(Florence, Alabama) — Joel R. Anderson, of Florence, Alabama, died peacefully at home on Monday evening, October 12, 2020, from natural causes at the age of 76. He was well known in the numismatic world as a businessman and generous supporter of many hobby causes.
The Anderson family has been active for decades in numismatics, publishing, and media distribution, among other industries. This started in 1917 with a street-corner newsstand built in downtown Florence by his late father, Clyde W. Anderson. The Anderson Companies grew into a business that today includes Anderson Media Corporation; TNT Fireworks (the largest importer and distributor of consumer fireworks in the United States); specialty publisher Anderson Press; and Books-A-Million (the nation’s second-largest book retailer).
Joel Anderson attended the University of North Alabama and then worked in his family businesses. He served as a director of many affiliated firms and chairman of the Anderson Companies, which today employ more than 11,000 associates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and China.
A Longtime Hobby Supporter and Enthusiastic Collector
Among hobbyists and collectors, the best-known Anderson brands are ANCO (manufacturer of coin tubes and other supplies); Cowens (cardboard coin holders); H.E. Harris & Co. (stamp dealer, publisher, and philatelic supplier); and Whitman Publishing, the largest publisher of numismatic books and supplies, and creator of the annual Guide Book of United States Coins (the “Red Book”).
Joel Anderson was an active supporter of the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society, and other hobby organizations. “Mr. Anderson believed in the power of literacy, research, and education,” said Whitman president Mary Burleson. “He gave generously of his time, business expertise, and financial resources to strengthen every aspect of the hobby. He did this quietly, without fanfare, never seeking praise or publicity for himself.”
Anderson was a serious collector of rare United States paper money. In 2018 and 2019 his collection was sold by Stack’s Bowers Galleries for more than $34 million. It was the most valuable cabinet of U.S. paper currency ever dispersed at public auction.
A Positive Influence in Many Worlds
Friends from across the wide spectrum of the Anderson family’s business and civic activities are mourning the loss of Joel Anderson. In the world of pyrotechnics, he is remembered as the founder, chairman, and director of the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory. (Dr. John A. Conkling, in Boom: America’s Ever-Evolving Fireworks Industry, wrote of Anderson’s “strong and capable leadership” of the safety and testing organization, which is credited with reducing the number of fireworks injuries and fatalities.) Medical organizations such as the Cardiovascular Institute of Philadelphia and the American Heart Association celebrate him as a trustee and supporter. His philanthropic, civic, and humanitarian endeavors have earned him the respect and admiration of the Salvation Army, the United Way, and the many schools, libraries, and museums that he championed and served.
The Anderson family shared some words of wisdom Joel Anderson gave in a letter to his grandchildren, exemplifying his life philosophy: “Always smile and feel happiness and it will become a part of you. Always be positive and if you are sometimes defeated in something, don’t pout, don’t complain, just turn around and take another path to winning. Always respect others, always be honest with others and, very importantly, yourself. Always go out of your way to do the right thing in any situation and always remember to be nice and share with others, especially persons who need a helping hand.”
Anderson is survived by his wife, Carmen Hemmer Anderson; daughters, Ashley Ruth Anderson and Kristen Lore Anderson; son, Joel Ray Anderson II (Sophie); brother, Charles Caine Anderson; sister, Jan Anderson Wiggins (Bob); grandchildren, Kate Brooklyn Billingsley, Grant Ray Billingsley, and Stella Ruth Chanin; niece, Catherine Foss Wingfield; nephews, Anderson Malone Wingfield, Charles Caine Anderson Jr. (Moll), Terrence Carroll Anderson (Susan), Clyde Barbour Anderson (Summer), and Harold Myron Anderson (Amber). He was preceded in death by his father, Clyde W. Anderson; mother, Ruth Keenum Anderson; and sister-in-law, Hilda Barbour Anderson.
There will be a drive-by visitation at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, October 16, followed by a private graveside service for family at 3:00 p.m. at Greenview Memorial in Anderson’s hometown of Florence, Alabama.
The family welcomes donations, as an expression of sympathy in lieu of flowers, to the American Heart Association, the University of North Alabama, or United Way of Northwest Alabama.
An online guest book may be signed at greenviewmemorial.com.
Former ANA President and Executive Director Edward C. Rochette, 90, died on January 18 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he lived most of his life. He was born on February 17, 1927, in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Edward Rochette, a physician, and Lilia A. (Viau) Rochette, both of whom died before Ed Jr. reached adulthood.
