Arlie F. Gordon, 76, of Union, died March 17 at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise. A graveside service will begin at 2 p.m. Friday at the Union Cemetery with a celebration of life potluck to follow at the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show clubhouse. Services are casual dress. Loveland Funeral Chapel and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.
Arlie was born Aug. 9, 1931, to Ralph and Lillian Gordon in Eureka, Calif. The only boy of four children, he was raised on the family ranch in Showers Pass, Calif. Arlie worked all around that area for many years. He married Dorene McPherson and raised two children, Candy and Abe.
In 1969 the family moved to Summerville, Calif., where he worked for Sierra Pacific as a truck driver for 16 years. He and Dorene divorced in 1981.
He married his wife, the love of his life, Karen, on Oct. 22, 1982, in Reno. They were together for 25 years. He became dad to her four children: Jackie, Stormie, Marty and Debbie. In 1992, they moved to the Grande Ronde Valley where Arlie became involved in many things. He worked for the Union Cemetery District for the last 11 1/2 years. He was on the Planning Commission for seven years before serving eight years on the Union City Council where he was the liaison for the Planning Commission. He was voted Man of the Year in 2005.
Those who knew him say Arlie had a passion for doing his part to improve and help the community grow. They say that people may have not always agreed with Arlie, but they always knew his view and where he stood on things.
Arlie enjoyed hunting, fishing, mushrooming and huckleberry picking. He loved his work at the cemetery and took great pride in his work. He enjoyed helping with the stock show every year and riding his horse when time allowed. He loved spending time with his family and watching his grandchildren in their activities.
In 2007, Arlie and Karen started running the concession stand for Union High School and loved putting time into making it run smoothly.
Arlie is survived by his wife, Karen; daughter, Candy and her husband, Al Fizer, of Janesville, Calif.; stepchildren, Jackie and her husband, David Chase, of Herlong, Calif., Stormie and her husband, Scott Watkins of Ballinger, Texas, Marty and his wife, Melody Weston, of Huntington, and Debbie and her husband, John Savely of Union; 19 grandchildren, four of which are serving in the armed forces; 23 great-grandchildren with three more due to be born this year; three sisters; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Lillian Gordon of California; son and daughter-in-law, Abe and Liz Gordon of Cove; and infant granddaughter, Rochelle of California
Memorial contributions may be made to the Union Cemetery at 770 E. Fulton St., Union 97883. A drinking fountain will be erected in memory of Arlie at the cemetery.
La Grande Observer – Obituaries for the week ending March 29, 2008 – Published March 26, 2008
Cemetery to honor Arlie Gordon
Written by Ethan Schowalter-Hay,
Union — The recent death of Arlie Gordon has hit hard at the Union Victorian Cemetery, where for 11 1/2 years he worked as caretaker.
His devoted service will soon be memorialized on the very grounds he maintained, thanks to a decision by the Union Cemetery Maintenance District Board.
At a special meeting March 21, the board moved to open a fund to install a water fountain in the cemetery in Gordon’s honor.
“Arlie was a unique character who had become synonymous with the Union Victorian Cemetery,” said Board Chairman Donna Patterson.
The idea for the memorial had its seed with Gordon himself. Every autumn for the past several years, the board has invited local fourth-graders to visit the cemetery, hoping to familiarize them with a place some children might be fearful of.
Gordon had been an integral part of that outreach, wowing the kids with his demonstrations of “grave-witching,” an ancient method for locating unmarked burials.
According to Patterson, Gordon had long suggested putting in a water fountain on the grounds, so that thirsty students didn’t have to drink out of the hose.
Now, with the creation of the memorial fund, Gordon’s dream is becoming reality. Patterson said the board hoped to install the fountain by Memorial Day.
The dedication he demonstrated with the students, Patterson noted, extended to the larger community. In addition to his varied groundskeeping jobs, Gordon was quick to direct visitors seeking a tombstone.
“He would willingly take a break from any task to not only locate the grave, but would lead the visitors there, always with a cheery smile and good attitude,” Patterson said in a statement. “He learned a lot about the history of our residents and enjoyed telling their stories.”
She added, “And he was the best storyteller. One day he caught me listening to him telling a story to a visitor, realized I had heard the story before and had to have known he wasn’t telling it the same way.
“He stopped, looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, ‘Well, I never tell a story the same way twice,’ and then continued on.”
Gordon, who was 76, died March 17 in Boise. In addition to working at the cemetery, he had years of combined service on the planning commission and the Union City Council.
Contributions to the water fountain memorial fund may be addressed to: Union Cemetery District, P.O. Box 707, Union 97883.
A separate fund to help with the expenses of his family — including his widow, Karen — is still active at Union’s branch of Community Bank.
Meanwhile, the board has hired Bob Houck as temporary caretaker for April and May, while it searches for a replacement for Gordon.
“Of course things will go on at the cemetery and the rest of the town,” Patterson noted. “But there will never be another Arlie!”
The Observer April 03, 2008 03:09 pm – Photo with original article
Submitted by Dixie Ricker