HILLSDALE, N.J.– Doris Gordon of Hillsdale remembers the flutter she felt when she ran into the man who would become her husband of 61 years as if it were yesterday.
"It was Saturday night and I was at the Paramus Roller Rink and was wondering if I would see the sailor boy that night, if he was home on leave," she told Daily Voice. "Sure enough, there he was, leaning on the railing, giving me the eye.
"Then moonlight couples time came and I got a tap on the shoulder," she said. " 'Would you like to skate?' he asked.
"Well, that was the beginning of life with Charles W. Gordon for the next six decades."
"Chuck" Gordon, Sr., who died last Thursday at 81, will be remembered for his love for his family, as well as for a lifetime of service to his community and country.
The U.S. Navy veteran will be honored with a private military burial June 17 in Delaware, followed by a life celebration.
"Dad was a lifetime volunteer," Keren Gordon Cinzio told Daily Voice. "He always put others first."
Gordon served as a Hillsdale police officer from 1960-65, earning a Medal of Valor and several citations for bravery. He also was a borough firefighter and ambulance corps member.
He directed the award-winning Valley Grenadiers Drum and Bugle Corps and was a member of the color guard of the Hawthorne Caballeros senior corps.
Gordon was an accomplished carpenter, as well.
"His workshop was packed with the perfect collection of saws and sanders to make custom shelving and crafts," daughter Debra Gordon recalled. "When I was little, I would watch him create one-of-a-kind pieces with precision and care."
"He made the kitchen table we all ate at," Cinzio added. "It was quite large and took up most of our small kitchen space in the tiny Cape Cod we grew up in."
Gordon also loved to fish, play softball and soak up the sun.
"He was very athletic," daughter Theresa Gordon Assante noted. "So many years later I still meet folks who knew of his athletic ability both on the field and as a coach."
Gordon was also a humorist, faithful Christian and proud patriot. He fancied Cheez-It crackers and Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer – a frequent weekend afternoon snack while watching a ballgame.
"He had a smile of encouragement and approval, which helped if you were struggling with something," Cinzio said. "When he marched in the firemen's parades and we would be on the curb as they marched by, he would salute and flash that signature smile at us."
Gordon is survived by Doris Ann (Appeld) Gordon; six children and their spouses: Charles, Jr. (Patty); Andrew (Randi); Theresa (Anthony); Keren (Kenneth); Ruth (David); and Debra (Tara); 16 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister, Shirley Eikhoff.
Family members asked that donations be made in lieu of flowers to the Charles W. Gordon Memorial Fund in support of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Seasons Hospice Foundation.
Checks can be made payable to Charles W Gordon Memorial Fund and dropped off at any area PNC Bank.
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