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Ageless auctioneer Ken Anderson keeps going

For several decades, Ken Anderson was one of the primary auctioneers in southeast Saskatchewan.
Retired farmer and auctioneer Ken Anderson in his hayfield.

CARLYLE - Ninety-six-year-old Ken Anderson has enjoyed a long and productive life.

In addition to being a small grain and livestock farmer south of Arcola, he attended a short but intensive auctioneering school in Mason City, Iowa, in 1961. He conducted his first auction sale in 1962 and has never looked back.

For several decades, Anderson was one of the primary auctioneers in southeast Saskatchewan. He conducted machinery auctions, cattle auctions and PMU horse auctions. He had household auctions, estate auctions and closing-out farm auctions. Nearly all occurred on the home properties of the sellers.

In 1992, Anderson farmed around 1,000 acres. He had a hunch about the weather that year and received hail insurance proceeds. These funds were put to good use as retired veterinarian Dr. Tom Johnston and his wife Vera wanted to sell their acreage in Carlyle.

The following year, Anderson purchased a sixty-acre parcel of land from the retired couple which was located on the south end of Main Street. He promptly had it subdivided and had an auction barn erected on the south side of the property.

From that building, he conducted several more auction sales before formally retiring around 20 years ago. The subdivision attracted investment and several large, beautiful homes were constructed. This block of properties was formally named Anderson Place in his honour.

Anderson shared many stories about his auctioneering days.

“Back in the day, every sale was done by bidding with your arm up in the air. The sale was completed by a shake of hands and a cheque for payment. There was no internet, cell phone or computer bidding. Sales were completed and agreed to in a honourable way. I even detested the eventual use of bidding cards. I like calling out the name of the bidder, not a number,” he explained.

Anderson married Thelma in 1954. They had six children, five daughters and then a son. From that marriage he has 18 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Thelma passed away from leukemia in 1985 at the age of 53.

In 1992, Anderson married Peggy Winmill. Peggy assisted him with his auctions and was the cashier. Other people who helped over the years included Joyce, Gordon, and Jack Chandler, Dwain Davis and Ileane Hourd.

Anderson also auctioneered the Carlyle Chamber of Commerce art auctions during the 1980s and ‘90s. He was the first auctioneer for the annual Carlyle and District Lions Club’s Supper and Auction and helped mentor a young local talent named Ward Cutler. “Ward was young, energetic and perhaps a bit too aggressive when he first started. In fact, I told him on many occasions to slow it down a bit. You are talking too fast and mumbling too much. He sure turned out to be a good one though, and a world champion to boot,” Anderson proudly said.  

Anderson was heavily involved in community affairs. He was a councillor for the RM of Brock for many years. He served as director for the Arcola Agricultural Society and assisted with sports days and the rodeo. He was one of the charter members of the Arcola Optimist Club and served on the South Arcola and St. Andrew’s United Church Boards.

In 1991, he was the president of the Saskatchewan Auctioneer’s Association. In 2007, he was inducted into the Saskatchewan Auctioneer’s Hall of Honour after 44 years of service.

Anderson and Winmill moved from Anderson Place in 2012 and now reside at Carlyle Lions Pride Estates. In December of 2022, Anderson broke his hip and is presently recuperating at the Moose Mountain Lodge. He expects to be fully discharged by June 1 and remains in excellent health.

“You know, I have lived a great life. I was married to a wonderful wife, Thelma, for 31 years, and now I have been married to another wonderful wife, Peggy, for 31 years. Remember, you are just as old as you feel. And I really feel great,” he chuckled.