Mabry Anderson (1916-2001)

Mabry Anderson, who for more than 30 years wrote a weekly outdoors column for Delta Farm Press, died Thanksgiving morning at Delta Medical Center in Memphis. He was 85 years old.

Anderson is survived by his son, Mabry Jr., and his daughter, Vicki, who both live in the Memphis area.

His funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, Nov. 26, at Clarksdale Baptist Church, Clarksdale, Miss.

His death came five months after the death of his wife of 56 years, J'nelle Anderson, known to readers of his weekly Outdoor Obervations column as "my good wife."

In an article about Anderson that was scheduled for publication later this year, Farm Press editor Ben Pryor writes:

"His life has been a chronicle of adventure, the romantic’s timeless passions, and, like Hemingway and other good tellers of tales, he is the legend of his own writing.

"He has fished for albacore tuna off Baja California, for rainbow trout in the white waters of raised elevations, hunted mule deer in the arid Southwest, pheasant and grouse in their country. But for all the occasional treks to far places, he is the outdoorsman of his youth and childhood, favors still the game of the Delta woods, lakes and lazy streams — many-pointed bucks, boastful turkey gobblers, quick-flighted doves, and the nervous, wary fowl of the Mississippi Flyway.

",,,he counts the outdoor life an honest man’s birthright, and now and then he expresses sympathy for them of time clocks and office routine, who too often must put aside a dawn before the hunt is through....

"His style is conversational, like a campfire narrator’s, as if for listening to.... Sentences ramble on like languid Southern bayous through cane brakes and cypress swamps...."

"(He) was recruited to Delta Farm Press with published credentials. His byline was already frequent fare in familiar national outdoors magazines even before William S. McNamee, the former Farm Press owner-publisher, twisted his arm.

"'Bill and I were friends, and he prevailed upon me to write a column for Delta Farm Press,' he recalls. 'He wanted to name it a hunting and fishing column, but I asked him to give me a little more leeway.'

"Anderson had in mind a column that told the 'bigger picture,' and the portrait he paints is as broad as the wide outdoors, a tapestry, as he says this day, of 'men and dogs and horses.' It was not the game trophies, or even the hunt. 'It’s the outdoor life. I’ve never gotten pleasure in hunting and shooting so much as the fun of just being outside. It’s the whole experience.'

"He pauses to think about it and to make things more clear. 'I’ve tried to keep a tone of conservation going in everything I wrote, especially in the last 15 years.'

"So it is that the outdoors contributor and the farm publication have each been the other’s complement...."

"'I’ve had a good life, and I’ve learned my limitations… but, you know, I’m not sure I have a philosophy of life — unless….' He squirms and fidgets some, finally speaks of the stuff of Niebuhr’s exemplary prayer — which, in the handlings of the generations, is sometimes modified from the original, often trimmed and made more spare: 'God, give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed; Give us courage to change what should be changed; Give us the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.'"

The "stuff," wrote Pryor, "serves him well."

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