Source Credit: Londonderry Sentinel
19 March 2009
By Kevin Mullan
TRIBUTES have been paid to Church of Ireland Minister Canon Gordon Fleming Anderson who sadly passed away last week at the age of 89.
The large attendance at Banagher Parish Church for his funeral service on Sunday was testament to the high esteem in which he was held by the Anglican communion and the wider community.
Born in Fintona, Co. Tyrone, in 1919, Canon Anderson was educated at Omagh Secondary and Grammar School where he distinguished himself academically and as a skilled rugby player.
He went on to study at the University of Dublin, Trinity College, from where he graduated with a BA in 1941 and an MA in 1946.
He was made Deacon in 1942 and priested the following year. He started as Curate Assistant in Drumholm & Rossnowlagh between 1942-46 followed by two years as CA in All Saints Clooney.
In 1947 he was instituted as Rector of Termonamongan where he served for 10 years. He married Anna a year later on 27th April 1948 in All Saints Clooney.
And in 1957 he moved to back to Co. Londonderry as Curate in Charge of Cumber Lower - Banagher was added in 1972 and he remained there as Rector until retirement in 1994.
He was installed as a Canon St Columb's Cathedral in 1976, a position he relinquished on being appointed Prebendary of Howth - St Patrick's Dublin in 1986.
In this capacity he preached one Remembrance Sunday to President Mary Robinson and her husband Nicholas.
He was also active in the Loyal Orders and on the Board of Governors of Faughan Valley, Claudy and Killaloo schools throughout his life.
Renowned as a committed educationalist he demonstrated this by his involvement with the aforementioned trio of local schools as well as with many others.
He was also well known in agricultural circles as a cattle breeder, regularly winning awards for the prize cattle he showed at events all over the country.
Within the Church of Ireland he was a highly respected figure. An erstwhile member of the Diocesan Council and the Church of Ireland General Synod he regularly spoke at meetings of the Diocesan Synod.
The Archdeacon of Derry, Rev. Donald S. McLean paid tribute to Canon Anderson in his funeral address on Sunday.
"It is also natural to grieve for we mourn the passing of a man who was greatly loved, respected and held in great affection.," he told mourners.
" We can recall his wisdom, friendship, readiness and giving of himself to help, his stories, his love of food, his sense of humour, his outlook on life - all of which were bound up in his faith and trust in God.
"Our lives have been enriched through his sharing with us. We give thanks to God for Gordon's many gifts which he used for the benefit of others. 'God is our Master and prepares the way for us - he plans our future and goes ahead of us'
"We sympathise with the members of his family - Ross, Gina and his grand-daughters Gail, Alison and Corinne, with Noel and his grand-sons Jamie, Peter, Richard and Philip, with the wider family circle; also with the parishioners of Cumber Lower and Banagher.
"As a Diocese we mourn the passing of a colleague whom we respected and held in great affection. As Christians we believe in life after death, and yet it is right for us to mourn the loss of someone we love, to grieve, to weep, to talk and to treasure our memories. But we sorrow not as those without hope, but in the sure and certain knowledge of the resurrection to eternal life. Life is changed, not ended.
"As we remember one another in prayer we commend to God's gracious keeping those whom Gordon especially loved - his family. We assure them that it is our prayer that God may hold them in the palm of his hand," he concluded.
Dean of Derry William Morton knew Canon Anderson personally and was in attendance at his funeral service.
He said: "He was a most faithful and devoted pastor whose entire ministry was served in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe. He was a wonderful pastor and family man, always responding to the needs of his parishioners, always showing a willingness to help people.
"He did a lot of work for the Church Orphans' society. His was a vocation in the truest sense of the word."
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• Last Updated: 19 March 2009 9:30 AM
• Source: Londonderry Sentinel
• Location: Waterside
Fond tributes to one of nature's gentlemen
Published Date: 26 March 2009
THE people of Killaloo and Claudy have been paying tribute to the late Church of Ireland Minister Canon Gordon Fleming Anderson who sadly passed away at the age of 89 recently.
Canon Anderson spent the longest period of his ministry in the Co. Londonderry parish. He was installed as Curate in Charge of Cumber Lower in 1957. He remained there as Rector until his retirement in 1994.
