Robert Vincent Gordon, age 69, passed away on Monday, May 4, 2020, from complications of Covid-19 in Fairfax.
Robert Gordon was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, residing in the Falls Church Ward, Falls Church City, for most of the last 20 years. Robert was a quiet fixture in town, often seen sitting alone with his walker outside the Giant grocery store or at McDonald’s.
Robert was born May 7, 1950, in Washington, D.C., the eldest of three children born to Vincent Cornelius (Mike) Gordon and Lillian Theresa Harper. He and his two younger brothers were raised by their maternal grandparents, William and Mary Harper, in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
A generous child, whenever the ice cream truck came around, Robert would buy ice cream for the other children in the neighborhood. He loved race cars, and learned how to dissect frogs in science class. His brothers followed him because he was their mentor.
Quitting high school early, Robert worked at the Gulf gas station as the night attendant. At age 18 he joined the Job Corps in Kentucky and obtained his high school diploma. There he was trained to become a diesel mechanic, specializing in excavators. He also took up boxing in the Job Corps, which he loved because he was a fighter at heart. He always had a strong sense of justice, what was right and what was wrong, and sometimes his temper came out because of it.
Robert’s life was forever changed when at age nineteen he was in a car accident near Croom, north of Upper Marlboro. A traumatic brain injury left him in a coma for 30 days, and when he awoke, he was unable to walk or even to speak. After a year of rehabilitation at centers in Baltimore and Hagerstown, Robert was eventually able to get around with a walker. His speech was severely impaired, and it took a lot of effort and repetition for the hearer to understand, but with practice one could understand what he was saying.
Robert has been physically handicapped almost all of his adult life, but he told us many times that his condition was given him “for His glory”, meaning the glory of God. He knew that people needed to see him and to hear what he had to say.
He would often tell the story of how he became handicapped and was always volunteering for a job that he could do, greeting people or distributing literature. He served as a greeter in the Church for many years and was ordained to the office of Elder. He was assigned families in the Church to visit as a minister, of which they have fond memories.
Robert loved his family and looked forward to their calls and visits. His brother Neil used to drive down from New York twice a year to pickup Robert, and the two would go around visiting his family and friends in Upper Marlboro. Robert always looked forward to those visits, and his family have said how they loved seeing him as well.
Robert touched a lot of lives. He made us better people. We needed Robert more than he needed us. We know that he lives now without impediments or pain, conversing freely with his family and friends on the other side, awaiting the day when his body will be restored to its perfect frame in the Resurrection of the Just.
Robert was interred on May 19 by his family at Heritage Memorial Cemetery in Waldorf, Maryland.