Fort Frances town council was shocked to hear the news last Friday of International Falls mayor Bob Anderson’s sudden passing.
Mayor Caul said during Monday night’s council meeting she sent condolences to the Falls’ city hall on behalf of the town and council earlier that day. Council also held a moment of silence in his honour.
“I know the community is shaken,” she remarked.
“It will be a difficult job for International Falls to try to fill the position with someone who is as much of an advocate as he was.
“Mayor Anderson was known throughout Minnesota and was very well liked for sure, so there’s a big hole left there,” Mayor Caul added.
Falls’ city administrator Kenneth Anderson offered thanks for the town’s condolences.
“We were all quite shocked and surprised at the news,” he said via email to Mayor Caul.
“[Mayor Anderson] has been a permanent fixture of sorts here at the municipal building and throughout many organizations in the community.
“The loss of his wise perspective, presence and professionalism in representing the interests of International Falls will be felt for some time,” Anderson added.
“I know he loved and nurtured a positive relationship with the Town of Fort Frances and your citizens at all times that he served as councillor and mayor for our city. ”
Mayor Anderson first served on the Falls’ council in the late ’60s and was mayor in the early- to mid-1980s. He again was elected as mayor in 2012 and was up for re-election in 2020.
Until a successor is chosen, town councillor Harley Droba will take over mayoral duties.
Meanwhile, Mayor Caul was very surprised and saddened when she first heard the news of his passing.
“He hadn’t been ill and for a person to get a phone call or hear on the news one day that all the sudden he’s gone. You just expect someone to be around forever and he wasn’t that old yet,” she remarked.
Mayor Caul first made contact with Mayor Anderson formally when he called to congratulate her on becoming mayor of Fort Frances.
He later rode in the town’s Canada Day parade and Mayor Caul subsequently rode in the Falls’ parade for the 4th of July.
“It was just kind of continuing on a practice that he and former Mayor (Roy) Avis had,” she noted.
“They had a close connection for many years. They were both mayors of their communities and so they had a special connection, I know.
“We worked together with their community in lots of different aspects throughout the years and I know that Mayor Anderson did work very, very hard and really was a promoter of anything International Falls,” Mayor Caul added.
She told the Times she’s looking forward to working with the future mayor of International Falls and wants to continue the positive relationship between the two communities going forward.
A visitation is being held at Green Larsen Mortuary, located at 517 Fourth St. in International Falls, tomorrow (Sept. 26) at 5 p.m.
A funeral mass is being held at St. Thomas Catholic Church (810 5th St.) on Friday (Sept. 27) at 10 a.m.