As well as being a highly respected figure within the Church he was also active in many other areas of community life.
A renaissance man in the truest sense of the word he was active in the Loyal Orders and on the Board of Governors of Faughan Valley, Claudy and Killaloo schools throughout his life.
In his capacity as a prize-winning cattle breeder and sheep farmer he regularly won awards for the prize cattle he showed at events all over the country.
The high esteem in which he was held by the people of Killaloo and Claudy is evident on listening to those who knew him throughout his life. Although a Tyrone-man by birth Canon Anderson lived and breathed Killaloo for the 37 years he served the parish.
Valerie Jack is this year celebrating a landmark thirty-seven-years in Killaloo herself. She has fond memories of Canon Anderson.
"I knew him very well. He was a fantastic man. He was very generous, full of fun and not a bit strict. He was at my wedding and I've never seen a Minister enjoy himself as much.
"If you hadn't been down to Church for a couple of weeks he would meet you outside somewhere and be asking - where were you? You must have slept in'. He had a great sense of humour."
Claudy-born Robin Hegarty had been a good friend of Canon Anderson for most of his life. He recalled the shock of hearing of his death.
In a touching personal note Robin explained how he used to sign his correspondence to Canon Anderson with the title of Johan Sebastian Bach's pastoral melody Sheep May Safely Graze, partly in memory of the pastoral care he bestowed on the parish but more aptly in memory of his prowess as a farmer.
At Canon Anderson's funeral Robin was moved to see that the Canon had requested the melody be played at his service. He was of course a pastoral being in every sense of the word.
"He was in our parish for 37 years," recalls Robin. "In 1957 he came to Killaloo. He was a life-time friend of the family. From my Sunday School days I knew him. Of course he married my two sisters, my niece, they made their confirmation there, the same with me.
"So really and truly he has followed us down through the years as a pastor and a friend. He was there for the funerals of my father and my mother. He was always there - a man for all seasons."
Jean Magee was a former Sunday School teacher and superintendent in Killaloo during the Canon's tenure there.
"We were saddened to hear of his death," said Jean. "All of my five children were confirmed by the Canon. He was there a long time.
"I remember he was the first to introduce midnight service at Christmas in Killaloo - back in the early 1970s I think - and that was very popular. He had a lot of firsts during his time."
Former Principal of Faughan Valley High School, Carol Niven, said: "The Rev. Canon Gordon Anderson was a much admired and very highly regarded member of the Board of Governors of Faughan Valley High School from the opening of the school in September 1959 until 2001.
"He became Chairman of Governors in the early 1960s and retained this position until he retired.
"While Gordon Anderson gained great pleasure in living in a rural community where he could identify with the lives of the people of a farming background he was first and foremost a committed Minister of Religion in the Church of Ireland.
"However, it was in his role as Chairman of Governors for almost 40 years that many pupils, parents, teachers, ancillary staff and fellow Governors will remember him.
"He was always very appreciative of the work of teachers and all staff of Faughan Valley High School and he took great pride in the fact that he and his Board of Governors appointed high quality staff who worked for the benefit of the whole school and the communities it served."
UUP Alderman Mary Hamilton also knew the late Canon extremely well. She said: "I served on the Board of Governors of Faughan Valley High School for over 20 years under the Chairmanship of Canon Anderson and I always looked forward to the meetings.
"He chaired the meetings in a most impressive way but I always looked forward to the friendship we had as it was just like a family together.
"He had such an interest in Faughan Valley and the education of the children was paramount and his advice and support to the teachers was always forthcoming.
"His funeral service was a wonderful tribute to him as his commitment to all the organisations and committees he was on was very evident.
"Since the loss of his dear wife Anna I used to meet him and I always felt he was so sad as she was an ever-present at his side and very much the woman behind the man. So now they are together in God's Kingdom.
Former UUP Alderman Ernest Hamilton also paid a fitting tribute.
"I enter our sincere sympathy with Noel, Ross and the family circle and this world has been enriched by his presence here and it has lost one of nature's gentlemen."
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Last Updated: 26 March 2009 11:23 AM
• Source: Londonderry Sentinel
• Location: Waterside