Greg was born on March 21, 1931, in New York City to A. Benton and Teresa Vanita Anderson. He grew up in the little town of Hazardville, Conn., roaming the nearby fields and forests. After attending the University of Connecticut, he joined the Army and fought in the Korean War.
An imposing 6 foot 7 inches tall, he was an MP, traveling throughout southeast Asia rounding up prisoners. Greg also saw one year of intense combat, something he spoke of with friends only in his later years.
After Korea, he attended the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he met and later married Beth Pauliny in 1960. Their son Paul was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1962, where Greg worked for the Red Cross. Later, he transferred to Salinas, Calif., where son Jay was born in 1969.
The family moved to Encinitas in 1972. Greg worked as a rehab counselor for the State of California in San Diego, primarily with those coming out of prison who needed job training, medical care or jobs. He served as board chairman of the drug rehab center, House of Metamorphosis, for many years.
Greg was best known, however, as the coordinator of gems, minerals and jewelry for the San Diego County Fair. Thousands of people benefited from his enthusiasm and knowledge over his 37 years as coordinator, retiring in 2014.
He began as a volunteer with Josie Scripps, who then offered him the coordinator role. Today, his department presents museum-quality, competitive exhibits. He loved giving docent tours to kids of all ages, sharing the beauty of the natural world – especially the fluorescent mineral room. He waited for the “ooohs” and “aaahs,” as the plain gray rocks glowed brilliantly when hit with fluorescent lighting.
In 1981, he met Eve Smull, his soul-mate, at the Fair. Greg moved to Pacific Beach in 1991 and they married in 2000, happily joining the two families of now-grown children.
Additionally, he was the owner of Anderson’s Fluorescent Minerals, dealing with collectors throughout the country. Each February, he set up his big, black tent on the floor of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the world’s largest gem show. Every September, he traveled to Franklin, N.J. to sell fluorescent minerals for the Franklin Mineral Museum’s annual show as their “California volunteer.”
When he was young, Greg and his father visited the Franklin zinc mines, picking “glowing rocks” off the dumps. That child-like enthusiasm never dimmed.
Nothing pleased Greg more than helping people learn, opening new doors to explore. His sense of humor, his smile and big laugh will be missed, along with his wonderful big brown hat.
He leaves his wife Eve, sons Paul (Lisa) and Jay (Claudine) Anderson, step-children Steve Smull (Brenda) and Sally Smull (Jorge Parada); and three grandchildren, Bryce Anderson and Isabella and Devon Anderson.
Greg will be buried with military honors at Miramar, with the immediate family attending. A Celebration of Life was held Saturday, April 16 at Pacific Beach Chapel, 4710 Cass St., Pacific Beach. A reception followed at the Anderson family home.