Friends and family remember Rochette’s sparkling wit, creative spirit, astute mind, and strong ethical compass, which he relied upon to guide his life and family. He developed his love for numismatics as a youngster, when he regularly searched the cash drawer at his grandfather’s diner for collectible coins. He served as an electrician in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and attended Clark University in Worcester and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Rochette began his professional numismatic career as a cartoonist and editor for Numismatic News, printed in Iola, Wisconsin, by Krause Publications. Later, he served the company as executive editor. In 1966 Rochette left Iola to become editor of The Numismatist, the Association’s official journal. As editor, Ed had a front-row seat for the construction of the new ANA headquarters, which began on the Colorado College campus about the same time he (and later his family) moved to town. The March 1967 issue of The Numismatist was the first to roll off the presses under his leadership.
He sat in the editor’s chair until 1972, when he was tapped to serve as ANA executive vice president. The Association prospered in its new home, but within 13 years it began to experience growing pains. Rochette was at the helm when a drive was launched in 1980 to finance a second-story addition that would expand the museum, library and staff offices. He shepherded the construction, keeping an eye on the progress and making sure all went according to plan. On June 10, 1982, he was on hand to welcome guests and dignitaries to the official dedication.
Rochette retired as executive vice president in 1986, and in 1987 was elected to the ANA Board of Governors, going on to serve as vice president in 1989-91 and president in 1991-93. In the years that followed, ANA museum and library visitation increased markedly, and the facility was sorely in need of a facelift. In 1998, Rochette was called out of retirement to serve as ANA executive director, and in 2000 he spearheaded and oversaw a second headquarters renovation.
Rochette stepped down as executive director in July 2003. Thanks to a $500,000 contribution from an anonymous donor and his longtime friend, mentor and employer Chester Krause, the ANA Money Museum was renamed in his honor in 2005. Two years later, Rochette ran successfully for the ANA Board, serving a term as governor.
Rochette devoted his long career to sharing the many fascinating stories behind coins and medals. In 2006 he told COINage magazine, “I’ve never gone out and tried to corner a market or buy something because it was rare. I’d buy it because I could write a story about it.”
Rochette was a prolific and popular author, penning the monthly “Other Side of the Coin” column for The Numismatist for two decades. He wrote a weekly coin column that was nationally syndicated by the Los Angeles Times, and contributed a monthly column to COINage. He published books on three favorite topics: Medallic Portraits of John F. Kennedy (1966), Making Money: Rogues and Rascals Who Made Their Own (1986) and The Romance of Coin Collecting (1991).
In the late 1960s, Rochette collaborated with Lt. Col. Adna G. Wilde Jr., then ANA executive director, to introduce the week-long ANA Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs. He also was instrumental in developing a numismatic exhibit for the International Olympic Committee’s museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, and served as a numismatic consultant to the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
In 1987 he was general chairman of the 50th Anniversary Congress and Exhibition of the Fédération Internationale de la Médaille (FIDEM), a global organization of medallic artists. The event was hosted by the American Numismatic Association, marking the first time FIDEM had convened in the United States.
Collaborative and congenial, Rochette made friends easily and cultivated relationships that benefited the ANA. In 1977, he secured a bequest from ANA life member Kenneth Keith that remains a key financial asset, securing the Association’s future.
Rochette has received many ANA accolades, including the Medal of Merit (1972), Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service (1987), Glenn Smedley Memorial Award (1993), Lifetime Achievement Award (1999), Burnett Anderson Memorial Award for Excellence in Numismatic Writing (2003, presented jointly by the ANA, American Numismatic Society and the Numismatic Literary Guild), and Numismatist of the Year (2003). He was the second recipient of the Numismatic Literary Guild’s prestigious Clemy Award (1969), and was named a Numismatic Ambassador by Numismatic News (1986). In 2000, he was inducted into the Numismatic Hall of Fame at the ANA’s Colorado Springs headquarters.
Says author and ANA Past President Q. David Bowers, “Next to the Association’s founder George F. Heath, no one has done more for the ANA than Ed Rochette.
Rochette is survived by his wife of 40 years, Mary Ann; three sons (Edward, Paul and Philip) by his first wife, Faye (who died in 1977); four stepchildren (Joseph, Michael, Paul and Susan); 14 grandchildren; and 7 great-grandchildren. Donations in his memory can be made to New Century Hospice, 6270 Lehman Dr., Suite 150, Colorado Springs, CO 80918.
The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered, nonprofit educational
organization dedicated to encouraging the study and collection of coins and related items. The ANA helps its 25,000 members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its array of instructional and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications and conventions. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or visit www.money.org.