Donald Royce Anderson, owner of Anderson Manufacturing Inc in Camilla, Georgia, died in a crash of his private plane in Decatur County on February 16. He was 50.
Decatur County Sheriff's officials say Anderson was killed on impact when his single-engine prop airplane crashed on his property on Eula Mills Road, near Vada.
Anderson Manufacturing Inc. is one of the largest trailer, truck body, and equipment manufacturers in the Southeast and builds a product line serving the farming, construction, industrial, and consumer markets.
Anderson founded the company in 1988 at age 21. He had been employed as a welder, but was weary of working for a company when he knew he had the entrepreneurial savvy to start his own. He had built a few tow dollies and pulled them around to dealers in a bid to sell them. Most of them told him they weren't interested in them, but would be interested in buying some single- and tandem-axle trailers in the 16-foot-and-under range. The market was there, since customers in southwest Georgia had to wait up to six weeks for dealers in the area to receive a load of trailers.
Trailer/Body Builders profiled Anderson Manufacturing in 2002, describing how the company rebounded from a devastating tornado in 2000 to emerge even stronger. The F3 tornado blasted a four-county area, leaving 18 people dead and hundreds of homes and businesses flattened. The only thing left standing on Anderson’s property was a 20-foot section of office space that had just been built.
In 2001, the first full year in the new facility, the company improved its sales by 12% in a market that was down by over 40%. By the beginning of 2002, Anderson was producing 130 trailers a week, or 40 more than it was before the tornado.
Anderson’s funeral service was February 22 at Calvary Baptist Church and he was laid to rest at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Ronald McDonald House at: Atlanta RMHC, Inc., 795 Gatewood Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30329.