Hugh "Uncle Hughie" Anderson R.I.P.
More on Wednesday-Night.com
Michael Shenker: Time ever more precious as death nears
Hugh died on Wednesday morning. Somehow, in all this experience with death, there should be a life lesson, something I can take away, a morsel of wisdom I can use to live a little more wisely, more meaningfully, to better appreciate the short-term lease I’ve been granted on planet Earth. But I can’t think of any. I know what death sounds like in a person’s lungs, true, but by the time I hear it, it’s too late. I should have called Hugh two weeks ago.
Maybe that’s the lesson he wanted to leave me with. Time is running low for all of us. And as the supply dwindles, each remaining minute becomes that much more valuable. So we have to try a little harder to spend it on the things that matter most, even if it’s just one more phone call to a friend.
ANDERSON, Hugh 1935 – 2010 Died peacefully in Montreal on March 3, 2010 at the age of seventy-four, after a short illness. Devoted father of Colin and Sarah. Beloved husband of the late Ena Lazarus. Predeceased by his parents George and Susannah of England. Brother of the late Winnie Bulmer (Joe) and George Anderson (Jean). Son-in-law of Miriam Lazarus (the late Saul). Brother-in-law of Michael Lazarus (Rosanne) and Mark Lazarus. He will be greatly missed by his nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues and friends. Funeral service will be held on Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 11 a.m. at The Mount Royal Funeral Complex. Donations may be made to Ena Lazarus Memorial Fund at the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation.
Hugh Anderson’s personal side
Changed focus; Financial journalist shared journey of grief, recovery
By JAN RAVENSBERGEN
(The Gazette) It was only during the last years of Hugh Anderson’s life that readers got to know this no-nonsense financial journalist on a personal level.
Readers were finally able to discover how evocatively Anderson could share a softer side – and help others hope and cope through the pain of loss and bereavement.
The long-time finance and economics writer, columnist and editor died yesterday in Montreal at age 74, after a battle with retroperitoneal sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
Of British working-class roots, Anderson joined The Gazette in May 1981, after finance-writing stints with the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. He became The Gazette’s widely read business columnist in 1984 – forthrightly chronicling conservative views without fear or favour – and served as business editor from late 1986 to 1990, when he turned his skills to editorial writing. On retiring from full-time journalism in late 1992, he embarked on a second career as a stockbroker and freelance writer.
Affectionately dubbed “Uncle Hughie” by his co-workers, Anderson was a man who, to outsiders anyway, for many years epitomized British reserve and sang-froid.
But, in the words yesterday of his son by his first marriage, Colin Anderson, 46, “he was very passionate about everything he did.”
That passion rose to his surface in recent years, as Anderson transformed his public face – as a hard-driving, dollars-and-cents newsman who authored three books on personal finance and taught financial journalism at Concordia University – into another, larger and quite remarkably personal dimension.
He shared with readers his journey through grief and recovery with the 17-month illness and July 2006 death of his second wife, Ena Lazarus, after their 25-year marriage. Anderson wrote of pain, sorrow and acceptance of an end to life’s journey with a remarkable clarity of prose, wisdom and helpful hints.
He gave voice to many hearts, evoking “a tremendous response from readers – many letters and emails saying how moved they were by his account and sharing their own experiences,” said Michael Shenker, a Gazette associate managing editor who commissioned Anderson’s Seniors columns. “He struck such a chord for many people who experienced their own losses.”
Anderson, a convert to Judaism, practised what he preached. He quietly served as a grief facilitator and group leader for the Hope and Cope program at the Jewish General Hospital, after going through the program himself and sharing the experience with readers.
In early January, Anderson also shared his cancer diagnosis of last August – the illness that ultimately took his life at 11:40 a.m. yesterday at St. Mary’s Hospital. That followed several difficult weeks of decline after months of relatively symptom-free living on what Anderson – with characteristic equanimity, in one of his final columns – called “the knowledge that one is on borrowed time.”
“Curiously,” he advised, “it’s not as depressing as you might think, at least when you have already reached your 70s.”
“As Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous prayer asks: ‘God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.’ ”
Born Sept. 13, 1935, in Manchester, England, he was a talented Church of England choirboy and bell-ringer in his youth. On National Service with the British army, he patrolled barbed-wire fences in the Sinai Desert in 1955, in the dead of night, equipped with a Sten gun and, in the words of his son, “not terrified, but a little bit scared.” Anderson was a lifelong military buff, fascinated by the U.S. Civil War.
Bitten by the student-newspaper bug during never-completed law studies at the University of London, he emigrated to Canada with his first wife, Freda Hammond, who survives him, in 1965.
“He was a socialist in his 20s and became a conservative in his 40s,” Colin Anderson said.
“He loved his liberal children and his liberal wife,” added Sarah Anderson, 26, his daughter by his second marriage.