A memorial service will be held for Barbara on February 2, 2012, at 1:00 P.M. at Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home, and her family encourages those attending to wear red. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Barbara Cassidy Anderson Memorial Scholarship Fund payable to the Baler Education Foundation, P.O. Box 328, Hollister, CA 95024-0328
Hollister educator and food impresario Barbara Anderson, 83, died in San Francisco after Thanksgiving following a spirited two-year battle with cancer. As generous as she was opinionated, Barbara was a fabulous cook, inimitable hostess, and indefatigable networker. The day before she died, after a long laugh with her daughter Susan, Barbara said, “We had a good time, didn’t we.”
Barbara June Cassidy was born in Auburn, CA, the daughter of state senator and Auburn Journal publisher Bert Cassidy and his wife, Jane. She was the sister of Vic, Bill, and Betty Cassidy and, as she often let people know, was “100 percent Irish.”
Barbara graduated from Placer High School in 1946 and then attended the University of Oregon, where she studied with Luther Cressman, the father of Oregon anthropology. She conducted field research on the Klamath reservation. At Oregon, Barbara also met Bob Anderson, whom she married in 1952.
After graduating from Oregon with a degree in anthropology, Barbara moved to Menlo Park and earned a master’s in education and a teaching credential from Stanford.
The Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences opened at Stanford in 1954, and Barbara spent several years there as a research assistant. The center was home to a rotating cast of brilliant scholars and future Nobel laureates, including Barbara’s good friend, University of Chicago economist Ronald Coase.
In 1964, Barbara and Bob moved to Hollister, where Bob became a partner in Picetti & Anderson Insurance. Five years later, Barbara joined the faculty at San Benito High School, where she taught English and reading for a number of years.
Over time, she completed work on a school psychology credential from San Jose State, and then became a counselor at the high school. Her skills as a networker and her lifelong passion for connecting people fit perfectly with the role of a senior class counselor. She was extremely proud of all the Balers she helped to get to college.
After leaving the high school in 1990, Barbara worked with Elgie Bellizio and Brian Lippincott to start the Discovery Center, the first crisis intervention program in San Benito County. Discovery Center offered counseling for people battling drug and alcohol problems as well as family dysfunction.
In 1995, Barbara founded Wood Stove Kitchens, a company that made watermelon pickles, red bell pepper jelly, and her signature Grannyola, a delicious granola (some people have been known to eat entire one-pound bags at a single sitting) that she sold to specialty stores and high-end grocers.
Barbara and Bob traveled all over Northern California, putting on food demos and meeting thousands of customers, many of whom became longtime fans of Grannyola. Barbara loved the people she met in the food business, and she was active in the San Francisco Professional Food Society and the Bakers Dozen.
Barbara was fortunate in having been able to pursue two of her abiding passions, reading and cooking, in her professional life. She also enjoyed gardening, travel, and watching sports, particularly the Giants, Stanford football and basketball, and her grandchildren’s soccer and baseball games.
Active in the community, Barbara was appointed by then-governor Ronald Reagan to the Board for Disabled at Agnews Developmental Center in San Jose. She helped bring the Great Books program to Hollister. In addition to her culinary groups, Barbara was active in the National Federation of Republican Women, League of Women Voters, Children’s Home Society, Baler Education Foundation, and the Girl Scouts of the USA as the leader of a Hollister Brownie troop.
Barbara loved her family, and she will be deeply missed by her daughters, Martha Anderson Cliff of Mill Valley and Susan Anderson of San Francisco; her grandchildren, Will and Janie Cliff, and Claire and Luci Anderson; her sons-in-law, Dan Cliff and Bruce Anderson; her sister-in-law, Janet Hurley; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her son, Keith, and husband, Bob.
In remembrance of Barbara, whistle loudly the next time you enter a room, or simply honk your horn as you pull into the driveway.