Friends, family say goodbye to Anderson with memorial

Photos of Jason Anderson's family and friends were on display at the memorial on Saturday. Flower arrangements surrounded one of his uniforms and hard hats.

BAY CITY - Russell Hicks had a hard time getting the words out to describe what Jason Anderson meant to him.

"He was my best friend, my best man and I will miss him," Hicks said Saturday, as he tried to hold back tears at Anderson's memorial service at First Baptist Church.

Anderson was a toolpusher and one of the 11 who died in the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon explosion in April.

Where friends and family met eight years ago for the wedding of Jason and his wife, Shelley, people now met to share stories, tears and memories.

"If he were here today, he would see how many people cared and loved him," said Clyde Grier, pastor of Midfield Community Church, where Anderson was a member.

Friends remembered the 35-year-old as a hard worker who loved his family and the outdoors. He also loved to make people laugh.

"Anderson was the kind of friend who was always there for anyone that needed him," said Mike Zimmerman, pastor of First Baptist church.

The family chose not to speak at the ceremony and to the Advocate; however, a letter his father, Billy, wrote was read by Tom Morgan, who helped Anderson get a job at Transocean 15 years ago.

People have been asking Billy what kind of person Jason was, said Morgan.

"He was a person who put everyone's needs and well-being before himself. He always made sure that others were taken care of before he took care of himself," he said.

Jason proved that on April 20. He was doing his job and in the process he and the other 10 crewmates saved 115 lives, he said.

Suzan Thompson, who is a justice of the peace for Precinct 2 in Matagorda, and Anderson's mother-in-law, played a special piano musical tribute.

Country music played during the slide show displaying pictures of him with friends, family and coworkers.

"Jason was the kind of friend that would try to make you laugh, even when you felt like everything around you seemed to be going wrong," said Robert Dwight, Anderson's high school principal.

If he was around, you knew there was going to be laughter, Dwight said.

"We should remember him for as long as we can talk, breath, dance, we will remember," he said.