Seymour Gordon, age 87, a longtime resident of Warwick, died on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 while doing one of the things he loved the most, peacefully fishing at a local pond. He was a lifelong avid fisherman and gardener, a potato latke maker par excellence, he also continually perfected the art of homemade gefilte fish, and he smoked a mean turkey!
The youngest son of the seven children of Bertha and Samuel Gordon, he was born on February 7, 1923 in Woodridge, NY. He graduated from Monticello High School in 1940, and during World War II served in the Pacific Theater and then was assigned to the army of occupation of Korea. He attended Hobart College under the GI Bill of Rights. There, he met and married his wife Shirley, a student at William Smith College, in 1948.
The young couple moved first to Chester and then to Warwick, where Seymour joined the family hardware business. In 1951, Seymour opened Gor-Dun's, a farm equipment dealership in Goshen.
Passionate about many causes, particularly land preservation and the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, which literally means "healing the world," Seymour was Chairman of Warwick Purchase of Development Rights Alliance (PDR); Chair of the Agricultural and Open Space Preservation Board; Vice President of the Warwick Conservancy; a member of the Orange County Planning Board, the Orange County Land Trust, the Orange County Open Space Alliance; Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Agricultural Program of the Warwick Valley Central School District; Treasurer of Future Farmers of America Foundation; and past President of New York Farm Equipment Dealers' Association. He was the first president of Jewish Family Service in Orange County, Past President of Temple Beth Shalom, Florida, NY, Past Board Member of Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, and a current member of Temple Sinai in Middletown.
In 2004, the Warwick Town Board acknowledged and honored Seymour Gordon's extraordinary and selfless contributions to the Town of Warwick where he worked to permanently protect thousands of acres of productive farmland and open space. A plaque dedicated to him hangs in the Warwick Town Hall. In 2010, he was recognized as Orange County Outstanding Senior Citizen.
After retirement, Seymour began a second, part-time career in windshield repair, which kept him active and busy fixing windshields throughout the county in a bright red truck with "Windshield Repair" on the doors. Seymour proudly expressed his convictions on the rear bumper of that truck, which he drove until the day of his death. A selection of those convictions follows: "No farms, no food." "It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." "Premier leadership, personal growth, career success. FFA."
Seymour was the devoted and loving husband for almost 62 years of Shirley Gordon, father of Joy Markel and Leah Gomberg, both of Maplewood, NJ, who survive him, and also the father of David Gordon who died in 1977. He is also survived by a brother, Arnold Gordon of Los Angeles.
He was the beloved father-in-law of Jeffrey Markel and David Gomberg and of Pascale Michel – widow of David Gordon. His son-in-law, Shimon Gadish, died in 1978. He was the loving grandfather of Nadav Markel, Anne Coyle, Sara Markel-Gonzalez, José Gonzalez, David Markel, and Sam, Eli and Noah Gomberg, and the great-grandfather of Sylvie Markel. As the last surviving East Coast Gordon of his generation, he was considered the patriarch of a close-knit group of nieces, nephews and cousins. He leaves behind loving family and many, many friends who will miss him greatly. But the fish can breathe a bubble of relief now.
Funeral services were held on Thursday, July 29, at Temple Sinai. Burial was at Temple Beth Shalom Cemetery in Florida, NY. Shiva will be observed at the Gordon home in Warwick, with a Shiva minyan on Thursday, Sunday and Monday evenings at 8 p.m. On Tuesday, Shiva will be observed at the home of Joy and Jeffrey Markel in Maplewood, NJ, with Shiva minyan at 7:30 p.m., and condolence calls are welcome after 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Condolence calls are welcome at the Gordon home from 1 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Seymour Gordon's memory may be made to Jewish Family Service of Orange County, Inc., 720 Route 17M, Middletown, NY 10940; Warwick Conservancy, Inc., PO Box 1277, Warwick, NY 10990; Orange County Land Trust, PO Box 2442, 10 Mulberry St., Middletown, NY 10940.
Arrangements by Cornelius, Dodd and Connell Funeral Home, Middletown, NY. To send the family a condolence, please visit www.connellfuneralhome.com