ANDERSON, Robert Kirk: My Great Grandpa Bob

Submitted by Hudson Bradshaw, a student at Arrowhead Elementary School in Santa Clara, Utah.

Robert Kirk Anderson

Robert Kirk Andersen (1921-1999)

I’ve never met my great grandpa Bob, but I’ve heard that he was a great guy. He has lived a very interesting life. He was a very hard worker and very talented at what he did. Everyone loved my great grandpa Bob and they all have nice things to say about him.

He was born in Richfield Utah on January 12, 1921. There were 12 children in his family. He had 8 brothers and 3 sisters.’He was the baby. Although, his parents had a lot of children I’m glad they didn’t stop at 11 or else I wouldn’t be here. During his life he lived in Richfield, Lindon, and later settled in Nephi Utah. Bob loved the outdoors. He enjoyed hunting and fishing. His favorite spot was Fish lake. In fact he loved the outdoors so much that he even built a cabin in Antimony Utah in his later years. His cabin was like Disneyland. He built a large pond with a water wheel and was full of trout. It had a go-kart track that went around the cabin and an archery shooting range. He wanted to make it really fun for his grandkids.

When he was in his early 20s he enlisted in the army and was stationed in India. He served 2 years there. At one point his unit was deployed to the Battle of the Bulge. Before they were shipped out they put them on a 20 mile march which resulted in him developing a sore on his foot and had to be sent to the hospital. His unit was shipped out without him as he was unable to walk. We think he was extremely lucky because it was the third most lethal American war with an estimated 19,276 number of Americans killed. 

Later on in his life he was spending time at Fish Lake and ran into a man that came up to him and said “Bob, do you remember me?” Trying to not be rude he answered ” yes” even though he didn’t. The man came back and said “no you don’t”. He told him his name and my great grandpa realized that he was on his same unit that went to the Battle of the Bulge. He was unrecognizable because his face had been severely damaged during the war.

He met the love of his life Donna Whitely shortly after returning from the army. They were married for 58 years and had 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl. My great grandpa was a self made man who eventually built and owned motels and other businesses like a car wash and restaurants. He built his businesses from pure hard labor. When he decided to build his first motel he hand dug all the footings and mixed all the concrete. 

El Tonya Motel

Being the ambitious man that he was, he started his project before having finances in place. He decided to go to the bank to get a lone to build the motel. He had no credit at the time but the bank lender said that he had been watching him work on the motel. The banker explained that he would lone anybody that would work that hard. That was the beginning of his business endeavor and it flourished from there. 

Things always didn’t go smooth for him. While building the hotel he constructed a large wall out of cinder block. After 2 days of extensive labor he was finally finished with the wall. There was a large tree in front of the wall that needed to be removed. He hired a guy with a backhoe to pull the tree stump out of the ground. Both of them not knowing that there was a large root from the tree going under the wall as the backhoe operator pulled the tree stump out the root pulled the wall down and it collapsed.

This was very devastating to him so he drove home crying to his wife. She assured him and said “it’s going to be alright.” Her words gave him the motivation to go back and build it again. This time it only took 4 hours.

Bob was a great dad, husband, grandpa, brother, uncle and friend. He was loved by everyone This was really shown at his funeral. The line at his service went out the door and around the block. This went on for hours and hours. I’m so proud to be able to call him my great grandpa!

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