After a courageous almost-5-year battle with stage 4 colon cancer, James Benton “J.B.” Anderson II passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones at his home in Leesburg, Virginia on Saturday, May 30 (shortly after midnight).
J.B. was born on December 4, 1947 to Shirley and Harold Anderson. He was raised in Leesburg, graduating from Loudoun County High School in 1966, and spending most of his life in the fire service. The grandson of Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company member and Loudoun County Fire & Rescue dispatcher James “Big Jim” Anderson, J.B. grew up amongst the old timers of the LVFC and discovered his passion for firefighting and leadership.
After graduating high school, J.B. joined the Fire Company and shortly thereafter left town to serve four years in the Air Force as a nuclear weapons specialist with the 509th Bomb Wing of the 8th Air Force. He had the distinction of being one of the very few who had ever diffused a live nuclear bomb.
While in the Air Force, J.B. was still running calls with the Fire Company whenever he came home on leave. After his honorable discharge in 1970, he returned home and back to the Fire Company. He held various roles in the Fire Company throughout the years, from Captain to Assistant Chief to Chief, along with Vice President and Board of Directors. He served as the Company parliamentarian on and off for over forty years and was a Company Photographer, taking thousands of photos and videos of Company operations.
As a Fire Marshal with the County, J.B. had investigated a fatal house fire in which a woman and her child died. He would never forget this experience and dedicated his life to teaching fire safety. He organized visits to schools, made up his own fire prevention coloring books to hand out, and produced public service messages on WAGE radio. He taught countless numbers of students young and old throughout his life at the fire house, schools, career days, community events, and other instructors. J.B. earned two associate degrees from Northern Virginia Community College in Electrical Engineering and Applied Fire Science. He was an instructor with the Virginia Department of Fire Programs for close to half a century.
With 52 years of service in the Fire Company, he was a recipient of too many awards to list but one of his proudest moments came in 2017, when the Fire Company honored him by dedicating the new Pierce Enforcer engine in his name.
As a photographer, J.B. always had a camera in his hand, a smile on his face, and a great story to tell. He played church softball and later moved into umpiring softball. He loved all things trains, from model trains to watching them in real life with his friends and family. As a HAM radio operator, he talked with people around the world and was proficient in Morse code. J.B. had a soft spot for all animals, from his cats, dogs, duck, and horse, to feeding the wildlife in his backyard. He cherished family travels to beaches and amusement parks and various attractions.
J.B. is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Jill Anderson; his oldest son and daughter-in-law, James Benton III and Brandy Anderson; his daughter and son-in-law, Amanda Lynn and Michael Peretich; his youngest son, Brian Matthew Anderson; his newborn grandson, Sebastian William Anderson; extended family, and many extraordinary friends.
The family will receive visitors on Tuesday, June 9 from 6:00PM to 8:00PM at Colonial Funeral Home. A funeral procession through downtown Leesburg is scheduled for Wednesday, June 10 at 1:00PM before a graveside service and burial in Union Cemetery at 1:30PM.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company.
[Colonial Funeral Home]