We’ve lost another member of the SAAC past presidents family, and this one really stings.
Richard “Rich” Anderson was president of SAAC in 1996 and worked as a supplier rep in our industry for more than a decade. Rich was a tall, lanky guy with a thick mustache and a winning personality. He worked for both Benchmark and Earl Butler in the late '80s and the '90s and later left the promotional products industry to become a Christian minister with his wife—which he did for the rest of his life.
The reason this hurts so much is that even 20 years after he left, he still maintained many friendships in our promo world, because Rich was one of the good ones. A great guy, a loyal friend and a deeply spiritual and honest man. He cared about his lines, about our industry and his many, many friends. Rich made friends every single place he went, exuding warmth and genuine care for those around him.
In addition to his spiritual endeavors and his work in our industry, Rich was a dedicated musician, playing in several rock-and-roll bands over the years, and playing with a SAAC group at several SAAC shows in San Diego and Long Beach. He was also, late in life, an entertainment industry voice-over artist, landing several national television spots for brand name products.
We lost Rich last month in June after a year-long battle with leukemia. He was born in 1953. Rich visited us at several SAAC shows in recent years and attended the funeral for Reg Ross several years ago. Patti Lawrence was SAAC president in 1995 and Rich was vice president. She said, "To tell you I am heartbroken about hearing the news about Rich's passing would be an understatement. I have known Rich since the early '80s and was honored to serve on the SAAC board with him in the '90s. He became my confidant, supported me as my vice president and, as in the attached picture, he always had my back. Over the years we lost touch but when he was the officiant at the memorial service of another friend and fellow board member, Reg Marsh, a year- and-a-half ago, it was like all those years melted away. We spent quality time talking about old times and shared memories of those good ol' days. RIP my friend. You are missed."