@classical963fm So so sorry to hear of Bill Anderson’s passing. He was such a nice man – the Jukebox always cheered me up because of his good humour.
In case you missed it, this Friday is Bill Anderson’s last shift on Neoclassical FM. After nearly 60 years in broadcasting, he is retiring to enjoy time with his family and traveling.
Over the past week, we’ve heard countless listeners thank Bill’s livestream, share their memories, and wish him all the best.
Thank you so much for sharing all these emotions with us. We wish Bill and his family all the best on the next adventure of his life.
William Neville Anderson: Veteran. Typewriter. broadcaster. grandfather. Born March 6, 1922 in St. John; died September 9, 2020 in Goderich, Ontario. natural causes; 98.
Bill Anderson’s voice was made for radio, and this deep, resonant voice stayed with him into his 90s. He also has the gift of being able to draw you into his circle, which served him well in the early broadcasts.
He loved radio, and when he was a student at St. John’s High School, he joined the city’s only radio station and created a following.
Bill also enjoyed bridge and met his future wife Elizabeth (Betty) Kinsman at the poker table. They were married in 1943 at the age of 21. Bill and Betty honeymoon at Camp Petawawa, where Bill has to report for military training.
Bill wrote to Betty frequently overseas, where he saw action as a reinforcement officer in France, Belgium and the Netherlands as captain of the 96th Anti-Tank Gun Company.
After the war, he was asked to continue as an army liaison officer, dealing with newspaper and radio reporters. The job also saw him participate in the trial of Kurt Meyer and the war crimes trials of Goring and Hess.
When he returned to St John, he and Betty formed a family and welcomed three daughters, Margaret, Susan and Sarah. He also joined CFBC Radio as a broadcaster and interviewed many Canadian politicians and even the United States at the time. Senator John F. Kennedy. “It was the days of peace and prosperity. There was no TV, and all the excitement was about the mobile radio,” Bill often recalls. He also joined the militia and was promoted to lieutenant colonel before retiring.
In 1958, his family moved to Toronto, where he got a job in public relations and communications.
In 1993, Bill and Betty moved to Goderidge, Ontario, to be with Susan, who was diagnosed with cancer. He enjoys getting to know his grandchildren and great-grandchildren better and teaching them how to play poker. He has his own custom board and takes the game seriously, “even with a seven-year-old,” said his granddaughter Victoria, adding that he was a terrible loser and a gloating winner.
Another granddaughter, Barbara, described him as a kind but complex person who was hard to get to know, but underneath it all, he had a kind heart. “He was a feminist long before it was popular, and he treated us as equals at the dinner table even when we were very young.”
Bill devoted most of his time to philanthropy, and in addition to receiving military medals, he was awarded the Knights of Grace, the Most Revered Order of St. John’s Hospital in Jerusalem, and the French Legion of Honor. He has read for CNIB every Thursday for 20 years and is a popular lay reader in church.
Bill loves seafood, especially lobster and fish chowder, and will go out of his way to eat lobster rolls. Every winter, he can’t wait until the May long weekend to go on an annual fishing trip to the Blind River in northern Ontario. He tied his own flies until he was 90 years old.
He played well in his 80s and survived four heart attacks. Bill never liked being separated from Betty, so he also moved into the local hospice to be with her when her health was failing.
In later years, Bill enjoyed sitting on his back porch eating bird food and peanuts to attract wildlife. Before the end of the summer, he would eat with a bluejay or two in hand.
The rigor of his speech is not often heard today, and is admired for the use of proper English. As long as he could fit it into the conversation, he would quote Churchill. But his vocal talent didn’t extend to his singing. It was the only abnormal thing in his life.