The Bozeman community is remembering a woman who many say shaped the city into what it is today. Marcia Anderson’s story starts decades ago, as a doctor and a rancher who, her family says, left her heart in the Gallatin Valley.
Anderson passed away this Monday at her home in California. Her impact on the area was recognition her granddaughter Kristin Sherwood says she never asked for.
“She was never about the recognition," says Sherwood, who is also the outreach manager at Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter. "It was all just —she wanted to do it so she did it.”
Marcia Anderson’s name is commonplace in Bozeman, from the Community Room at the Bozeman Public Library to the Anderson Dog Park.
Sherwood says there is a reason for that.
“She loved the community," she says. "She loved giving back to the community because she was able to and it was all just from her heart.”
Terry Cunningham, Bozeman city commissioner and executive director for Run Dog Run, says the community has lost not only a doctor, a rancher, a philanthropist, but much more.
“She was the smartest person in the room and the most humble," Cunningham says. "You might not know that until you got to know her, and she was absolutely a person that believed in lifelong learning, always improving herself and her dedication to the community.”
Anderson’s passion for animals was not lost on Cunningham.
He says her gift brought a 13-acre dog park to life.
“Sadly she never got to see this park completed," Cunningham says. “Without Marcia Anderson’s gift, we don’t have the trees, we don’t have the irrigation system, we don’t have the bridges, we don’t have the foundation for the shade pavilion. None of this would be able to happen the way that it’s happened without Marcia Anderson’s gift.”
Anderson also recently gifted half of the $700,000 needed to restore the partially collapsed Bogert Pavilion shell.
Those who knew Marcia closely, including Cunningham, say although Marcia may have left Bozeman, her heart never truly did and her name is still across the entire area.
“I think she’s probably the single biggest philanthropist this community has seen," says Janay Johnson, director of the Bozeman Public Library Foundation.
Johnson says Anderson made building the new library a possibility, along with creating an endowment to help teens. But she also remembers her as a friend and an accomplished doctor.
“She’s really an inspiration for the way she lived her life and the way she gave back to this community," Johnson says.
“We know that she loved this community so much," Sherwood says. “I remember her as someone being so full of energy all the time. Every time I would go and visit her, even if she was dealing with medical issues, you know, whatever the reason, she was always laughing and wanting to go play cards with her friends and keeping a very busy social schedule. So that’s how I remember her, as just being vibrant and full of life.”
As for Sherwood, she sees her grandmother’s name everyday. She says it was never about the money or even the bench dedicated to her in the dog park.
It was about the people and pets who got to enjoy it all.
"I love the legacy that she left. I would want the community to remember her as someone who loved this community, someone who moved here a few decades ago and really put her heart into everything that she did here," says Sherwood. "She was intentional about being here in this community and helping this community in ways that she could.”
Anderson’s efforts also helped create tennis courts across the area and the Anderson Horse Arena at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds.
Cunningham says Anderson’s gifts were all “challenge” gifts, hoping to get more people to donate, as well.