The stories he could tell. And how he loved telling them.
For over three decades Vandy Anderson broadcast the news to Galvestonians. His reassuring voice comforted us during storms, and his clear and accurate reporting kept us informed about anything important related to the Island. Vandy and his morning news were as much a part of the character of Galveston Island as oleanders and boat shoes, sand and seagulls.
Born on September 23, 1942, in St. Mary’s Hospital on Galveston Island to Vandy V. Anderson Sr. and Margaret Gammon Anderson, Vandy attended Alamo Elementary, Lovenberg Middle School and Ball High School, where graduated in 1960. He attended TCU briefly, then enlisted in the Texas National Guard as a medic and platoon sergeant.
Vandy began his radio career at age 12, when he built his own transmitter to broadcast news in his neighborhood. Over the years he worked for KILE radio in Galveston and KNUZ and KILT in Houston, and he was once a TV news anchor in Abilene, Texas. He joined KGBC radio as an announcer and newscaster, eventually becoming manager and owner during 34 years with the station. He was recently inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.
He earned the mantle of the Voice of Galveston, and took the title seriously. During our brightest hours he beamed our best over the airwaves. In our darkest hours he comforted and informed us as hurricanes howled around him. He broadcast high school sports, emceed every form of community event from political debates to beauty contests, and welcomed millions of tourists to Galveston on the Bolivar Ferry. He understood every occasion was important to the people involved, and he treated each with respect. His voice was a gift. He used it to benefit, enlighten and inform us all.
As a newsman he was never confrontational or controversial; he just told you what happened, with background essential to your understanding. Interviewing Presidents or paupers, his technique was generally to let them tell you their story and put it on the air. You could always depend on one thing with Vandy: Truth.
He was a talking encyclopedia of Galvestonians and their history. But he went far beyond his role of reporter. He was unconditionally generous with his time and talent as a volunteer and community advocate. Among countless civic contributions, he served as President of the Galveston Independent School District Board of Education, founding trustee of the GISD Education Foundation and the Galveston College Foundation, and founding member of the UTMB President’s Cabinet. He chaired Galveston County Navigation District #1, chaired the Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Ports of Galveston County, was a trustee of the Galveston Employees Retirement Plan for Police and vice-chair and trustee of the Galveston Employees Retirement Plan for Non-Civil-Service Employees. He served as president of the Galveston Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Artillery Club, among others.
He served interim positions as Vice President for External Affairs at UTMB and Director of Aviation for the City of Galveston, and he was an advisory director of Frost Bank.
An inveterate tinkerer and early adopter of technology, Vandy could take almost everything apart, understand how it worked and put it back together again, usually in working order and often in better. He could drive or fly just about anything – boat, car, truck, motorcycle, airplane, even the occasional locomotive. He was a Coast Guard licensed boat captain, an FAA licensed commercial pilot, mechanic and instructor.
He had a passion for cooking, sharing and eating food, especially oysters. His secret ingredient was butter.
He loved to travel, especially in Mexico, but loved crossing the Causeway coming home even more.
Preceded in death by his parents, Vandy is survived by his beloved wife of 45 years, Sue, and his sister, Ann; sister-in-law Viva Russo and her husband, John; sister-in-law Ruby Neely; brother-in-law Junial Douglas and his wife, Caroline, and countless friends who will miss his wit, generosity, talent, friendship…and that voice.
The public is invited to help celebrate Vandy Anderson’s life at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at Moody Gardens. A brief program will be led by Judge Trey Dibrel followed by a reception with family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Vandy Anderson Scholarship in Culinary Arts Program at Galveston College, 4015 Avenue Q, Galveston, Tx 77550.