HOUSTON -- Friends, family and co-workers of Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson paid tribute to a devoted public servant, a man of faith and a man who found so many things in his life “marvelous” that it became perhaps his favorite and most-used word.
“He was marvelous,” said his friend and fellow attorney Paul Schiffer. “If my children and my grandchildren can grow up and be just like Mike Anderson that would be marvelous.”
Anderson, 57, died last weekend after a sudden and swift battle with cancer. Elected by a landslide in November, he began his service as Harris County District Attorney in January. By May, he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“This was a fighter. This was a warrior,” said life-long friend Mike Massey. “God gained another angel named Michael, Biblical, the Archangel, the warrior, the fighter. And I’m just so glad that I call him a friend.”
Anderson, after a 28-year career as a prosecutor and criminal court judge, was considering full retirement when he decided to run for Harris County DA. His friends say the man who had devoted his life to public service wanted to re-invigorate the office and make a difference.
His first assistant Belinda Hill, who will take his place until an election next year, said that’s exactly what he did his entire career.
“We’re sad because we loved a kind and generous man,” said Hill. “But the sadness was lessened slightly by the comforting thought that we knew a truly remarkable man.”
“He thought he was ordinary,” said Schiffer. “We on the other hand we realize he was extraordinary.”
“It’s hard to say goodbye to a friend,” said Anderson’s pastor Jeff Smith. “I love you Mike.”
The memorial service Friday at First Presbyterian Church in the Museum District ended with a gospel/bluegrass rendition of “I’ll Fly Away.” Smith called it fitting for a man who at his core considered himself a country boy, an outdoorsman and a man with a deep Christian faith.
Anderson is survived by a large extended family including the people he called the most “marvelous” of all: his wife and 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter.