Jo Anderson danced her way
into the 21st Century and is still going strong. The 94-year-old is
living life to the fullest and would not do it any other way.
Anderson graduated from the
Practical Nursing program at Southeast Community College in 1990 at the age of
67. Prior to that she earned her physical therapist degree from the College of
William & Mary in 1946. Now Anderson is taking dancing and acting classes
through SCC’s Continuing Education Division. She never stops learning.
“It’s especially important to
do things like this when you’re older for balance and social interaction,” said
Gail Ogden, SCC dance instructor. “She has a great attitude, and it
demonstrates that you’re never too old.”
Ogden says many women take
the Beginning Tap class numerous times because they enjoy dancing and the
friendships they develop along the way.
“It’s very social, and that’s
what adult education is about, making new connections and having fun,” she
This isn’t Anderson’s first
time on the dance floor. She taught ballroom dancing in the 1940s and later was
part of the Shim Sham dance group that performed at halftime during Husker
“Everything about dancing is
fun,” Anderson said. “I like to move to the music.”
Her daughter, Lori,
accompanies her every week to the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church where they take
part with a dozen other women in Beginning Tap Dance for Adults. On this
particular day, she wore one of her costumes from her days as a Shim Sham
dancer. Lori takes her mother on many of life’s adventures.“Three years ago at
the Nebraska Cornhusker spring game, she participated in a flash mob dance and
had a brief solo in it,” she recalled. “Two years ago we went sky-diving for
her 92nd birthday in Weeping Water.”
She also took her to the Paul
McCartney concert when he was in Lincoln a few years ago.
“She stood the whole time and
danced,” Lori recalled. “She loved it!”
Jo originally started nursing
school in 1941 but changed her career course to become a physical therapist.
“Someone saw her teaching
swimming lessons and told her she’d be a good PT,” Lori said. “Training time
was shorter, so she changed her major. At the time she’d never heard of
But she never lost sight of
wanting to become a nurse. Anderson worked at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital
and took care of patients younger than her, according to Lori.
Jo was married 66 years to
her husband, Ferd. They lived all over the country and came to Nebraska in 1976
so he could be close to his family. They had seven children together, as well
as five foster children. He died four years ago and while she misses him
terribly, she doesn’t let life slow her down.
“It doesn’t seem like any
time at all,” she said about her 94 years on earth.