Prominent Abbotsford veteran Andy Anderson has died at the age of 95 after losing his battle with COVID-19.
His family revealed to The News that he died on Feb. 23 after contracting the virus earlier in February.
Anderson served as a driver and mechanic with the Royal Canadian Scottish Regiment in England, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands during Second World War.
He shared his stories from the war with both the Abbotsford News and local schoolchildren throughout the Fraser Valley. He was also a member of the Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS) and the Royal Canadian Legion in Abbotsford.
In later years, Anderson formed the Abbotsford Table Tennis Club and helped grow local interest in the sport. He established the ATCC in 1998.
He was predeceased by his wife Thelma and is survived by daughter Lynnette (Guy), daughter Terri (Micheal), grandchildren Nadine (Jeffrey), Jody (Stephen), Robert & Dayna, and great grandchildren Brandyn, Eliana, Evan and Gabrielle.
Monday (March 1) was Anderson’s burial, and despite the restrictions of the pandemic, it still managed to be a special event,
Fraser River Funeral Home director/embalmer Christina Nicholson, who told The News she was inspired by the previous stories published about Anderson, arranged the arrival of seven current soldiers from the Canadian Scottish Regiment to act as pallbearers and pallbearer lead for his burial. Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon MP Brad Vis was also in attendance.
A table tennis paddle signed by many current members of the ATCC was buried with Anderson. He also received a letter from a mayor of one of the cities in the Netherlands he helped protect during WW2, thanking him for his efforts during that tumultuous time.
Anderson’s own family was unable to attend as they do not live in B.C. A celebration of his life will be planned when restrictions are lifted.
The veteran lived alone, and his family believes that someone unknowingly brought the virus into his house. Anderson began developing a bad cough on Feb. 6. He entered the COVID-19 ward of the Abbotsford Hospital on Feb. 11, tested positive for the virus on Feb. 13 and then died on Feb. 23.
His daughter Lynette Church, who lives in Ottawa, said it was difficult to watch her father struggle with the virus. She said she wishes more people took the virus seriously.
“I’d love all the people who don’t believe it’s that bad to see how he suffered with that cough,” she said. “It was so horrible and he couldn’t even swallow medication near the end.”
She said her dad was unrecognizable on the video chats they shared and that the effects of COVID-19 are terrible.
Church said she was extremely grateful for the efforts of Nicholson and that her dad would have been proud to see him remembered in such a way.
“I think he would have been thrilled,” she said. “But I know he would have wanted all his friends and everybody there but we will be doing a celebration later. Christina went above and beyond for us.”
The ATCC, which operate out of the King Road Church, plan on honouring Anderson in some way in the coming years.