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After family and community, Jim Anderson didn’t have ‘a second left’

In this edition of Journeys, we look at the life of Jim Anderson: volunteer, organizer, curler and dedicated Rotarian
Jim Anderson, who was involved in many community organizations, passed away last month.

Growing up on a farm in the Wingham area, Jim Anderson learned a lot about the importance of community involvement – something he brought with when he moved to Guelph and raised a family here.

Anderson, 89, passed away on April 15, surrounded by loved ones, following repeated bouts of pneumonia in addition to his lifelong struggle with diabetes.

“He was humble and a compassionate, giving kind of guy,” said his son, Jeff Anderson. “When you grow up on a farm, it’s all about community and I think that just transfers. His family was very giving as well.”

Jim first moved to Guelph to study at the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph, then returned to the city for good after earning an engineering degree at the University of Toronto.

He married Delvia, a Bell Canada operator, in 1958 and they had two children – son Jeff and daughter Marian. The couple was married for 65 years prior to Jim’s passing.

Jim spent much of his working life at Armtec, Jeff said, noting he was involved in building an airport in Cuba as well as the Guelph Curling Club, among many other projects.

He went on to serve as the club’s president and became a member for life.

“The curling club was huge to him. He curled right up until about a month before he died,” said Jeff. 

In addition to being an active curler, Jim spent 31 years as a volunteer with the Guelph Rotary Club. Following his retirement in 2022, he was awarded an honorary lifetime membership.

“At our rotary club, Jim was an active volunteer throughout his years and led tree planting for many years as ‘Sunny’ Jim along with Larry ‘Red’ Kelly,” reads a statement posted to the club’s website. “May Jim's memory and example of service inspire us all!”

“I’ll bet he planted tens of thousands of trees in the Guelph area,” Jeff added.

Jim’s contributions to the community stretched deeper. He volunteered to drive patients to out of town hospitals, served on the city’s committee of adjustment, coached minor fastball, was active with Dublin United Church and was a founding member of Guelph SLO Pitch.

“He was a great ball player. He grew up playing ball,” said Jeff, who had his father for a coach during his early teenage baseball years.  “That’s what they grew up on in farm country, so he was quite good.”

Between his family life and community contributions, “there wasn’t a second left,” Jeff said of his father’s busy life. “He was totally involved in everything.”

A celebration of Jim’s life was held last weekend, which drew about 45 close family members.

“If we invited one (person outside the family), we would have had to invite thousands because he gave so much to everyone,” his son said. “It would have been just too much for my mother.”