Pamela Lenore Anderson
July 24, 1948 ~ February 12, 2018
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
Pam (Bingham) Anderson of Sioux Falls, SD, died peacefully on February 12, 2018, while under Avera Home Hospice care, after living six years with ovarian cancer. She was 69.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 3:00pm, Monday, February 19, 2018, with family present from 1-3, at Heartland Funeral Home in Brandon.
Pam is survived by her son, Devon (Stacey) Bingham; grandson, Riley Bingham; and her two sisters, Paula Bingham and Penny Bingham, all of Sioux Falls; niece, Kelly (Ian) Abbott, Santa Clara, CA; nephew, Mike (Jackie) Bingham and their daughters, Cassie and Nikki, Morgan Hill, CA; sisters-in-law, Janet Darling, Pt. Richmond, CA, and Margaret Bingham, San Jose, CA; special cousin, Carolyn Windle, North Andover, MA; and Sharon Drapeau, Lake Andes, SD, who in one of the seven sacred Lakota ceremonies became Pam’s sister/relative in 1988. She is also survived by her husband’s children, David Anderson, Carol Lane, Marla Kenny, and by other relatives and many dear friends.
Memorials may be directed to Feeding South Dakota by Pam’s request.
Pam was preceded in death by her parents Leonard and Rita (Murphy) Bingham, her husband, Joe Anderson, infant sister, Pamela Bingham, and brother, Pete Bingham.
Pam was born on July 24, 1948, in Lawrence, Massachusetts and moved in 1951 with her family to Eielson Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska, where her dad worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Her dad’s work next took the family to Hawaii from 1961 – 63, where they lived on three different islands, before making a final move to Pickstown, SD. Pam graduated from Pickstown High School in 1966. She then earned her Bachelor’s degree in English at Mount Marty College in Yankton, SD, graduating in 1970. She volunteered as a teacher in Highgate, Jamaica for one year before taking the position of Headstart / Homestart Director with the Community Action Program in Lake Andes, SD.
Pam was a lifelong advocate for children. Even as a teenager, she willingly responded to the request of neighborhood youngsters to come out to play with them! She loved children and worked diligently for their welfare in various professional organizations: Headstart in Lake Andes; as developer and Director of the Children’s Center at the Methodist Hospital in Mitchell, SD; Bright Beginnings and the Children’s Legal Clinic in Denver, CO; and the Center for Disabilities in the Autism and Related Disorders Program in Sioux Falls. To strengthen her efforts in advocacy, she earned a Paralegal Certificate in Denver. Her ability to think outside the box and her writing talent – and grammatical expertise! – added to her effectiveness as child advocate. On the home front her love of children was evident in her special love for her son Devon, one of the greatest joys of her life, and later for his son, Riley, the light of her life. With the birth of Devon in 1973, Pam courageously lived as a single mom at a time when this was less socially acceptable.
Pam married Joe Anderson on July 25, 1979 and enjoyed his love and companionship until he passed away in 2011, a few months before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Joe’s dementia required nursing home care during the last years of his life; Pam faithfully visited him there and decorated his room for each season.
Among family and friends Pam was known as an avid reader, an amazing organizer and chronicle-keeper, a lover of photographs and a master keeper of photo albums, a wonderful weaver of words who wrote beautiful notes and letters; and an appreciator of beauty who designed lovely cards and decorated packages and her home in her unique style. She was a great listener to both family and friends, and a kind and gracious friend and support to many. She was a vegetarian for most of her life, who, ironically, craved a hamburger during her last weeks.
Pam was a lifelong pursuer of peace and non-violence; she was a person who valued silence and reflection. Though she did not pretend to know what lies beyond death, she believed intently that love lasts forever. One of the books she had most recently been reading was The Taste of Silence: How I Came to Be at Home with Myself by BiekeVandekerckhove. A few passages she had marked as significant are these.
If you really love someone, you cannot and you do not want to die, just
as you do not want the other to die. Love wants to be a house that spans
beyond death. Love hurts terribly. (p. 4)
[on a monk’s reflection on tumbling into God – “not the God beyond or above us but
the God who lives–wonder of wonders—in our deepest self”] ‘Toppling over into
inwardness’…is the opportunity to discover that inner balm. Even more so, it’s how
we become truly human. In that toppling over we land on a point of unexpected
freedom—a universal interconnectedness opens up. (p. 20)
Maybe happiness does not consist so much in what is interesting in people and
things. Happiness has to do with taking an interest in people and things. Interest
as inter-esse, from the Latin verb “to be among” people and things. (p. 36)
Pam was also a woman of faith, although not a member of organized religion. Included in her collection of wisdom quotes for her grandson Riley are these pertinent words of Pope Francis:
True faith is one that makes us more charitable, more merciful, more honest
and humane…it makes us see the other not as enemy to be overcome but
a brother or sister to be loved, served, and helped.
Most memorably, she was a woman of thanks, a woman grateful to the end – using her last store of energy to write notes of gratitude. To her last day, she never missed an opportunity to say “thank you” for each simple kindness, whether it was the visit of a friend or the offer of ice chips.
A special support to Pam these last six years, and for whom she was most thankful, was her sister Paula. In light of Pam’s diagnosis and treatment, they decided it would be good if Pam moved in to share Paula’s apartment. With different styles of organi-zation, this “odd couple” arrangement has been successful and mutually supportive.
Other people for whom Pam was especially grateful these last six years are Dr. Rojas and all the people who are part of his practice. From them, Pam received expert and compassionate care, loving support, and genuine interest and friendship. To them Pam extended her heartfelt thanks.
Thank you to all of her family members and friends who have been part of Pam’s life and shared her journey.
For all that has been, thanks!
For all that will be, yes!