Paola mourns Andy Anderson, 92-year-old man who wandered from nursing home

He was found dead near wife's home

PAOLA, Kan. - Paola is a mid-sized community, of a little more than 5000 people, with a small town feel.

Neighbors here know each other and look out for each other.

So when news got out Tuesday morning that 92-year-old Andy Anderson was found dead in a wooded area, people were devastated.

"I went in my office and cried," Paula Hambleton said. "He was a great gentleman and he was always so nice to people."

Hambleton worked with Anderson at the Price Chopper in Paola. Anderson was a part-time employee who retired three times before finally calling it quits two years ago. He bagged groceries there.

"Even after he retired, he would come in the store and make sure he spoke to all the employees," Hambleton said.

Anderson had been living at the Country Club Estates Retirement Center in Paola for about three months. His family said he had dementia.

When Anderson left the home Monday evening and did not return, police were called. Dozens of people came out to search.

One of them was Anderson's pastor, Kevin Ross, of Journey Church.

"People had flashlights and were looking in the woods and some people were driving in their cars looking for him," Ross said. "He was such a great man and a kind man and funny to be around."

Ross said Anderson wanted to go home, but couldn't. His body was found about a mile from where his wife lives.

"I think Andy was probably trying to get home," Ross said.

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