580 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 4 JULY 2020
well into his ninth decade, sold 1152 Mainland, it had become an iconic
landmark in one of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods.
Gordon was a gifted raconteur. His stories were generally self-deprecating,
with a touch of the shaggy dog and a lot of body language. His ability to
spool out one hilarious story after another from a rarely repeated, ever
increasing library of hilarious stories ensured that any occasion that
included Gordon would leave one with aching face muscles from all the
laughing one did while listening to him. He loved people—was there ever a
cab that Gordon got into where he did not end up knowing the life story of
the driver before he reached his destination?—and had a great sense for
their strengths, their foibles and what inspired them. His understanding of
humanity was fundamentally joyful. He was capable of mordant and biting
observations, but that wasn’t his default mode. Essentially, he saw the good
in life and in people.
Gordon and Marigold enjoyed the finer things life had to offer, even when
their means were limited. As a young couple on their first date, they saw
Lena Horne at the Cave Supper Club. And in 1966, Gordon bought a Mustang,
thereby earning great respect from his teenage son Charles. He later
gave the car to his second son, David, who painted it canary yellow. “Geez,
Dave,” Gordon might have said, voicing rare and never heavy-handed disapproval.
And when it was the fashion to do so, Gordon even briefly sported
mutton chops that would have earned approving nods from both the Grateful
Dead and the Fathers of Confederation. Gordon was a sharp dresser, too,
as those zoot-suit ski pants foreshadowed. In later years, Gordon would cut
a fine trim figure walking in downtown Vancouver in a beautifully tailored
suit and finely buffed shoes.
Gordon and Marigold’s busy family life included lots of vigorous recreation.
They skied at Whistler from the first season it opened (and then later
bought a cabin there, which became a focal point for family gatherings
across generations). They loaded up the family station wagon for trips to Silver
Star. They bought a cabin on Bowen Island, where Marigold and the kids
would spend the summer, with Gordon commuting on Wednesday nights
and weekends. They hiked the local mountains and trails, including the
West Coast Trail with their youngest son, Andrew. And once their children
were grown, Gordon and Marigold embraced travel and adventure with passion.
They placer mined in the Yukon. They skied in Aspen and in the Swiss
Alps. They cycled the back roads and boated the canals of France. They cast
a gimlet eye on Lenin’s embalmed corpse in Moscow. They wore kimonos
at ryokans in Japan. They ate sea cucumbers in China. They hiked to
Machu Picchu. They communed with blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos.