By Joshua Resnek – [email protected]
As a young man coming out of this city when it was a far different place than it is today, Charlie Anderson Jr. was a professional fighter. A strong, fit man, he fought in the featherweight class 15 fights outdoors at Somerville’s Dilboy Stadium, during the heyday of boxing. He retired at 26.
“There’s more to life than fighting,” he said the day he hung up his boxing gloves, according to his son, Charlie Anderson III.
During a long and productive life, Mr. Anderson enjoyed many incarnations. He was a Navy veteran of World War II. He worked for 20 years for American Airlines. He owned a printing company. And when he didn’t get what he wanted from the local weekly newspaper, he launched his own and made it a great success.
In 2005, Mr. Anderson suffered a debilitating stroke that left him blind and partially disabled. He regained his mobility with a lot of hard work inside his Mountain Avenue home.
He came to live with his disabilities.
“Although he was unable to see, he still demanded to attend his grandchildren’s football games and dancing recitals. He wanted to be there. This was the kind of spirit he had,” recalled his son.
Last December, Mr. Anderson’s wife, Ruth, died suddenly. They were married 57 years.
Ten days ago, Mr. Anderson complained of chest pains. However, doctors who examined him apparently could find nothing wrong. On the evening of March 9, with his family at his bedside in the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mr. Anderson died quietly from complications related to pneumonia.
He was 81.
“My father had courage. He wasn’t afraid to do what he believed was the right thing. He didn’t have a lot of money. He never cared for the dollar. It was about what he could give back,” said Charlie Anderson III.
Charlie Anderson Jr. was born in New York and came to Revere from Staten Island, NY as a child with his parents.
He grew up on Centennial Avenue during the Depression. During those formative summers of his life, he worked for the Hurley family, running amusements on Revere Beach.
His experience at American Airlines, where he worked for ground services for two decades, wasn’t nearly as meaningful to him as his experience launching the Revere Reporter with his son Charlie in 1972.
As the founder and president of the Revere Basketball League, Mr. Anderson already had a built in legion of followers when he launched his newspaper. He was also a longtime member of the Beachmont Boys Club, taking an active role in the lives of many Revere kids passing through the club, as well as being a Revere Little League coach.
In 1989, the Revere Journal bought the Revere Reporter from Mr. Anderson, ultimately merging it into the larger weekly that exists today.
“That kind of closed the circle,” his son recalled.
He said his father’s interest in youth sports was about giving back. During his life, he was always rooting for the underdog.