Skip to main content

Anderson, Leola Seely, 1910-1968



  • Existence: 1910 - 1968

Biographical History

Leola Seely Anderson was born on June 19, 1910, to Arta McLean Seely and Alfaretta Neff in what is now Salt Lake City, Utah. She was the fourth of five children and the second of two daughters.

Seely excelled in school and subsequently skipped several grades, graduating high school in 1927. She attended Brigham Young University (BYU) and graduated with a degree in education in 1933. After graduation, she moved to Brigham City, where her family then lived, and taught there for several years – notably teaching the eventual President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Boyd K. Packer who referred to her as “My dear little teacher!”.

Seely returned to BYU for a master's degree and met H. Duane Anderson, whom she married on June 2, 1936. Together, they had two sons: Richard Bryan in 1941 and Duane Brent in 1945. The family lived in Price, where Richard was born, and Ogden, where Brent was born, before moving to San Bernardino, California.

In California, Seely taught English at San Bernardino Valley College with her husband. Seely published several short stories while living in California. During this time, she began work with Boyd K. Packer on the creation of an early morning seminary for LDS high school students (which is still instituted today). In 1963, she and Duane headed a BYU study abroad that toured Europe.

In early spring of 1967, Duane Anderson was called to serve as the mission president of the LDS France Mission. The couple arrived in France in June of 1967. A year later, on June 16, 1968, while returning from business in the south of France, their car was struck by a speeding vehicle that had swerved into their lane, and Seely was killed.

Citation:, via WWW, Apr. 22, 2016 (born in East Millcreek, Utah, June 19, 1910; youngest daughter of Arta McLean Seely and Alfaretta Neff; grew up in Brigham City, Utah; taught school while young; graduated from Utah State Agricultural College in Logan, Utah, and from Brigham Young University; married H. Duane Anderson in Salt Lake City in 1936; worked as staff writer and photographer for Salt Lake Tribune around 1940; mother of two sons; active in literary circles, lifelong writer and published author; moved to San Bernardino, California in 1946, taught English at San Bernardino Valley Union junior College; influential in organization of eraly morning Seminary for LDS high school students in 1950s, also Institute; accompanied husband when called to Paris as president of French LDS Mission, 1967-1970; killed in car accident after one year's service, just before birthday, in Bazas, France)

rootsweb, June 9, 2016 (Leola Seely Anderson (1910-1968), A Centenary Appreciation; by her sons, Richard Bryan Anderson and Duane Brent Anderson)

Leola Seely Anderson family papers, 1900-2000 (Leola Seely Anderson; Leola S. Anderson)

Relief Society magazine, May 1963 : page 360 (Leola Seely Anderson, author of article "As the heart grows")

Improvement era, January 1960 : ǂb page 22 (Leola S. Anderson, author of article "The house in the valley")

Toronto star, May 1947 ǂb (Leola Seely, author of article "My husband calls on Fridays")

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Leola Seely Anderson family papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 9238
Scope and Contents

Contains letters, cards, family histories, photographs, reel-to-reel tapes, and various realia pertaining to the life of Leola Seely Anderson, her husband H. Duane Anderson, and their two sons (Richard Bryan Anderson and Duane Brent Anderson). Dated approximately 1910 to 2010.

Dates: approximately 1910-2010

Richard B. Anderson papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8430
Content Description Collection contains correspondence between Anderson and his parents as well as other family members. Other letters included are from various family members to other family members and document their lives at the time including school, work, family life, and missions. Also included are newspaper clippings and articles particularly related to Richard's parents (H. Duane and Leola Seely Anderson) and their service as mission president and matron in the French Mission, and a diary kept by his...
Dates: 1918-1991