Robert S. Gordon
Our beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Robert Salaway Gordon, passed away on September 14, 2016. We, as a family, are only now beginning to come to terms with our grief and the fact that he is gone. Robert was a good man who considered everyone he knew to be a friend. Although he was a very private man and requested no services, we want to share at this time a brief history of his life to all of his friends. He was born October 6th, 1916, in Boston, Massachusetts, and was the youngest of two children. "Bobby" as he was known, always had an inquisitive mind and a desire to see the world. As a young boy, he was intrigued by how things worked, and had a particular interest in science, mathematics and engineering. Much to his mother's exasperation, he would frequently take apart and put back together various things in the house, including the radiator thermostat, clocks, watches, and other gadgets. This led to a life-long passion in mechanical engineering, and, later to a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from MIT in 1938. At a young age, Bob learned how to play cribbage from his father, Isaac, and developed a lifelong mastery and enjoyment of the game. Bob also spent many hours at his friend Andre's house, where he learned to speak fluent French, as that was the only language spoken in the Laus household. Bob always had some great stories about his childhood. He and his friends would jump on the rails of the horse drawn sleigh ice wagon and ride from stop to stop, infuriating the driver and worrying his mother, Minnie. Sledding down the steep hill by his house and countless other winter activities were enjoyed by Bob and his friends. In addition to great memories with his family and other friends, he spent time with an older neighbor, Mr. Cox, helping him shovel coal for the winter, and building ham radios and other small mechanical items. Bob met Joan Williams at a local high school dance and told himself that she was so beautiful he was determined to marry her. Having the courage to start a conversation with Joan was difficult for Bob; he was convinced that she was the only girl he ever wanted to be with, but that she was "out of his league." Their initial friendship grew stronger as he tutored Joan in Algebra and Chemistry. His education at MIT and U.S. Navy service in Hawaii meant it would take 13 years before Bob could marry the love of his life. They married on February 24th, 1946 in a typically small post war wedding and headed off to the new land of Hawaii. Joan was fond of saying that at that time almost no one in Massachusetts knew about anything that was west of the Mississippi River, let alone Hawaii. They traveled on the Lurline to Honolulu, which had been converted into a troop ship with dormitories and officer's quarters because of the war. This was the beginning of a new life for Bob and Joan. They landed in Hawaii in March of 1946. In December of 1947, they welcomed their first child into the world, Richard Williams. Their first daughter, Kathleen Madeleine in was born in May of 1949, and youngest daughter, Carol Joan in November of 1950. Their life in Hawaii was exciting. Bob and Joan both were living an adventurer's life. Those post war days in Hawaii were unlike anything they had ever known and very different from the Hawaii of today. Family was of utmost importance to Bob, and because he wanted his children to have a relationship with their grandmother, he wrote back to his mother in law, Katherine Williams, saying that she would always have a place to live with them in Hawaii. She took advantage of this offer, and would spend most of her later years with Bob, Joan, and the kids in Kailua. An uncle of Bob's once remarked, "That boy is going to go somewhere in his life." It took a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice, but his uncle was correct. After being discharged from the Navy in 1946 at the rank of Lieutenant Commander, Bob was employed by Libby, McNeal and Libby, as an industrial engineer in the pineapple, agriculture and canning division. Bob wanted to work with an "Island Company," and sought employment with Castle and Cooke, in their newly developed Industrial Engineering program, and was offered a position in 1952. During his tenure at this company, he served numerous executive positions of C&C's subsidiaries: Castle and Cooke Terminals, Ltd., Hawaiian Equipment Company, Kawaihae Terminals, Kohala Corporation, Malaysian Rock Products, Wailua Sugar Company, California and Hawaiian Sugar Company, Oahu Transport Company, Hawaiian Hauling and Container Corp, and the Thai-Asia Steel Pipe Company, and other C&C ventures. After nearly 30 years of dedication and service to C&C, he retired at the position as Senior Executive Vice President in November of 1981. Bob and Joan enjoyed a happy, fulfilling and productive retirement. Bob always had a strong sense of public service and giving back to the community in which he lived. He served as Trustee on the boards of numerous charitable and non-profit enterprises, such as the Queen's Medical Center, Queen's Healthcare System, and the Queen Emma Foundation, as well as the Hawaii Medical Service Association, the Board of Governors for Goodwill Industries of Honolulu, and as a director of the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific. Bob and Joan also traveled all over the world: Hong Kong, Bangkok, Australia, England, France, Eastern Europe, and Canada. Thanks to his father's early lessons, Bob was a master at Cribbage, and for many days out of the week would be found with his friends enjoying a game of cribbage at The Pacific Club, where he served as Club President in the early 1980's. Bob and Joan became grandparents in 1972 to Jenny Mulqueeney, and again, in 1987, to Robert Donald Lechner-Gordon. Bob was a kind and loving grandfather, and was able to spend a great deal of time with both his grandchildren even though they lived in Oregon. Reading bedtime stories, enjoying first days of school, and having Robert and Jenny spend countless summers with them at the family home in Kailua was a delight for Bob and Joan. After Joan's death in 2002, Bob still enjoyed an active and healthy life in his condo in Nuuanu, where he was continually delighted by the love and company of his children, grandchildren and great-granddaughters. Bob was well liked by all who he had come into contact with, and lived by the ideal that "Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect". He was a man of great achievement in business, love, life and family. He leaves behind his three children, Richard W. Gordon, (Sophie) of Kapaau, Hawaii, Kathleen M. Gordon Mulqueeney, of Beaverton, Oregon, and Carol J. Gordon-Howe, (Jeffrey) of Silverton, Oregon. He is also survived by his two grandchildren Robert D. Lechner-Gordon, and Jenny S. Mulqueeney, in addition to his two great-grandchildren, Madison Savannah "Kaikea" Mercer and Delaney Mulqueeney "Pualani" Mercer.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased