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In Memoriam: Darrell Anderson

Darrell Anderson, a theatre program professor with more than 40 years of service to the University of Dayton and the Dayton arts and theater communities, died Sept. 19. He was 70.

Anderson retired from the University and achieved emeritus status in 2016. During his tenure, he served as a theater manager, professor and program director, among other roles. His teaching range included scene design, stage lighting, stagecraft, scene painting and history of theater.

He first came to the University as a student in the late 1960s as an art major, but soon gravitated to theater. According to his retirement citation from 2015, Anderson “tried his hand in acting, but then slipped behind the scenery to a more comfortable niche — building sets, and then designing them. Back then UD did not teach set design, nor did it have a tech person on staff. Sets were designed and built by students, and the students learned by doing.”

After graduation, Anderson earned a master’s degree in set design from Ohio State University, but returned to the University of Dayton in 1974 to teach set and lighting design and to oversee the construction of main stage productions. He became manager of Boll Theatre and a full-time instructor. Tenure was granted in 1994, coinciding with his new title of theatre program director. In 1997 he became associate professor and served as theatre program director until 2014.

In addition to his work at the University, he designed scenery for the Human Race Theatre Company, the Opera Funatics, the Dayton Theatre Guild and the Cincinnati Zoo Holiday Theatre. He also provided an enrichment program for the Dayton Public Schools gifted and talented program.

Anderson leaves behind his wife of 44 years, Debbie Desch Anderson, as well as his two sons: Josh Anderson and his wife Mandy, and their four children, Josie, Jasper, Adelaide and Matilda; and his son Jesse Anderson and wife Corrine, and their two children, Canyon and Emmett.

Friends will gather for a memorial service starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Christ Episcopal Church, 20 W. First St. in Dayton. The 11 a.m. memorial service will be followed by graveside service at Calvary Cemetery, 1625 Calvary Ave. in Dayton.

- Shannon Miller, associate director, University News and Internal Communications

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