was selected to participate with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) in its Junior Commissioned Officer Student and Extern Program (COSTEP). During his first summer (2002) in the program, Ensign Anderson worked for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Rockville, MD and later summers worked for the Indian Health Service (IHS) in Oklahoma City, OK.

Immediately upon graduation from Oakwood, Ensign (ENS) Anderson was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) and assigned to Oklahoma City as a Computer Systems Analyst for the IHS. While stationed in Oklahoma, LTJG Anderson was deployed to Baton Rouge, LA to support rescue and recovery efforts needed because of the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina upon the city of New Orleans. After returning to Oklahoma, during the summer of 2006, he deployed for a short time to New Orleans again to support preparations, in case of another heavy hurricane strike. In October 2006, LTJG Anderson was assigned to the Washington DC Headquarters to serve as Aide-de-Camp to former Assistant Secretary for Health, ADMIRAL John Agwunobi. After completing that tour, he was assigned to the Office of the Secretary, Office of Security and Strategic Information. In June of 2009, he was promoted to the rank of full Lieutenant (LT).

Being a holistic thinker, Nathan eagerly pursued two primary hobbies. His first love was flying as a Private Pilot. His first flight in small aircraft occurred at age 2, when his father packed a lunch bag for Nathan that included an extra set of clothes, transferred Nathan’s car seat to the co-pilot seat of a Piper Cherokee 181, strapped him in, and took off for a short flight from Laurel, MD over the Chesapeake Bay to Ocean City, MD. After that flight, Nathan rarely allowed his father to fly without him. And at age 19, he successfully completed all requirements and became a Private Pilot in his own right. He made his last flight on the evening of March 20, 2010 to Easton, MD.

His second hobby was riding motorcycles. Nathan, his cousins, and friends wasted no opportunity to ride. Though he spent a lot of time riding his “Yamaha R6”, Nathan had recently acquired an additional motorcycle, the ultimate – a Harley Davidson. A couple of years ago, Nathan decided that he wanted to begin a pursuit to join the ranks of physicians that serve this nation. So he began the arduous task of working full-time while completing the necessary pre-med coursework during evening classes that would allow him to qualify for entry into medical school. At the time of his death, he was more than halfway there.

During his nearly 26 years of life, Nathan touched a multitude of lives in positive ways, directly and indirectly, in many different venues. Because he was a voluntary self-designated tissue donor, even after death he continues to unselfishly help and touch many lives in a positive manner. Remaining behind to relish the joyous memories that Nathan gave us all include: his parents, Lt Col (retired) Gerald L. Anderson, USAFR and CAPTAIN Ruby O. Anderson USNR, his sisters, Nicole (Nikki) Anderson, and Nichelle Anderson. His paternal uncles, former Civil Air Patrol Lt Vincent Anderson (Aunt Joyce), former USAFR Lt Col David Anderson (Aunt Carmen), Chaplain – Commander Paul Anderson, USN (Aunt Debra); his paternal aunt former Navy PO2 Christina Anderson Smith; his maternal uncle Myron S. Ottley, PhD (Aunt Cheryl), his maternal aunts Neville Ottley Adjahoe (Uncle Edgar), and Geraldine Ottley Caesar (Uncle Bernard); his paternal cousins, Maijia Anderson, DNP, Joylin Anderson Calhoun, DNP, Cameron Anderson, Jared Anderson, Garrett Anderson, D’Andria Anderson, Kristin Smith; his maternal cousins, Juelle Ottley Sam, Anwar Ottley, and Jonathan Adjahoe, a large contingent of extended family, a larger contingent of Church Family members, a huge number of Oakwood University Alumni Family members, USPHS and DHHS co-workers and many friends worldwide.