Liz Anderson has accomplished an enviable amount in life. Born in Decatur in 1927, she was one of eight siblings and says her parents were “just wonderful.” After graduating from Herring Street High School, she fulfilled her longtime dream of becoming a cosmetologist, a career that happened to work well with her husband’s occupation. George, whom Liz met at Herring Street, became a barber after attending Morehouse. The two married in July of 1948.
For 19 years, Liz got to do something she truly loved. Along the way, she also had a son, Michael and a daughter, Cheryl. For many people, that would be enough success. Not Liz, though. After almost two decades in one career, she made a major switch: she joined Emory as a medical assistant — and worked there until she retired 27 years later! But she still wasn’t through. Shortly after she retired, an oncologist that she had worked for coaxed her back to assist him with his cancer patients three days a week because of her work ethic and love for her patients.
“I loved both of my careers,” she says. “I have always loved people and loved helping people. That’s the greatest joy in my life: to add some joy to other people’s lives.”
Liz says she’s had a lot of joy in her own life, too, but there have also been some tough times. At 35, years of standing as a cosmetologist caught up with her in the form of serious back problems and her doctor advised her that she’d never walk again.
“I said ‘that’s okay because God can do what no man can do,’” she says. “I knew, with God’s help, I could do it. Three days later, he was surprised to find me up and walking around. I wasn’t surprised though. I knew.”
Liz also survived a fight with breast cancer in 2007, and her husband of 38 years passed away when Liz was just 58.
“Respect yourself and maintain your pride and dignity. If you don’t respect yourself, no one will. And be good to yourself. Just live a decent and healthy life. And make God your best friend because He truly is mine.”
“I’ve had a lot of mountains to climb,” she admits, “but the Lord has always helped me climb them. Never forget that God is always there for you and is someone who always cares. He will help.”
Recently, Liz, now 91, moved into a private apartment at Heartis Assisted Living in Fayetteville.
“I always said that, when I got old, I wanted to live on my own, not with one of the children,” she says. “And I just love it here. The place is so nice and I can walk every day, and play Scrabble and Bingo. I love to watch game shows and read. I just love life and love people. I have not had one sad day since I’ve been here.”
Liz says one of the things she’s most proud of is her children. Her son, who passed earlier this year, graduated from Emory. Her daughter Cheryl, who lives 15 minutes away and visits nearly every day, graduated from UGA. Liz has three grandkids and six great-grandchildren.
“I did what I wanted to do in life and I was happy,” she says, “but I wanted my children to excel even more. And they did. They truly did. I am so proud of them.”
“Ms. Anderson has drafted the culture of Heartis Fayetteville without even knowing it. We all aim to be kind and improve the lives of others; just as she does with everyone she encounters.” – Schwan Morawsky
Those who know her best are proud of her too.
“She is strong, kind, and God-filled. You can tell just the way she commands a room without even saying a thing that something is different about her, says her nominator, Schwan Morawsky. “She has the traits I pray to have when I’m 91 years old!”
Liz, however, believes she’s the one who’s blessed.
“I’m so grateful,” she says. “God is and has been good to me. I’ve had a good life.”