Donald James Anderson

October 12, 1934April 14, 2012

Scientist and long-time sailor, Donald Anderson, passed away on April 13, 2012, aboard his boat, Summer Passage. Don was well known in both the scientific and yachting communities to which he provided many years of leadership and service. His sudden passing was a shock to his family and friends. Don was born on October 12, 1934 in the seafaring town of Birkenhead, England. He excelled in both academics and athletics at Wallasey Grammar School where he captained the track team and set several school and regional records. Don studied at Birkenhead Technical College and obtained a degree in chemistry. In 1956 he married Joyce Dawson, and the newlyweds immigrated to the United States on a fellowship awarded to Don to the University of Illinois. Upon earning his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1960, Don accepted a research position with Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) in Richmond, CA. During his 37 years at Chevron, Dr. Anderson authored more than thirty patents in fuels, lubricants and petroleum production technology. More than anything else, Don loved to sail. He built and raced small boats in the 1950’s and 60’s, and in 1970, acquired his first offshore sailboat, the 32-foot Scotch Mist. In 1973, Don accepted a transfer with Chevron to Southern California where he joined Balboa Yacht Club and continued his racing success. Don with family and friends would race and cruise Scotch Mist extensively for the next 20 years. In particular, Don and Scotch Mist were heavy weather animals—the meaner the race, the better they did. Don’s name may be found engraved on several major ocean racing perpetual trophies. In addition to the racing, Don and his family’s cruising highlight was an unforgettable seven-week adventure into Mexico in 1976. Cruising friends will also recall (perhaps with a cringe) that Don was a master concertina player--if such status may be achieved with just four songs in one’s repertoire. In the 1960’s, Don served as Director, and ultimately, President of the Mercury Class Yacht Racing Association. Don was a US Sailing Certified Judge for more than 20 years and protest chairman for the NOSA Ensenada Race for 10 years. He served in various capacities at Balboa Yacht Club, culminating as Commodore in 1994. In 1991, Don married his second wife, Joan. A year later they purchased the Valiant 47, Summer Passage and began outfitting her for globe-circling voyages to fulfill one of Don’s lifelong dreams. In 1998, Don and Joan sailed to Hawaii from Newport Beach, beginning what would become a 30,000 mile cruise through the South Pacific and South America. It was during his time in the South Pacific that Don began sharing his weather observations with fellow cruisers as Summer Passage was equipped with receivers for real-time and forecast marine weather. Don would say that growing up in the British Isles, “Weather was always the first topic of polite conversation, even between complete strangers.” Upon returning to California, Don honed his weather forecasting and routing skills, and in 2002, he and Joan moved to Oxnard, where Don constructed a world-class radio station providing the capability to transmit his weather information to hundreds of yachtsmen throughout the Pacific. Many of these “strangers”, some of whom he would never meet in person, became Don’s close friends. He kept a regular and rigorous schedule on the “nets” where Don’s voice is now sorely missed. In recent years, Don developed expertise in photography, winning several competitions. He developed and maintained the website for St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Ventura and was one of the official photographers for the Southern California Episcopal Conference. Don recently joined the Ventura Yacht Club and developed a new website for the club and served as Club Photographer, documenting regattas, cruises, and events. Donald Anderson excelled wherever he placed his focus: oilfield research, sailboat racing, blue water cruising, amateur radio, weather interpretation, or photography—in each of these fields he combined a passion for learning with a desire and unique ability to serve others through his work.

Don is survived by his first wife of 34 years, Joyce Carlson of Paso Robles, CA; their three children: Michael Anderson of Jerusalem, Israel; Carol Ramirez of Irvine, CA; David Anderson and daughter-in-law, Kecia; grandchildren, Iain Anderson and Jessica Anderson all of Katy, Texas; Don’s second wife of 20 years, Joan Anderson of Oxnard, CA; his brother Alan Anderson of Greece, and many extended family members.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the memory of Donald Anderson to: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 3290 Loma Vista Road, Ventura, CA 93003, or to: Ventura Yacht Club Youth Sailing Program, 1755 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, CA 93001. A memorial service will be held at St. Paul's on Friday, April 27, at 11am. Don’s ashes will be scattered at sea, Sunday, April 29, 2012 departing Ventura Yacht Club at 9am. For information, please contact the club office at (805) 642-0426.

Condolences and memories of Don may be sent to his family at:

Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home and Crematory, 3150 Loma Vista Rd., Ventura


  • Memorial Service Friday, April 27, 2012

Donald James Anderson

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Neil Delfino

November 30, 2012

Don was a fast learner. He did some very interesting research that changed the oil industry. I still have fond thoughts about some of the toys that we built for a field trial in Huntington Beach. We will miss Don.

Tamara Nerdrum

April 26, 2012

Really enjoyed getting to know you this past year and felt like you were "part of the family" at our gatherings. We will remember you kindly friend...Tamara, Omar and Farooq

Stephanie Ivans

April 24, 2012

OMG! Don, I just saw you a couple weeks back. We really had a good time taking pictures for all those events. We met at St. Paul's, Ventura. And just to show you how small this world is, it turns out you knew my Dad, Jack Nerdrum from sailing against him in many a race 60's-80's. I'm going to miss your sense of humor the most. Via con Dios my friend.

Valerie Craft

April 23, 2012

I will miss Don- A legend & a hero!
For so many a "...sail or stay?"
Don's witty, special, deciding voice was always there.

Mike and Karen Turek

April 23, 2012

Too sudden, too young. We will miss Don as will the many mariners Don has broadcasted marine weather to.

April 23, 2012

Romans 15:33

Kioren Moss

April 22, 2012

In 1977, Don and his crew won the San Miguel Sledgehammer race, around all four Channel Islands. It is a grueling course, and Scotch Mist was first to finish. We, on Firelock, were second, not that the fleet was very large. At the trophy presentation ceremony, Don entertained everyone with his wit and wisdom, and established himself as an unforgettable character.

The Pedraza Family

April 22, 2012

Shocked and so very saddend. Don will be very missed!

Ed Steever

April 21, 2012

Donny, we hardly knew ye.
Our time together was all too short. Rest in peace.

Deacon Ed

Lee Hatfield Jr

April 21, 2012

My Condolences to all who knew Don,
God Comfort you in your time of loss.

N6HG Silent Key

73 K2HAT