Forever in our hearts, Ezzrett "Sugarfoot" Anderson, beloved family patriarch and legendary Calgarian passed away on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at the Foothills Hospital. Sugarfoot, whose gridiron nickname became a lifelong signature, lived a full and fruitful 97 years. He was born in Nashville, Arkansas on February 10th, 1920 to parents Florence and Ezzrett Anderson Sr.a€"a renowned baseball player in the old Negro Leagues.His was a sporting lifea€"which started in his early school years and continued at Kentucky State where he earned a spot on an all-America football team. While there he met his first wife Virnetta, from Hot Springs Arkansas. In 1943 they joined their extended family in moving to California to help with the war effort. "Sug", as he was often called, was a two-way star who could pass, catch and defend. He soon attracted the attention of the pros, playing with the Hollywood Bears of the Pacific Coast League in 1945-46 and the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference in 1947. During those years Sugarfoot also found work in the movie industry, appearing in over 20 films, including a speaking role in the original "Story of Seabiscuit" with Shirley Temple and Barry Fitzgerald.In 1949, the Calgary Stampedersa€"like many CFL teamsa€"were seeking to bolster the Canadian game with some experienced U.S. talent. And, though Sugarfoot had retired from play, he was persuaded by old friend Woody Strode and storied coach Les Lear to bring his speed and versatility to Calgary. He became an instant star and popular figure both on and off the field for his talent, easygoing style and affable, bigger-than-life personality. He was an all-star CFL player in '49 when the Stamps lost to the Montreal Alouettes in the Grey Cup and was one of only two Americans to make all-pro in Canada at both offence and defense. And the only player in franchise history to wear the iconic "00". He retired at the end of 1955, was added to the Stampeders' Wall of Fame in 1990 and inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.His years off the field were no less colourful. From 1950 to 1955 Sugarfoot had a popular radio show on CKXL, fronted a blues band called "The Bluenotes", and made many appearances on stage and at events supporting charities and enriching Calgary's culture and music scene. In 2013 he was presented with the "Canada's Recording Legacy Award of Recognition".Sugarfoot attended SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology), where he received his Red Seal as a Heavy Duty mechanic. He owned his own service station in the heart of downtown Calgary and went on to work for the group of companies that included Standard General, Inland Cement and Genstara€"retiring after 32 years.Sugarfoot always maintained his connection to the Stampeders: spending many years as an account representative and ambassador for the teama€"which allowed him to collect what had eluded him during his playing daysa€"5 treasured Grey Cup rings. He was a fixture at McMahon Stadiuma€"a respected elder statesman and mentor from the practice field to the locker rooma€"and a tireless promoter at team events, with the Calgary Stampeders Alumni Association and all around town. Sugar always appreciated the opportunities provided him by the Stamps and his adopted city, and he was never happier than when he was out in public, meeting new people, telling stories and sharing his unique humour. Of course, the family will remember him most for our private joya€"his love of fatherhood, and the great and special love he shared for over 30 years with his devoted wife Anne English. Ezzrett is also survived by sons Barry and John, granddaughters Camille, Desta, Sonja, Vinessa, Jacquilyn and Nikki, grandsons Jonathan and Marka€"and many extended family and friends. He is pre-deceased by his first wife Virnetta and son Vaughn.Sugarfoot stayed active well into his 90's. His spirit and love for life gave him a vital and energetic presencea€"long past the point when the physical effects of age slowed his pace. And so, he will stay forever young and fondly remembered by all who encountered him.The family will be holding a Private Service Tuesday, March 14th. A Celebration of Sugarfoot's Life will be held on Tuesday, March 28th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Red and White Club (1833 Crowchild Trail NW, Calgary AB) and everyone is welcome to come celebrate with friends and family. The family would like to thank the Alberta Health Services Palliative Care nurses whose advice, check-ins and 24/7 support were so vital to Sugar's care, as well as the CBI Home Health Care workers who also aided in helping with his comfort at home.
We also extend our heartfelt thanks to the Calgary Stampeders Football Club for their support over many years and recognition of Sugarfoot as an important part of the Stamps family.
Sugarfoot always made time for, and cared deeply about, his youngest fans. So, in lieu of flowers and other gifts, donations to the Children's Hospital would be appreciated www.childrenshospital.ab.ca
Celebration of Life
MAR 28. 06:30 PM - 08:30 PM
Red and White Club
1833 Crowchild Trail NW
Calgary, AB, CA, T2M 4S7