Car show brings joy to a dying man

First Posted: 7/21/2014

LIMA — Last night, friends and family of Joi David Anderson gathered for a last hoorah of sorts. Two of his closest friends put together a car and tractor show for a last celebration with their friend.

To say that Anderson is beloved would be an understatement. Called “Davey” by his friends, Anderson is praised by everyone who talks about him. As his friend Phil Dotson said, Anderson does not have an enemy in the world.

Anderson has stage 4 brain and lung cancer, according to his son-in-law Rick Roberts. The party was scheduled for Thursday, but after Anderson expressed concerns he wouldn’t make it until then, Dotson and Clayton Macklin threw the party together Monday.

The scene was idyllic. Antique cars and tractors lined the yard in front of and next to the white barn, out of which flowed classic country music, something Anderson loved, according to Macklin. Family and friends walked around, talking, laughing and sharing memories.

“I’d do anything for him,” Macklin said, so when Anderson said he wanted a car show, Macklin and Dotson made it happen.

Anderson loved pulling antique tractors and would do it despite any injury or any amount of pain he was in, his daughter, Deb Roberts, said. He even made it on the cover of The Hook, a magazine about tractor pulling, in September 1999. Deb Roberts showed off the framed cover at the event Monday night.

A farmer and a factory worker, Anderson worked very hard his entire life, Deb Roberts said. He taught her and her sister, Val Kuenzli, a lot about work ethic, something they emulate in their careers, Roberts as a public health nurse and Kuenzli’s as an EMT.

“He made a lot of people laugh. Quite a character, that’s for sure,” Deb Roberts said.

One thing Anderson asked his daughters to do at the party was give all the attendees one of his trophies, of which he has hundreds, Deb Roberts said.

Macklin has known Anderson about 10 years. He said that he and Anderson get along so well because when Anderson would try to “get under his skin,” Macklin would never let him.

“He’s closer to me than a brother,” Macklin said. He praised Anderson’s daughters for taking such good care of him.

Dotson reminisced and laughed with friends at the party about his many memories of Anderson’s jokes and pranks, like turning off the gas on his friends’ tractors during races. Dotson called Anderson the “No. 1 prankster.”

“He’s the man that had fun. This is the man that enjoyed life,” Dotson said.

He and many of their friends would meet at Lickity Split in Lima regularly, where Dotson said Anderson loved to pick on everyone.

“He’s my best friend,” Dotson said.

Dotson has been declining over the past few days, according to Rick Roberts.

“This is what he needed. It made him smile,” Rick Roberts said.

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