Elizabeth (Beth) Jo Sandlin Anderson was born on January 5, 1925, in Blessing, TX. The quick-witted Beth told everyone they renamed the town Blessing after she was born there. Her parents were Virgil Loen “Red” Sandlin and Jessie Odessa “J.O.” Stewart Sandlin.
Beth grew up in Wharton, TX the youngest of three sisters. She graduated from Wharton High School in 1941 at the age of 16, having been double promoted from second grade to fourth grade in elementary school. In 1946, she graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville, TX, with a bachelor’s degree in education. During her years at SHSTC, Beth corresponded with over twenty World War II soldiers she knew from high school and college. The letters she received back from “her soldiers” are a fascinating insight into the war and what those young men experienced on a daily basis. These letters are preserved in one of her scrapbooks along with pictures, troop patches, foreign currency, and mementos she received.
Her teaching career began in 1947 at West Van Zandt Elementary School in Fort Worth, TX. In 1953, Beth and her husband, Bob, moved to Arlington when Bob was named the first golf pro at the newly opened Rolling Hills Country Club. Beth taught at the old South Side Elementary School and Speer Elementary for one year then joined the faculty at C.B. Berry Elementary when it opened in 1954. She taught at Berry from 1954 to 1960, then spent more than a decade at home with her two children, Dorian and Jessica. Beth returned to Berry in 1973 and stayed there until she retired (again) in 1985. Her legacy at Berry includes the Beth Anderson Student of the Year Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding sixth grade student. The description of the award is based on many attributes Beth exhibited during her life; appreciative, cheerful, considerate, courteous, dedicated, dependable, friendly, honest, obedient, and respectful.
During her years as an educator, Beth worked with numerous Arlington school namesakes including Roy Wood, James Martin, H.M. Morton, Grace Atherton, Ruth Ditto, Becky Corey, Judy Beckham, Lillian Miller, and Lucy Key. The school district honored Beth in 2005 when they named the newest elementary school Beth Anderson Elementary.
Beth’s chosen career came naturally to her since she came from a family of educators. Her mother taught for over forty years, her father was an early Superintendent of Alief Schools, and both of her sisters were also educators.
Beth was a master teacher in every sense of the word. There are thousands of children who have benefitted from her compassion, zest for life and learning, guidance, knowledge, and her wacky sense of humor. Her classroom was always fun and full of laughter. She was well-known for the hilarious pranks she would pull on other teachers.
When letters were being submitted suggesting names for Anderson Elementary Lucy Key wrote,
“With absolutely no reservation I will say Beth’s almost fifty year record as a teacher for, advocate of, and ambassador to Arlington Independent School District will stand tall amongst the best of educators. Beth became a true practitioner of the art of teaching; she got results and had fun doing it. Every year when my fourth grade class roster was handed out my first eager anticipation was how many of Beth’s third grade students I had inherited. These youngsters invariably provided the foundation of my class every year. Even at that young age, they were grounded in the fundamentals, had a sense of self-discipline, were open to working with others, took pride in getting a job well done, and exhibited an eagerness to learn that a year under Beth’s loving instruction always yielded. She was the bedrock of Berry, especially with her ability to interact with parents and the community. That beautiful auburn hair accentuated her presence and she had the capability and energy to be just about everywhere. She was a magnificent example to fellow teachers with her ability to impact students, parents, and school while managing her wonderful family and a myriad of community activities. AISD will never have a more effective, gracious, community emissary”.
After her second retirement from teaching, Beth was asked to help implement AISD’s newly developed MAP Mentor program to help mentor and support first-year teachers. Almost all of her “mentees” are still teaching in Arlington today. She also substituted for many years at various schools, but she loved subbing at Berry and Swift the most.
She was a member of numerous groups including Arlington Arts League, Friends of the UTA Library, Encore Club, Arlington Theatre Guild, Arlington Retired School Employees Association, and Supporters of the Women’s Shelter. Beth was also a long time member of the Arlington Memorial Hospital Auxiliary with over five thousand volunteer hours. Before Arlington Memorial was built in 1958, Beth and several other women went door to door collecting donations to help build the hospital. She was one of the earliest members of St. Peter and St. Paul Episcopal Church where she served on the altar guild and remained active until her death.
