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Dennis M. Anderson, 1934-2012: BGSU teacher was national candidate in 1976

BOWLING GREEN — Dennis M. Anderson, who taught political science at Bowling Green State University from the 1960s through the 1990s and who was the Ohio running mate in 1976 for Eugene McCarthy, died Thursday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio on South Detroit Avenue in Toledo. He was 78.

He had Alzheimer’s disease, his wife, Sandra Beck, said. “Dennis was one of a kind — a very genteel and a quiet man,” his wife said. “He dealt with the Alzheimer’s like he dealt with everything else in his life. He never had angry feelings. He handled it in a way I never would have been able to.”

An associate professor of political science, he taught and researched the presidency, voter behavior, and elections. One of his papers explored proportional representation elections of Toledo City Council from 1934-49. Another analyzed urbanism and voter turnout.

Toledo television stations called on him to comment on elections, Roger Anderson said.

In 1976 Mr. McCarthy, a former U.S. senator, ran as an independent in his third attempt at the presidency. He had a different running mate in each of the several states where he was on the ballot. In Ohio, Mr. Anderson was his vice presidential candidate.

“He was pretty reserved about most things, except for politics,” his daughter, Suzanne, said. “That’s where he really showed a lot more of himself.”

Mr. McCarthy got 58,258 votes out of more than 4.1 million cast in Ohio. Jimmy Carter took the state with 2.01 million votes.

Mr. Anderson was a former president of the Ohio Association of Economists and Political Scientists.

He was born Oct. 28, 1934, in Delaware, Ohio, to Virginia and Ira Anderson. He was a graduate of Evanston, Ill., High School — his father was a professor at Northwestern University — and was an Air Force veteran.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s degree and doctorate in political science from Northwestern. He was an Eagle Scout and, in Toledo, belonged to a Civil War study group. He was a longtime runner and a regular entrant in road races, his daughter said. For nearly 50 years, he spent summers at Lake Mildred near Rhinelander, Wis.

He was formerly married to Doris Anderson.

Surviving are his wife, Sandra Beck, whom he married Sept. 29, 2000; daughter, Suzanne Anderson; stepdaughters, Lori Howard, Michelle Manders, and Erin Owczarzak; brother, Michael Anderson; and seven step-grandchildren.

Services will be private. Arrangements are by the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg.

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Toledo or the Parkcliffe Alzheimer’s Commuity in Toledo.

Contact Mark Zaborney at or 419-724-6182

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