Dave Anderson, a founder of Gainesville’s only Spanish-language newspaper and a former North Hall High School coach, died Wednesday. He was 75.
Anderson, who along with his wife, Haydee, started the bilingual community newspaper Mexico Lindo in 1990 will be remembered today in a service at First Presbyterian Church, where he was a member for nearly 40 years.
Friends who paid their respects at a visitation Friday remembered Anderson as a man who seemed to be everywhere and always looked out for the disadvantaged.
Anderson was born in South Dakota and grew up in Florida. His family moved to Helen in the 1950s.
After graduating from Piedmont College in Demorest, Anderson taught chemistry at North Hall High on the late 1950s. While there, he also coached football, basketball and baseball.
Beginning in the 1960s, Anderson worked as a life insurance agent. He also acted in several local productions of plays and in television commercials.
But many who paid their respects Friday at Memorial Park Funeral Home remembered Anderson for his involvement with the local Hispanic community.
One man who spoke little English said that Anderson had even been a father figure for his daughter-in-law.
Jesus Bustamante, a local taxi driver who said he’d known Anderson for 21 years, buys Mexico Lindo every week.
Anderson, who was known to Bustamante and others who read the newspaper as “El Gringote,” came to Bustamante’s home several times to photograph his children for birthday features in the paper.
Claudia Castaneda also first met Anderson when he took her picture during a baptism at St. Michael Catholic Church.
“Everywhere there was something going on, (the Andersons) were always there, which I think was really awesome,” Castaneda said. “He was always there with his little camera to the side.”
She described Anderson as one of “the most wonderful people you would ever meet.”
“No matter where he was, he always said ‘hello,’” Castaneda remembered. “He always gave out his hand.”
Billie Fulmer, who left the visitation at Memorial Park Funeral Home with her husband, Chuck, said that Anderson was a good friend to the family for more than 20 years.
Anderson had also been a friend to the couple’s youngest son, Lance, who had been born with brain damage and often drew stares from others in public.
But, Fulmer said, Anderson would always make sure to come and speak to Lance in restaurants and ask how he was doing.
“He just was a very special man,” Billie Fulmer said. “It didn’t matter your race or your age or your difficulties, he always helped.”
Throughout his life, Billie Fulmer said Anderson was “always looking after somebody.”
“Particularly in standing up for the underdog,” her husband, Chuck Fulmer, added. “You could always count on Dave to take their side.”
Chuck Fulmer, apparently heartbroken over the loss, said Anderson’s death was a loss for the whole community.
“He was so involved throughout the community,” Fulmer said.
Indeed, Anderson was a longtime member of the Gainesville Rotary Club, first joining the organization in 1976.
“Every one of our 200 members of the Rotary Club ... would tell you that Dave was known for his big, caring heart,” former club president Doug Langman wrote in an email. “He genuinely loved people and did whatever necessary to lift them up. He was a kind, caring man.”
Langman on Friday remembered how devoted Anderson seemed to be to his wife, Haydee, saying “it was a joy to see them together.” And he, too, said Anderson always seemed to be concerned about others.
“The Rotary motto is ‘service above self,’” Langman said in an email. “Dave Anderson embodied that motto.”
Anderson is survived by his wife, Haydee Anderson of Gainesville; daughters and son-in-laws, Wendy and the Rev. Robin Martin of Gainesville, Laurie and Craig Shufeldt of Seneca, S.C., son and daughter-in-law, David Morris Jr. and Heather Anderson of Macon; brother and sister-in-law, Jonathan and Paulette Anderson of Marietta; and five grandchildren, Amanda, Bryan, Zoe, Miles and Finn.
He will be remembered in a 2 p.m. ceremony today at First Presbyterian Church. Burial will follow at Alta Vista Cemetery.