Keith Robert Anderson, 46

Keith Robert Anderson, 46 Keith Anderson awoke Friday in the home he cherished with his partner Charles by his side and made an abrupt departure from this world. If it were up to him, his obituary would simply read: “Keith Anderson: Dead.”

But it’s not up to him. It is up to those lucky few of us who knew his smile, his wit, his humanity and especially his beloved surliness.

Nothing was ever easy for Keith, but you’d certainly never hear that from him.

He grew up in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, where he was the youngest of seven children on his family’s dairy farm. His German and Norwegian ancestry, his Midwestern Lutheran upbringing and his handicap all combined to give him a unique appreciation of life, a sometimes-hilariously forthright manner and an ability to find joy in places most of us never look.

At Cedarburg High School and the University of Wisconsin- Madison, he put his quick wit and intelligence to good use as a debate and forensics team member and judge, earned a degree in English and became a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan. After graduating in 1993, he joined the Peace Corps and taught English in Kazakhstan for three years while developing a love of traveling, which he did until, as he said, “his money ran out” in 1995, and his lifelong friend Mark Riedeman convinced him to settle in Raleigh.

He had a great career as a director at Cicero Inc. for 16 years and did beautiful work supporting many of the small businesses operated by his friends. He weathered adversity with neither complaint nor anger and from dawn to dusk he helped everyone around him. Colleagues, friends and family relied on him daily and he had a smart, knowledgeable, humanities-based enthusiasm for business.

More than anything in this world though, Keith loved Charles. They met in Raleigh in 2004 and have been inseparably in love ever since. A good cup of coffee and a grilled cheese sandwich with Charles was all it took to make Keith truly happy. His business expertise was invaluable to helping Charles grow Oxide Architecture and he was immensely proud of the beautiful work they did.

They traveled together, stayed in interesting hotels, visited museums, ate wonderful meals, took impromptu road trips and often just hid out together on staycations.

They were home together when Keith’s life ended quickly from a pulmonary embolism. His sudden and early passing leaves an immeasurable void for all who knew him.

In addition to his loving partner, Charles Holden, Keith is survived by his dear friend Mark Riedeman, his mother, Carolyn Anderson, brothers Mark (Natalie), Barry (Anna), Brian (Carol), and sisters Ellen (Mike) Weitzel, Gail (Will) Davis and Robin (Bob) VanDinter, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial celebrations are being planned for Raleigh, N.C., on Nov. 26, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Garland Restaurant, and Cedarburg, on Dec. 10, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Cedars III Bowling Center. In lieu of flowers: https://donate.peacecorps.gov/donate/fund/education-fund/#amount-form