William Elmer Anderson II
12 Jun 1962 - 21 Dec 1994
Bill Sanderson was a recipient of a special Humanitarian Service Award given at the Times Squares' annual meeting on Jan 11, 1994. The award was co-sponsored by Allison Edwards, Dot Hively, and Times Squares.
In the Fall of 1987, Bill Sanderson came to beginner classes with the Times Squares. True to form, Bill was being a little modest and preserving a bit of mystery about himself. Much later, after he graduated and joined the club in the spring of 1988, we learned that Bill had square danced as a youngster in Phoenix where he was born and raised. Indeed, he had been active in the formation of a square dance club in Arizona. Actually, Bill had danced Advanced before going to college at the University of Arizona and in Chicago at Northwestern.
To know Bill was to be charmed by Bill. To know him was also to enjoy the unfolding of the mysteries of a warm, complex, and loving man. He was a knowledgeable film enthusiast, he spoke with insight about a wide range of topics from science to literature. Two of his passions were his work and his dancing. After arriving in New York and working at few jobs that did not take advantage of his talents, he was thrilled to get a position with the City as a child welfare case worker. Visiting many unfortunate or unhappy homes, Bill could distinguish abuse or neglect from ignorance. When "removal" was necessary, he faced these ordeals with conviction and courage. Often, Bill's intervention was in the form of much needed and appreciated education for families in trouble. Quite a story teller, Bill could be counted on to report many of these incidents with humor and compassion. Bill cared deeply, and as he spoke about his work this caring showed. Many young ones owe their health, safety and even their lives to Bill's sound judgment, his dedication, and his love.
Bill was equally passionate about his dancing. He invested the time to become a very fine, proficient dancer up through the C-1 level. He also did two stepping, and braced New Jersey Transit to learn round dancing one year with five other men from Times Squares. He didn’t invest his time only in his own dancing however. Bill always encouraged those less skillful, and gave of his time and energy to teach Advanced classes – his students loved him.
Bill was also active in the leather community, and serious about his gay activism. While in college, he formed gay groups at both the University of Arizona and Northwestern.
Another interesting and little known fact about Bill is that he was a musician. Part of his education was at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, where he studied viola.
Bill’s love of home was evident in the warmth one felt visiting him and his lover of four years, Bob Jackson, at their home. It is fitting that after a long fight with AIDS Bill was able to have his wish to die at home days after receiving friends amid lovely holiday decorations to celebrate his and Bob’s second anniversary of union.
- Times Squared newsletter, v.9 no.6 (Feb 1994), p.2
- Times Squared newsletter, v.10 no.5 (Jan 1995), p.4-5