INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Former Marion County Sheriff Frank J. Anderson died peacefully at his home Saturday morning, the sheriff’s office said.
Anderson, who served two terms as sheriff from 2003 – 2011, was the first Black sheriff of Marion County. He was also twice appointed the United States Marshal for the Southern District of Indiana, serving from 1977 – 1981 and 1994 – 2001.
“I can’t give you a one-line quote to sum up the life of Frank J. Anderson,” Sheriff Kerry Forestal said. “He was so important to our community. Over the last 60 years, his direction and example in law enforcement – both at the federal and local levels – has positively influenced and affected the lives of many, many people. It certainly has mine. He will be truly missed.”
Anderson, born in 1938, grew up in Indianapolis and attended Shortridge High School, where he became the state wrestling champion. He was later inducted into the high school wrestling hall of fame.
After graduating in 1956, Anderson joined the United States Navy, where he served until 1959. He joined the Marion County Sheriff’s Office in 1961 and was the first Black deputy assigned to the Road Patrol division.
During his time as a U.S. Marshal, he helped create and lead the Federal Witness Protection Program, aided in ending the 92-day standoff at the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, and oversaw the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
“Frank Anderson was a trailblazer and force for good in Indianapolis. As Sheriff and U.S. Marshal, he sought to unite residents to promote safety throughout the community. We should all aspire to his example of lifelong service,” Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett said on Twitter.
Anderson is survived by his wife of six decades, Mercedes, his children, Henry and Franché, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He also recently published a book of poetry called “Lines & Rhymes.”