A member of the Arlington Woman’s Club since 1963, Beth served as several officers and was on numerous club committees. The year Beth joined AWC, she was asked to design the club crest which is still in use today. In 2001, she received the prestigious Cooper Award. It is awarded to a member who personifies the ideals and goals of the Arlington Woman’s Club with emphasis on service both to AWC and the community as a whole; and whose tireless support, work, and devotion is an inspiration and representation of the highest standards of active membership.
In 2014, Beth received the Legacy of Women Award in Education presented by SafeHaven of Tarrant County. The Christian Women’s Job Corp of Arlington presented Beth with the Ruby Award in 2019. This award honors Christian women in the greater Arlington workplace.
Beth always had the ability to draw people to her and inspire them to be all they could be. She was an encourager and a motivator to all. Everyone who came into contact with Beth simply loved her. Beth’s willingness to serve others was evident in her career choice, her volunteer work, and her church involvement.
Her close circle of friends includes the PUSHY broads, Pat Voss, Celia Hirschenhofer, and Rhonda Henry who met early morning every week to Pray Until Something Happens, Y’all (PUSHY) for friends and strangers who needed to be lifted in prayer. Also the Steel Magnolias, Linda McQuitty, Nancy Oakley, and Rosemary Wade, a group of retired teachers who met to go out to eat, tell jokes, and generally just enjoy each other’s company.
Beth’s friends of over fifty years, Kay Thomas and the late Ethel Reeder were loved and adored by her. Those fifty plus years were filled with hilarity and laughter. They had many, many escapades together through the years including several not fit for public knowledge.
Beth lived her life to the fullest whether it was playing golf at Shady Valley with Martha Woolf while wearing outlandish costumes, helping her kids and their friends toilet paper houses (she could really hurl a roll of toilet paper), dressing up in costumes at home “just because”, playing practical jokes on friends and neighbors, entertaining a bus full of women with songs and games during AWC travel trips, or taking tap dancing lessons in her seventies. Beth was always up for fun and loved taking others along for the ride. Her sense of humor is legendary among all who knew her. There was never a dull moment when Beth was around, giving out her world-class hugs.
Extremely talented and creative, Beth was an accomplished artist and creative writer of stories and entertaining poems for every occasion. She was also a published author of “Lines and Designs”, a handwriting book for children. Beth’s wit and cleverness were unmatched and always on display. She couldn’t not be funny if she tried!
Beth was preceded in death by her parents, her adored husband, Bob, and her oldest sister Margaret. She is survived by her best friend and sister, Billye Sweeney. Other survivors are her son, Dorian, and his wife Patty Caldwell Anderson, of Estero, FL, her two grandsons, Harley Anderson of Lafayette, CO, Nate Anderson of Longmont, CO, and her daughter, Jessica, of Arlington, TX. Beth is also survived by her nephews and their families; Mike Sweeney of Houston, TX, Mark Sweeney of Austin, TX, Mac Sweeney of Ecuador, South America, Myles Sweeney of Wharton, TX, Ed Covington of Boerne, TX, niece Shanna Lynn Covington Wands of Colorado City, TX, many great nieces and nephews, numerous great-great nieces and nephews, and her beloved “other son” Morrie Minshew of Arlington, TX.
The family expresses appreciation to Beth’s friends at “her” Kroger – employees Cynthia, Angelena, and Shannon. Their care and concern for Beth through the years has been invaluable and appreciated. Gratitude also goes to Debbie Seymour, Karen Kuczek, and Mark Davis at Pinnacle Bank in Arlington. Her weekly drop by visits with them were a highlight of her day. Love and thanks go to the hundreds and hundreds of F.O.B.s – Friends of Beth. She was loved by all of them.
A fund, Anderson’s Angels, has been established at her namesake school, Beth Anderson Elementary. The fund will be used to benefit and support the students and faculty. Anyone wishing to make a memorial gift in honor of Beth may do so by sending a check made to Anderson Elementary School, 1101 Timberlake Dr., Arlington, TX 76010, with the notation “Anderson’s Angel’s Donation”.
No services are planned at this time.
Wade Family Funeral Home