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Westport Offers Final Salute to Gavin Anderson

WESTPORT, Conn. – The sound of bagpipes filled the air outside Westport’s Christ & Holy Trinity Church on Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of people filed inside to pay their final respects to former selectman and longtime resident Gavin Anderson .

A retired Colgate Palmolive executive, veteran of the British Royal Navy and active community leader, Anderson died March 26. He was 74.

“There’s one word that comes to mind when I think about him, and that word is ‘remarkable,’” said his daughter Kirstin O’Gorman of Fairfield. “Gavin had this wonderful ability to relate to people. People loved him, and he loved everyone. He is simply remarkable.”

Kirstin described what it was like having Anderson as a father. She called him her “safety net,” saying she could always go to him no matter what. She recalled all the times Anderson helped her prepare for job interviews by interviewing her himself.

“He would have mock interviews in his library,” Kirstin said, stirring laughter from the mourners, “so that I would be prepared and have all the right responses. And he would say to me, ‘Very good, Kirstin, but posture, posture, sit up.’ And we had fun. Even the hard stuff was fun.”

Born and raised in England, Anderson served a total of 11 years with the Royal Navy, where he captained his own ship. He and wife Kendall moved to Westport in the late 1970s. Since then, he has played many roles. Among them, Anderson was a member of the Representative Town Meeting, the Board of Finance, and in 2009, he became the minority member on the Board of Selectmen. He was also longtime member of the Westport Sunrise Rotary.

Friend Dewey Loselle, who knew Anderson for about 15 years, reminded those in attendance that they were gathered to celebrate Anderson’s life, not mourn his passing.

In keeping sprites high, Loselle reflected on Anderson’s sense of humor.

“Seeing this great crowd, he would have been pleased. In his humorous way, I think he might have said: ‘And where were all of you on Election Day when I really needed you?’” Loselle said, evoking laughter from all.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Anderson is survived by daughters Heather Dubrosky of Fairfield and Amanda Matiello of Virginia, and son Jay Anderson of Florida. He is also survived by two sisters, Juliet Hubbard and Rosaland Wolfes, both of England, and seven grandchildren.

Memorial contribution for the education of his grandchildren may be made to Sunrise Rotary 21st CF Inc. (reference/memo Gavin Anderson Scholarship Fund), P.O. Box 43, Westport, CT 06880.

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