FormerBlaine mayor Anderson dies at 86

Published on Thu, Feb 1, 2007 by ack Kintner

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Former Blaine mayor Anderson dies at 86

By Jack Kintner

James G. “Andy” Anderson, former Blaine mayor and city councilman, died on January 22, 2007, at the age of 86.
The WW II veteran was a member of the American Legion, the Masons and was a Shriner. Over the years he owned and operated several restaurants beginning with a Spudnut (doughnut) shop on Railroad Avenue in Bellingham selling pastries made from wheat from his native state of Montana. His store was next door to a shoe store managed by Murray Goff, who said “We shared a back door.”

Once in Blaine, Anderson opened the Border Cafe, later called the New Border Cafe, located near the old Bordertown Tavern. He built buildings downtown with his Anderson and Peterson Construction Company and for many years ran Anderson Jewelry, located next door to where Big Al’s Diner now stands on D street.

Locals who remember Anderson seem to agree that he had a forceful personality that not everyone got along with but was definitely one of Blaine’s more colorful characters.

“He was an interesting guy, someone who was always nice to me,” said Tony Andrews of Tony’s Just-a-Bite, “always good for a story and very active in Blaine.”

Former Blaine restaurant owner Art Lawrenson said that despite their differences, “in the end, after all was said and done, he was a friend.”

As mayor, Anderson once faced a mini-rebellion when the police chief resigned and other civic officials threatened to quit over his leadership style. Instead, Anderson quit and Lawrenson took over, and the police chief returned.

“He could be bull-headed like all of us, but overall we got along all right,” said Lawrenson. “When he had his restaurant down near where West Marine is today, a building he built, he had a great Chinese cook named Nick and sold American food on the top floor and Chinese food on the lower floor. Nick liked to spend half his time talking with the customers, making them feel welcome, and the other half in the kitchen. They argued over money later on, so Andy told Nick he could do the cooking himself, but the restaurant was never the same after that.”

Anderson was born in Montana on March 27, 1920, and was 86 years old. He is survived by his children Jim Anderson of Bellingham; Sally Bendschneider of Florida and Katherine Jensen of Montana. In addition to his wife Elizabeth, he survived two other sons, Paul and Patrick Anderson. Memorial Services were held last Saturday, January 27th at the United Church of Christ in Blaine. Memorials may be sent to the Heritage House Assisted Living Memorial Garden Fund, 5370 Barrett Road, Ferndale, WA 98248, or to Whatcom County Hospice.