The Rev. Bob Anderson, pastor of Parkview Baptist Church for 22 years and founder of the church's prominent school, died Thursday night. He was 84.
Anderson, who had battled Parkinson's disease for seven years, died at his home surrounded by family, said Leo Honeycutt, a family friend.
"Bob was one of a kind. He just inspired people," Honeycutt said. "He was completely humble, and also had a great deal of humor. There was never anything that rattled him. He was a little bit superhuman in that respect. He never got mad about anything."
Anderson was senior pastor at the church from 1974 to 1996, which grew from 250 to 3,000 members under his leadership.
When he retired from the pastorate in 1996, Anderson led the Antioch Affection ministry to assist churches and pastors in conflict. The ministry fit perfectly with Anderson's personality, said the Rev. Tommy Middleton, former pastor of Woodlawn Baptist Church who directs the Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge.
"He was very welcoming," Middleton said. "He was a great friend to pastors. He was always passionate about encouraging other pastors. Second, Bob had a gentle spirit about him. He was gentle and a gentleman. ... His heart was to preach the gospel."
Anderson created Parkview Baptist School in 1981. Although its opening coincided with a federal judge's desegregation order that led to white flight from the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, Anderson insisted PBS was not created with that in mind. In 2006, Anderson told The Advocate that he often heard people claim otherwise.
"I would have to write letters to them and say it wasn't true and they'd apologize," Anderson said.
The school has more than 1,200 students, one of the largest private schools in the state. Its athletic programs have won state championships in football, boys' and girls' basketball, baseball and softball.
Don Mayes, Parkview Baptist School superintendent since 2013, was a student at the school from 1984-88.
"He had a big impact on us as students," Mayes said. "We all remember him as being a caring, loving, compassionate person who was always encouraging to the students."
A Shreveport native, Anderson committed his life to Jesus Christ at a crusade meeting led by the Rev. Billy Graham in 1951. He graduated from East Texas Baptist University, received his masters of divinity from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate from the International Bible Institute and Seminary.
Anderson pastored churches in Harleton, Texas; Shreveport; and Fort Worth, Texas. From 1969 to 1973, he was associate executive director in charge of youth evangelism for the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation in Baton Rouge before taking the Parkview pulpit.
Anderson served as first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention and two terms as president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Rochelle Reeves Anderson; son, Robert Anderson Jr., daughters, Susan Anderson McKey and Janet Anderson Blankenship and husband the Rev. Dane Blankenship; brother, Larry Anderson and wife Helen; and grandchildren, Julie, Matthew and Melissa McKey; Bobby, Reeves, Sawyer, Carlee, Preslee and Allie Blankenship.
Visitation will be from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Parkview Baptist Church, 11795 Jefferson Highway, followed by services at 2:30 p.m. A video of Anderson preaching a sermon titled “Finishing Well” will be played. Interment will follow at Resthaven Garden of Memory.
The family requests that donations be made to the Bro. Bob Anderson Scholarship Fund at Parkview Baptist School or Antioch Affection Ministries.