ANDERSON, Paul Knight

August 6, 1927 – June 23, 2014

Paul was born in Ludlow, Massachusetts and died in Cochrane, Alberta. During the last years of his rich life, Paul suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. His death was sudden and unexpected. He drew his last breath with Donna, his wife of nearly 46 years, and his sweetheart forever, by his side in the Bethany Cochrane, where he spent the last year of his life.

Paul was broadly educated, with a wide variety of intellectual and physical interests. His passion for life knew no boundaries. His travels and research took him around the world and he never lost his appetite for knowledge or dessert –which, on rare occasions, he would enjoy before his main course.

Paul’s love of wildlife and his respect for the environment began in his childhood but his formal education was at Cornell, Tulane, and Berkeley (where he received his Doctorate in Zoology). While at Berkeley, Paul was drafted into the US army, spending 18 months in Germany as a medical lab technician. His free time gave him an opportunity for a physical and cultural immersion in the country.

Following a teaching position at Berkeley and a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia, Paul accepted a position on the faculty of the University of Calgary in 1961. Paul loved teaching and would go to bat to support his students or a cause. If you needed help or an opinion, Paul was an independent and innovative thinker and would happily get involved whether it was in school, research or real life. He retired as a Full Professor in 1984. The early retirement allowed Paul to pursue extensive research on dugongs in Australia and to continue his lifelong love of anything that would keep him afloat on salt or fresh water.

On land, his many dogs were his companions, cherished for their loyalty and dog wisdom. Paul delighted in the plants in his alpine rock garden, a small but special corner of the 60 acres of foothills he called home for forty years. He took great pride in the accomplishments of his children, from their active lifestyles to their professional careers.

In addition to his beloved wife Donna, Paul leaves behind daughter Kristin Belair, son Erik (Crystal) Anderson and grand-daughter Adrienne Belair, all of California. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Trish (Michael) Rahm, their son John Rahm (Sara Bowling) and grandson Micah Rahm (Oregon); his brother in law, David Lynch (Olds, AB), his first wife Florence Anderson and former son-in-law Michael Belair, both of California.

Come and share your stories and memories of Paul – and a bit of dessert – in celebration of his life on Wednesday 23, July 2014 at 1:30 p.m. at the
Cochrane RancheHouse, 101 RancheHouse Road, Cochrane, Alberta. Recalling that Paul last wore a tie nearly fifty years ago, we invite you to dress informally.

No flowers please. If friends so wish, donations can be made to the Cochrane and Area Humane Society (, 403-932-0272) or the
Alberta Wilderness Association (, 403-283-2025).

  1. On 11/07/2014 at 10:54 am Marlis McDouall Said:

    Dear Donna,

    My heartfelt condolences on the passing of your husband. The world has lost a brilliant man and I regret having known him for only a short time when I had the pleasure and honour of caring for him at the Bethany Care Centre. May he rest in peace and may you find the strength to continue on as, I am sure, Paul would want you to. My thoughts are with you.

    Sincerely yours,

    Marlis McDouall

  2. On 12/07/2014 at 2:23 pm Mary Bereziuk Said:


    What a lovely telling of Paul’s wonderful life…we will miss him as a neighbour that could be called upon to change a tire, start a snow blower, help with a cougar kill or even assist in finding a new dog. Conversations were always rich and his ability to recite poetry to make a point was a gift. just a few of my memories. Your neighbours and friends, Mary and Jack

  3. On 13/07/2014 at 1:55 pm Eric Davis Sublett Said:

    It is with reverence and sadness that I write these words of condolence. All my life my family and I had followed Paul’s many adventures vicariously, hearing of the adventurous life of living on a sail boat in the Pacific or even living in the Canadian Rockies. It always excited our imaginations. I only had met him a few times over the years, but my mother, Helen, was his first cousin by way of his mother’s twin sister. I don’t know what that makes me, but I know that after her mother (Mary) died. Paul’s mother (Martha) and father(Olof) provided their love to my mother (nine years old) in her grief then and for the rest of their lives they were very close emotionally. Donna, I speak for the others from our side of the family. We all send our love to you with all our hearts in this difficult time of mourning.

    We also thank all the ones that are there with you for their care and understanding.

  4. On 21/07/2014 at 8:49 pm Nicky Goudberg Said:

    Dear Donna, I was very sad to hear of Paul’s passing – he influenced and inspired so many of us during his full and adventurous life. My short time working with Paul during his Shark Bay dugong surveys will always remain a very special memory. He was a kind and caring man, passionate in his ideas and ever ready to discuss and debate. He was a wonderful mentor and friend and I will always be glad I knew him. My thoughts and warm wishes are with you and his children.

  5. On 23/07/2014 at 11:49 am Robert and Sharon Guthrie Said:

    Our heartfelt condolences on the passing of your husband. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family through this time and in the days ahead.
    Sharon and Robert Guthrie

  6. On 24/07/2014 at 2:43 pm Brian D. Scott Said:

    Dear Donna, It is hard to believe that it was 49 years ago that we walked together with Paul after writing our Chordate final exam. His passion for learning and his approach to life, was an inspiration to us all. The celebration was a real tribute to the man he was and the life you shared together. Although he is no longer with us, he will live on in our memories and continue to impact the lives of all those who were privileged to know him.

  7. On 26/07/2014 at 3:41 pm Erik Anderson Said:

    Huginn ok Muninn
    fljúga hverjan dag
    Jörmungrund yfir;
    óumk ek of Hugin,
    at hann aftr né komi-t,
    þó sjámk meir of Munin.

    -Poetic Edda

    Translation from Old Norse:
    Hugin (Thought) and Munin (Memory)fly each day over the spacious earth. I fear for Hugin, that he come not back, yet more anxious am I for Munin)

    We were very different and I’m not sure we ever fully understood each other , but I will miss you Dad. ~Erik Anderson

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