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Celebration of a life encourages happy thoughts

By Staff | Oct 7, 2015

Flowers were handed out to all those who attended Michael Anders’ service on the water Thursday, Oct. 1. MEGHAN McCOY

Up to 16 boats gathered at Captiva Pass to celebrate the life of Michael Anders during a special Celebration of Life Thursday morning.

Michael died on Sept. 1, 2015. The celebration was held on his birthday, Oct. 1.

One-by-one boats filled with some of Michael’s longtime friends filed behind a sailboat carrying his loved ones Thursday morning, as they made their way to a location where a flower boat was set to sail holding little items that meant something to Michael. “Amazing Grace” then filled the air as the circle of boats broke into chorus.

“I was so impressed with the whole variety,” Red Anders, Michael’s brother, said about those who attended the ceremony. “It was a great day, even more than I could have expected. I only had five boats on the schedule, besides the big one (sailboat). The rest of the boats showed up because they didn’t need a ride.”

As the boats formed a circle around the sailboat, Michael’s family members spoke before Red threw two shells into the water from the bow.

Up to 16 boats gathered in Captiva Pass for a special celebration for Michael Anders who passed away last month. MEGHAN McCOY

Red said his mother, Alice Anders, who was known as the “shell lady of Sanibel” was kind of a scientist on shells who helped set up the shell museum. When they held her funeral on the water they dropped shells near Redfish Pass.

Michael eventually found what appeared to be the same shell used for his mother’s funeral wash along the shore of North Captiva.

“Mike found it and brought it home,” Red said. “That was one of the shells we passed on yesterday.”

The family incorporated the shell into the service because of the beautiful cycle a shell resembles. Each person that attended received shells that they too threw into the water. Flowers were also handed out, so Michael’s friends and family could drop the flower into the water and let it float with the waves.

“Think of joyous and happy thoughts and all the good times we had with Mike,” Red said.

Red Anders threw two shells into the water from the bow of a sailboat. MEGHAN McCOY

Michael began traveling to Sanibel in the 70s when their mother moved to the area.

“He fell in love with Sanibel and Captiva,” Red said.

Michael lived on a house boat in the back bay before he began taking care of their big brother, a Vietnam veteran, and moved near Bokeelia.

“They were living on the north end of Pine Island on a canal and enjoying life on the water,” Red said.

Michael worked on North Captiva mostly as a painter. He was also a volunteer fireman for the upper Captiva Fire Department.

Red Anders threw two shells into the water from the bow of a sailboat. MEGHAN McCOY

“He also spent a lot of time helping out others,” Red said.

Ron Rosse, a friend of Michael’s for more than 30 years, said he was a great, caring guy.

“He took me in for a while. He just liked helping people if they needed it,” he said. “He’s just a good guy. We all love him. All of us today were his good friends.”

Ron attended the service and said it was beautiful.

Red Anders placed a flower boat into Captiva Pass Thursday morning in remembrance of his brother Michael Anders. MEGHAN McCOY