Paul Anderson's devotion to the Minneapolis neighborhood of his youth stayed true, no matter how far life took him over nearly 70 years.
Anderson spent his entire childhood in Bryn Mawr, a cluster of residential blocks west of downtown sprinkled with small businesses. He attended Bryn Mawr elementary, then Jefferson Junior High and West High School. A band of buddies accompanied him all the way from kindergarten through senior high school.
There were wanderlust interruptions in Anderson's Bryn Mawr life: a lengthy visit to California, a solo odyssey through much of Europe and a career in photography that offered assignments around the globe. Despite these exposures to what the world had to offer, Anderson came home for good in his mid-30s, and made operating the family corner grocery the hallmark of his life.
Anderson, whose contributions to the neighborhood earned him gratitude from many residents and fellow entrepreneurs, died from cancer on Feb. 7. He was 69.
Under the direction of Anderson and his older brother, Bryn Mawr Market has since 1987 been a vital contributor to the four-corner retail intersection in one of the city's most tight-knit neighborhoods.
When the Anderson brothers bought the store at 412 Cedar Lake Av. S., they wasted little time changing the name from Fred's to Bryn Mawr Market.
"There was no question that's what we wanted it to be," Doug Anderson said of the store 11⁄2 blocks from the brothers' childhood home on Russell Avenue.
Doug Anderson said whether it was known as Fred's or Ed White and Sons before that, the market was more than a place where the Andersons shopped for meal essentials. Paul took a job at Fred's in the mid-1960s at age 13.
Soon afterward, Paul "started wearing a camera around his neck when he was 14," said Doug Anderson, who has inherited 20 boxes of slides his brother shot "documenting his life and his friends' life."
Jeff Ulku was one of those friends. They lived across the street from one another, went all the way through public schooling together and "made up a lot of adventures," Ulku said. They remained close until Anderson died.
"I think Paul exuded an air of authenticity and trustworthiness," Ulku said. "People could easily talk to him, and he would do what he said he was going to do, always a reliable friend. People in the neighborhood, everyone could sense he was a responsible, pragmatic and even charismatic person that you could interact with easily."
Striking out on his own in his 20s, Paul Anderson visited the land of his roots in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe, keeping a journal and shooting photos by the hundreds.
"He stated more than once that changed his life and gave him a better life," Doug Anderson said.
Photography soon took Paul Anderson to other continents working as a contract photographer for a generator company, whose executives sent him on long trips to take pictures of their large machines in operation.
Through running the family market, his service on the Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association and his dedication to the community's sprawling and popular annual garage sale, Paul Anderson had a sizable network of friends, acquaintances and fellow business operators who admired him for decades.
Once he understood time was not on his side, Paul Anderson agreed to mark his 70th birthday in mid-December at the Chester Bird American Legion in Golden Valley. About 200 people attended the afternoon gathering.
Many were from the old neighborhood. Others were customers at the market or employees, and still others made his acquaintance as a fellow regular at the legion bar, where a can of Nordeast beer was his beverage of choice.
The timing of the party was well chosen. Paul Anderson died six days before he would have turned 70, on Feb. 13.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Mark Anderson. Along with Doug Anderson, he is survived by a sister, Beverly Rieschel.