Rosemary Anderson, former executive director of the Portland Opportunities Industrial Center and the founder and namesake of Rosemary Anderson High School, is being remembered for her advocacy for Portland youth after passing away March 15. She was 88 years old.
Anderson was long associated with serving under represented at- risk youth in and around the communities of Portland.
Born Nov. 20, 1930 in Denver, Colo., she moved to Portland in 1949 with her husband and children. She was employed by POIC from its inception in 1967, and in 1980 was appointed executive director. During her time at the organization’s helm, she launched several non-profit, community-based, independent, skill training centers for adults, and went on to establish alternative middle and high school education for gang-impacted youth. The schools were accredited in 1991, and upon her retirement in 2000, Rosemary Anderson High School was formally named in her honor.
“It is astonishing to realize the impact she had on our most at-risk youth in her career, all while raising her family,” says POIC + RAHS President and CEO Joe McFerrin II. “As her grandson, I’m still amazed at how she pulled that off with such grace. Each and every day, I’m inspired to live up to her legacy.”
Today, Rosemary Anderson High School’s five campuses, ranging from the New Columbia area near St. John’s, to Gresham, currently serve over 700 students a year with education, job training, internships, employment opportunities, parental classes, and certifications. RAHS has been recognized as one of the of top alternative high school programs in the state.
Through her career, Anderson was affiliated with the NAACP, the Portland chapter of LINKS, Inc., Black Women’s Network, and the National Association for Female Executives, Inc., among others.
Anderson is survived by 8 children (proceeded in death by one child), 15 grandchildren including Mr. McFerrin, and 25 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be Friday, March 29 at Bethel AME Church, 5828 N.E. Eighth Ave., from 4-7 p.m. Funeral services will take place at Life Change Church, 3635 N. Williams Ave., will be Saturday, March 30 at 1 p.m.