Eulogy by Peter Gordon

Socrates, the greatest philosopher of all time, said the unexamined life is not worth living.  My father, Dick Gordon, may have responded, “yes, of course, but the over-examined life is not living at all.”

Dick Gordon had a very worthwhile life.  His was a forward march armed with simple truths. Here are the ones that stand out to the family:

  • Be honest.
  • Be direct - but still always be aware of others feelings!
  • Respect everybody - and that means all cultures.
  • Be 100% loyal to family and friends.
  • Take your responsibilities and duties seriously, avoid alcohol absolutely
  • Eat lots of peanut butter. Practically every day of his life he ate peanut butter.
  • Save money
  • Avoid such foods as garlic and raw oysters - like the plague.
  • Dogs are man's best friend - He always had a dog. His favorite book which he reread at 90 was "Lad, a Dog".

Dick grew up in Massachusetts and Long Island New York. His father John emigrated from Kiev, Ukraine, in the early 20th century.

He signed up with the U.S. Army in World War II and was trained as a medic.  Along the way he earned a Purple Heart medal for being shot up by friendly fire and developed friendships that would last for life.

He was a teetotaler according to his life-long army buds, who's idea of relaxation was drinking a coke - just one, while everybody else chugged beers.

Responsibilities which he took seriously in the Army included company rat catcher.

In 1949 Dick met Jane...and life was never the same.

Just prior to completing a PHD in Political Science my father was accepted into the Foreign Service. With his mild manner and non-controversial persona the diplomatic service fit him to a tee.

Those truths that I mentioned a moment ago - well they both helped him and, perhaps got in the way.

My mom spoke admirably of the time she and dad went to a diplomat/c function in Wellington, New Zealand. For some reason only hors d'oeuvres were served and those hors d'oeuvres turned out to be all forms of raw oysters. She would chuckle that he made it out safely but not before ingesting five raw oysters, without grimace, but with huge pain. This was the second time he came close to dying for his country.

The one thing he never ingested for his country was alcohol. In fact Dick's abstinence was sited, negatively, in a work performance review back in the mid 60's.

Dick became a Rotarian in 1955 in the Philippines and was one of the founders of the Potomac/Bethesda Rotary Club in 1980.

He proudly took on leadership positions in Rotary giving time and effort to such Rotary projects as combating Polio.

When my mother died in 2010 he organized Rotary's Jane Gordon Foundation for Haitian Relief.  More than $7000 has been collected for earthquake victims there so far.

At home he was a father who usually knew best, but not always, but he was always there.

When the family returned from Burma all five children needed school physicals. Our mother made back to back appointments with a doctor in Bethesda. When we arrived at the doctor's office there was a statue of a slave holding a lantern. He went inside and cancelled all our appointments.

He was a writer and always encouraged us to get to the point with the fewest words possible.

When we went to him with our problems he would always ask us what we thought the solution was before he gave his input.

Even though he was not a Catholic, he had tremendous respect for the Catholic Church because of his beloved Jane...and favorite professor from Georgetown University, Father Joseph Durkin.

In fact if he thought any of us skipped Church on Sunday we would get a lecture.

In the last few years Dick discovered he and Jane could be buried at Arlington. My mother was buried there in 2010 and Dad took much comfort in visiting this majestic site.

He will be buried there with full military honors in about three months. 

We invite all who loved him to attend.