Calgary Sun: Anderson remembered as great person, player
He will always be remembered by the one name – Sugarfoot – and as a significant part of the Calgary football community.
During a celebration of his life Tuesday night at the Red and White Club , Ezzrett Anderson was described by those who knew him best as a quality individual throughout his many years.
He meant so much to so many, as former Calgary Stampeders great John Helton shared.
"He just means a lot to me,'' said an emotional Helton. "He was absolutely real. All he wanted to do was be him and that's who Sugar is. That's what I'll keep in my heart. He's as good a friend as I've ever had.
"He wasn't just a friend. He wasn't my father but he was everything you could hope to have in a man that made a difference in your life. Truly amazing. He was a phenomenal gift to mankind.''
Anderson passed away on Mar. 8 at age 97. He played with the Stamps from 1949 to 1955, and in 1990 was added to the club's Wall of Fame. Twenty years later, he was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
Even if you hadn't witnessed his on-field exploits, there was no missing the larger-than-life six-foot-four Anderson around the city and at Stampeders practices, the love of his team evident in his desire to stay close to the players and coaches. For those beside him, there would always be the trademark smile and a 'hello'.
"I feel so strongly that he was a very integral ingredient," said Helton. "When he would sit over there (in the stands) and those kids would come by with their helmets and stop by and he'd have a good word for them, there's not a value on that. He did that because he cared."
The large crowd at the celebration included family, the football fraternity and the general public. His wife Anne English spoke to the gathering.
"He lived and breathed that organization called the Calgary Stampeders," she said. "He thrived on being part of that organization, no matter the ownership. I thank you and he thanks you for always including Sugarfoot."
Stampeders general manager John Hufnagel was also one of those who shared his memories of double-0.
"It's well-documented that Sugar would come to practice," he said. "At the start of practice, we'd have stretch period, I'd go over and say hello, shake that big old mitt of a hand. Most of it was fun and games, but there were times when I sought his opinion and advice on some contentious issues. He was such a good-natured man. Speaking for all the head coaches before me, he didn't change his act no matter who the coach was. That's how much passion he had for the Stampeders.
"Even when he slowed down, he was everywhere. I would speak to the crowd here (at the Red and White Club) before the games and one of my duties was introducing alumni. Anne and Sugar were always here. I would always introduce Sugar last, save the best for last, and he always got the loudest ovation."
Longtime Stampeders executive Stan Schwartz recalled how much Anderson meant to the city and to the team itself.
"He was a true Stampeder ambassador,'' said Schwartz. "He was a real good connection from the past to the present. From the first day he got here in 1949, he maintained that relationship with the players right to the end.
"People were always excited to have him at functions because he always was willing to share a story and we all know he had many, many stories. Sugar would share the past, growing up in the cotton fields of Arkansas, and all the way through to his pro experience in Los Angeles and his association with the movie industry. He kept association with a lot of the players, the Jackie Robinsons and the Woody Strodes.''
A couple of the most heartfelt speeches were given by his two sons, John and Barry Anderson.