Editor’s note: This story on Dusty Anchors was written for March 28, 2018 for the Kitsap Sun and highlighted his long health battle that ended today (May 16, 2019) when he died in hospice care. It’s reprinted here for all those who were touched by his positivism and love for life. It’s a sad day for the Anchors family and for all who followed the 68-year-old sports enthusiast in his long career.


For years Dusty Anchors was the “Voice of Westsound”, a man whose tireless positive enthusiasm was difficult to overlook. He and Lane C. Dowell made a wonderful radio broadcast team doing basketball games and a weekend coaches’ corner show on local radio.

Anchors also did the public address at Olympic College basketball games and coached women’s basketball there, coached his two daughters in fastpitch softball  select teams and for Olympic High School and did it with a passion and a heart big enough to draw attention to even the casual observer.

Now that heart has betrayed him. He is in stage four of heart failure, which is terminal. But you would not know that by looking at him because that enthusiasm, that positive outlook has not been stripped away. Despite a three-decade battle with his health, including prostate cancer , Anchors, now living in Battle Ground with wife Lori, continues coaching, this time the softball team at Ridgefield and doing the PA at the school’s basketball games, both boys and girls.

“I’m the type of guy that somebody puts an eight-foot wall in front of me, I get a 10-foot ladder and if there is a 12-foot wall I get a 15-foot ladder,” Anchors said. “I don’t easily take no for an answer. I think outside the box. I’m not going to just do what somebody wants me to do.”

Anchors is receiving the best care available from doctors at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland and the plan is to still be around in July when daughter Kelsey marries.

In late November, Anchors went to OSHU for what was supposed to be a consult. Instead that turned into an 18-day stay in the hospital. Dr. James Mudd, heart failure team leader, read Anchors’ medical chart, walked in and expressed surprise, that he was still alive. And listening to Anchors, 67, detail his extensive health struggles the past 33 years, it’s easy to understand Mudd’s reaction.

But Anchors does not give up easily. He helped friend Stephanie Fox for one good season at Eastlake High School before volunteering to coach at Battle Ground and then hooking on as the head coach at Ridgefield last January, taking the Spudders to the state A softball tournament.

He also lends advice and support to his youngest daughter, Kelsey, who this year became the first female coach of a baseball team in Oregon when she was hired to lead the North Valley High School squad in Grants Pass.

Kelsey also was an assistant coach for girls’ basketball last season and Anchors drove to Grants Pass to do the PA for the North Valley boys and girls games during senior night, and was highly applauded and thanked for the professional job he did.

During Christmas break when Kelsey went home to be with her dad in Battle Ground, her basketball players unbeknown to her, had black T-shirts printed with gold lettering that said Lady Knights on the front and on the back “We Play for Dusty Anchors.”

After being told in January he had stage four heart failure, the Eastlake softball team had bracelets made with the inscription “We’re burning daylight”, which is one of Anchors’ favorite sayings, meaning we are wasting time. They are asking donations for them and have set up a “GoFundMe” account to help pay for a second opinion through the Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic.

Anchors moved from Olympia to Bremerton in 1983 (he did the KBRO Radio broadcast of the Olympic Trojans 6-5 victory over Eastmont to win the 1984 state baseball championship at the Kingdome on Joel Goodnight’s home run). Then in 1985 his first problems surfaced when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s and a tumor the size of a softball was found gripping his heart.

“We found out it was due to being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam,” says Anchors, a crew chief on a helicopter during that war. “Back in that time they did radiation and I took about 20 years of it. Then in 2005 I started having heart problems. I had a heart attack in 2006 and had open heart surgery in 2008. I was done and out for awhile. I was short of breath and couldn’t walk more than 50 feet.”

Doctors were going to do a quadruple by-pass operation but could not do it because the sac around the heart had calcified because of the radiation. He’s since had so many surgical procedures done that it’s mind-boggling. He has a pace maker, had a stent put in, and a device that monitors his heart and alerts OHSU if something is not right.

Four options were given to him at OHSU for treatment, including a heart transplant, but because his bones are brittle from the radiation, that was ruled out. So the option he is under is take medicines and watch his diet and signs his body needs rest.

To make matters worse – if that is possible – Anchors was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April of 2017. Five treatments of Cyberknife radiation has apparently beaten that.

So now it’s day to day for Anchors, who has been given the green light by the Ridgefield School District to coach, so that is what he is doing. It’s amazing Anchors has made it this far. But he’s stubborn and insists his goal is to make it to Kelsey’s marriage and beyond.

“If I keep doing my part and taking my meds, I could be around for another two, three, four, five years,” says Anchors. “But the chances of that happening are not the greatest.”

There is the possibility of getting involved in a clinical trial in Cleveland and that is the reason for Gofundme. In the meantime, Anchors is still planning on being the PA for Ridgefield basketball games, which is what he became well-known for in Kitsapland. He and Dowell met in the gym working out, started talking and soon  they started working together doing local games on KBRO Radio.

“We got along really well,” says Dowell. “We seemed to have a good chemistry. We did three state (basketball) championships together.”

Anchors said, “Lanny and I started doing basketball on Friday nights and later we started doing Coaches Corner on Saturdays. We would have breakfast with coaches and players at the Silverdale Hotel and talk about their games. This was when local radio was a big thing. There hardly is local radio anymore.”

The two had a four-year run with Coaches Corner, eventually bringing John Sitton and Bruce Welling aboard when they were both coaching at Central Kitsap.

Anchors also did the PA for the state class 2A basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome until years later when t was moved to Yakima. He also coached Olympic College women’s basketball for four years and then started a 17-year run coaching select softball involving his oldest daughter Shayla and then Kelsey, who is four years younger than her sister.

In July of 2015, Anchors and Lori moved to Battle Ground to be near Shayla, who is married and living in La Center. He began getting into PA at Battle Ground basketball games and when the volleyball coach asked if they could have an announcer, Anchors,  who also was a volunteer coach for the softball team, readily agreed to do it.

This spring he’s coaching a Ridgefield squad that has almost all its players back from a 17-5 team that made it to state where it suffered two tough losses, 14-12 to Sehome in eight innings in excessive heat and then turning around minutes later to play defending state champion Othello, which scored four runs in the first inning and hung on to a 6-3 win.

Anchors has the Spudders playing well – through four games their record is 4-1 ‑ and it’s a veteran team so it’s possible a state championship could be in the cards, and hopefully those same cards will deal Anchors a life a lot longer than doctors expect.

It was nine years ago Anchors, battling heart problems while still coaching at Olympic High, revealed his iron-willed credo that he still lives by today.

“I’m staying vertical and living the dream,” he said.