Mail carrier dies in crash hours before retirement

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 3:39 AM EDT
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YPSILANTI, N.D. (WDAY) - A North Dakota mail carrier for nearly three decades was looking forward to spending his first summer in retirement, but just hours before that retirement was set to begin, he died in a car crash.

Judy Anderson and her husband, Ken Anderson, had been discussing their travel plans as he prepared for retirement after 28 years of delivering mail. The post office congratulated him with a cake on April 21, his last day of work.

“He enjoyed his job, that’s for sure,” Judy Anderson said.

Ken Anderson was retiring after 28 years of delivering mail, so the post office congratulated...
Ken Anderson was retiring after 28 years of delivering mail, so the post office congratulated him with a cake on his last day of work. But just hours before his retirement was set to begin, he died in a car crash.(Source: Anderson Family, WDAY via CNN)

But while Ken Anderson was out delivering his last bit of mail before retiring, he hit slush on the road, rolled his jeep into the ditch and was ejected. He was alive long enough to call 911, but all dispatch heard was him saying, “Help me.”

His wife says if not for the crash, he would have been home as an official retiree just hours later.

“I just figure about four hours he would’ve been home, approximately, ‘cause he was already in the area,” Judy Anderson said.

Ken Anderson’s coworkers left flowers and a flag at the accident scene to remember him.

As for his family, Judy Anderson could spend hours talking about her husband. He was his family’s everything – a farmer, plant worker, mail carrier and father of five living on the homestead settled in 1907.

“He was always there for everybody,” said his daughter, Shannon Moran.

The dedicated worker was also a man of faith. His sons remember a winter storm years ago when the tractor and loader broke down, and their long driveway was plugged with snow. Yet, they still had to get to church.

“He gave all three of us boys a scoop shovel, and we started at the house all the way to the mailbox, which is a quarter mile. We hand shoveled the driveway, so we could get out. We didn’t have a four-wheel drive at that time; it was just a car. But we made it to church,” said his son, Chris Anderson.

Ken Anderson’s children say their dad taught them so much, including hunting, fishing, the importance of family and his work ethic.

“To lose your dad so suddenly, it’s a little bit heartbreaking,” said his son, Patrick Anderson.

Ken Anderson’s family is left with one last, great memory as they grieve his loss. He and his wife recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, with Ken Anderson proposing once again with a toy ring.