Robert Bruce Anderson Sr., a World War II veteran and descendant of one of East Hampton’s founding families, the Fithians, died on Friday at Southampton Hospital. He was 90 and had lived on Cooper Lane in East Hampton for most of his life.
He was born on the family homestead on Indian Wells Highway in Amagansett on Jan. 9, 1923, one of 10 children of Herbert Keith Anderson and the former Sybil Rae Fithian. He attended grade school in Amagansett and graduated in East Hampton High School’s class of 1940.
Mr. Anderson was studying engineering at both the University of Nebraska and the University of South Dakota when the United States entered World War II. He enlisted in 1943 having already received training in the schools’ Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and was assigned to the First Infantry Division, which was known as the Big Red One. When the war ended Mr. Anderson served as a security guard during the Nuremberg war crimes trials in Germany. He left the Army in 1946.
In 1957, he married the former Delores Fanning, a distant cousin who was also a descendant of the Fithian family. Mrs. Anderson died before him.
Two years after the couple married, Mr. Anderson began a career managing the Golden Eagle art supply and paint store in East Hampton. He retired in 2003 at the age of 79. He enjoyed his regular customers and counted the former Beatle Paul McCartney among them. In the 1960s and ’70s he painted and hung wallpaper for many families in East Hampton.
The Andersons had five children, Patricia Doyle of Phoenix, Az., Sandra Welsh of Edwardsville, Ill., Susan Grimes of Montauk, April Mason of Cape Cod, and Robert B. Anderson Jr. of East Hampton, all of whom survive.
He is also survived by his sisters, Ruth McDonald of Florida, Jean Snow of Massachusetts, and Charlotte Tosch of Canada, and nine grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
His siblings Marion Smith, Herbert Anderson Jr., George Anderson, Marjorie McGuire, Joan Strong, and Paul Anderson died before him.
His family said that Mr. Anderson considered his greatest accomplishment raising five children who he was very proud of. He was a Giants, Mets, and Knicks fan, but most of all he loved to cheer on the East Hampton High School Bonackers sports teams whenever possible, they said.
Mr. Anderson will be buried today at 1 p.m. at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton. Memorial contributions have been suggested to Fighting Chance, a counseling center for cancer patients, 34 Bay Street, Sag Harbor 11963, or to Southampton Hospital, 240 Meeting House Lane, Southampton 11968.