MR. KEITH D. ANDERSON
Peacefully at the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge on Thursday January 21, 2021 in his 94th year.
Keith Anderson, beloved husband of the late Joan Anderson (nee Hill).
Dear father of Stephen Anderson (Alice den Otter).
Loving grandfather of Adam and Stephanie Anderson.
Survived by sisters-in-law Dody Magee and Kay Stephenson.
Keith will be missed by his Hill and Anderson nieces and nephews and will be fondly remembered by his many other relatives, friends and his hunting and fishing buddies.
When growing up Keith lived in many places in Ontario, from South Porcupine to Toronto, to St. Thomas, to Trenton. He even lived in Edmonton for a short time. However, Sundridge was always home to him. As a young boy he was quite athletic, swimming across Lake Bernard (2 miles) at least twice, perhaps inspired by the Girls’ Camp on the opposite shore. While at the Sundridge Boys’ Camp, during a competition between Sundridge and Cecebe, Keith caught the eye of the coach of the American swim team, who wanted him to join the US swim team. His mom wouldn’t let him go.
When he was 16, he went to the CNE grounds in Toronto to sign up to join the war effort. Because he was too young, he was sent home. So, instead, he became a clerk, scaler, gopher, and eventually guard at Prisoner of War camps 10, 16, and 17 near South River.
The camps were built in sections, and were dismantled when they finished logging that area and moved to a new location. Later, he bought several of those panels and used the lumber to build his first house on John St. in Sundridge.
He had a wide variety of jobs throughout his life, but was best known for his excellent carpentry. He built 128 houses in Peterborough and many homes in the Sundridge area. One of his greatest accomplishments was helping to build the hospital in Moosonee in the late 1940s.
When he settled in Sundridge, he started Anderson Windows, which was a division of Anderson Lumber. Keith was a trustworthy and smart business man, travelling across Ontario as a salesman for Anderson Windows and, later, General Sales Manager at Woodor Limited and Family Fireplaces.
As a young man, he met Joan Hill in Sundridge and was instantly smitten. He would go to church in order to see her. He refused to get married until they had enough money to build a house, so it took them 6-7 years to get to the altar. They made their home in Sundridge, and with the addition of their son Steve, moved to Lake Bernard in 1972, where he lived and gardened for the remainder of his life. Every now and then, they would travel to locations, enjoying Antigua, Hawaii. Keith always intended to go back to Maui someday. Joan enjoyed travelling with Keith so much, she even went with him to Grassy Lake, in Quebec, for fishing trips.
Keith and Joan loved to entertain and their home was always full of family, friends, and neighbours, laughing and telling stories around the player piano, beside the campfire, or at the hunting camp. Many bonfires by the lake were enjoyed with laughter and tall tales. Keith was a natural storyteller – some true, some exaggerated (including claims of having seen a UFO). He was a constant practical joker, nailing cookies to the wall, gluing shoes to the floor, and pretending to tap a hydro pole for maple syrup. He happily cheated at euchre, although he had a serious work ethic and was an honest business man. He loved to be surrounded by people, holding court while people held on to every word of his non-stop stories.
Although Keith was a gentleman’s gentleman, he was an outdoors enthusiast. He spent many hours with his son Steve and his nephews Jim and Ron snowmobiling (including one wintry unintentional polar dip), hunting, fishing, cutting wood, and ATVing. He also spent a lot of time in the summer teaching everyone, including his nieces, how to water ski. When not outdoors, he could be found watching boxing on TV or playing cards at his hunt camp. In later years, the Harry May Lake Hunt Camp became a social center for Keith and his nephews, great nephews, in-laws, and friends. The fish, deer, and moose populations are likely to make a significant comeback now that he is gone.
Also, in his later years, Keith continued to tend his garden and loved to write silly poems for his grandchildren Adam and Stephanie. He spent many hours with his great nephew Keith, going fishing and teaching him carpentry skills.
In his mid-eighties, Keith finally decided to retire from building houses and concentrated full time on looking after his wife and gardening. After the passing of Joan, he still continued occasional hunting and fishing. Last year, Keith was still starting his own tomatoes and squash from seeds and growing them in containers on his deck. Even last month he was preparing to order new seeds for his garden in the spring.
Three years ago, Steve brought home his new partner Alice, to whom Keith was able to tell all of his stories, some of which she was able to document. Although he approved of Alice immediately, Keith suddenly announced a few months ago that she was welcome into the Anderson family. Two other ladies in his life were his beloved cats, Bailey and Miss Kitty, who kept him company for many years in his retirement.
Keith will be missed by Steve and Alice, Adam and Stephanie, family and friends. The family wishes to thank everyone in the community who helped Keith remain independent and comfortable over the last few years. Special thanks to Sasha, Wayne, and Donna, for their kind and generous support over the years. Dad enjoyed your visits to hear his stories and share chocolate milk, jelly beans, and tea.
A celebration of Keith's life will be held at a later date.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Opatovsky Funeral Home - Moore Chapel, 9 Paget Street in Sundridge.
If desired, memorial donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or the Almaguin Pet Rescue would be sincerely appreciated by the family.
May Keith’s fishing lines never get tangled again and his compass always find the way home.
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