Morro Bay’s Bud Anderson: An Inspiration to All He Touched

Author Note: The following article was published in my Then & Now column and online at on April 10. A correction to the original posted column had to be made to the actual month we lost Bud Anderson. It is corrected below.  Even with multiple readings it is so easy to miss the big mistakes as we self-edit to get all the words in their proper place to paint the desired picture we are trying to create for our readers. That’s why all writers need a good editor and all readers need to be reminded to fact-check when something looks out of place — especially in today’s world. Regardless of the number of apologies and corrections by the publication, in our digital world a published mistake or mis-quote or modification of the facts and yes, personal information you don’t really care the world to know lives on somewhere. My sincere apologies immediately went out to the family and friends who helped me compile this tribute to a wonderful man with a wonderful network of people who cherished him.


I hope my blog and Facebook readers will be equally as inspired by Bud Anderson. He touched many spreading his work ethic and personal respect for others not realizing he was a living example of how we each should value those we meet along the way.


Bud Anderson, daughter Mollie, and friend, David Peter at an annual family Thanksgiving Dinner, the one day a year The Galley of Morro Bay is closed to the public.

Harold J. “Bud” Anderson of Morro Bay passed away at 93 in late March. Residents will miss joining him and wife Rita at Morro Bay Historical Society meetings or attending Estero Bay Community Foundation functions. More so are those many teen lives he inspired while employed at their first job at the original Galley Restaurant. During Morro Bay’s 50th anniversary the couple was recognized, thus, featured in my former column written for the SLO Tribune. Bud said, “Over the years we trained hundreds of Morro Bay High School students. We wanted good students who were good citizens.”

When the family decided to re-purpose their Embarcadero lease-site and focus on operating the Anderson Inn, it was typical of Bud’s legacy to ask former employee Dave Peter to partner in restaurant — now known as the Galley Seafood Grill and Bar — knowing he would carry forward with the Anderson legacy. Peter’s first hire and co-owner was Head Chef Henry Galvez, a fellow teen employee.

Peter loves to tell the story about Bud offered him his first job. After Little League his family would celebrate at “the Galley. “When I was about ten Bud asked if I wanted to join the Galley Farm Team. I bugged him till I was fourteen. It was a proud day when I started working as a busboy on my birthday.”  It was also an easy decision to give up a successful career and return from Germany in 2005. “Bud set the bar for customer service and how to treat the staff. We share multigenerational staff members some who have worked for him and us for up to 30 years.”

Janice and Stan House raised two of the “…countless teenagers who learned their work ethic at the Galley. Bud stressed the importance of getting an education. If your grades weren’t up, you were expected to get them up.”

Keith and Wendy George had two children who worked for Bud. Now living in Maryland, Meg Meador recalled, “In spring of my senior year, I confirmed I would work again during the coming summer at The Galley. But the promised employment came with a condition – that I would come by The Galley with my prom date in May.” Her date questioned such a request. She answered, “Because Bud and Mollie have to approve of you – and they want to see our outfits.” Meg confirmed “That’s what made being part of Bud Anderson’s circle so special. Whether you were an employee or a patron, you were treated like family.”

Tim Barkas worked for Bud from 1972 to 1989. “I started in high school. I didn’t intend to keep working there after college but it was a great place to work.” After marriage and kids, he took a state job forever admiring Bud’s work ethic. “He took few days off. Customers would be disappointed if he wasn’t there to greet them. He’d open at eleven, go home briefly at 4:30 to change and be back at 5:00 for the dinner shift mostly seven days a week.

“One fun memory was our streaker,” Barkas continued. “After eating a guy disappeared into the restroom then streaked past Bud’s busy counter. He didn’t see him naked until too late. Bud later said he’d wished he thought faster to give him a well-placed kick.”

Mollie Anderson said her father remarked recently how proud he was to celebrate his 70th Anniversary married to Rita. Years ago, in my column he also proudly celebrated the success of his children. “At age nine Jeff was fileting fish in the market for 10 cents a pound. Mollie was 13 and Rodger 15 when they started working in the restaurant. Mollie matured to play LPGA golf while Rodger ultimately served as mayor and treated all he met like family.”

Born in San Luis in 1925, the family owned the historic SLO Anderson Hotel. They moved to Morro Bay in 1958. Florence and Bill Wilson, a fisherman, had a fish market and restaurant they offered to Bud. Rita encouraged the purchase. They opened in 1966 and he recalled, “We specialized in fish Bill caught…he’d dock at the restaurant and amaze customers by pulling up the fresh-hooked cod right in front of our window. We were a funky restaurant, but understood customer relations and good food would keep us competitive.”

For several years, Stan House, Keith Taylor, and Jim Wood would regularly walk to Morro Rock. House recalled, “So many people would come up and either shake Bud’s hand or give him a hug. If one person can epitomize kindness, civility, family and community it is Bud Anderson

In fact, Bud’s advice to Morro Bay’s residents, “Whether we’ve lived here 54 years or 54 weeks, we all have the same rights and responsibilities – to be kind to each other and make decisions based on what is best for Morro Bay.”