Robert Alan “Bob” Gordon (December 7, 1919 – October 10, 2013)

Robert Alan “Bob” Gordon (December 7, 1919 – October 10, 2013)

GREEN RIVER – Robert Alan (Bob) Gordon, 93, of Green River, WY passed away October 10, 2013 after a valiant, 50-year fight with Multiple Sclerosis.

Bob, the eldest of three children, was born December 7, 1919 in Minneapolis, MN to Louis F. “Joe” Gordon and Sonya M. (Eggum) Gordon.

Bob spent his youth in Montana, La Barge, WY, and Salt Lake City, UT, as his family followed his father’s work as an oilfield electrician.

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Among Bob’s fondest memories were those of his years growing up near La Barge where he worked summers as a ranch hand at the various ranches in the area.

During those years Bob most enjoyed horseback riding and breaking and working with horses.

After his 1938 high school graduation from Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, UT, Bob worked on drilling rigs, including the one that discovered the trona ore deposits near Little America that eventually gave rise to the Green River Basin soda ash business beginning with the Westvaco (FMC) mine and refinery.

Later, Bob went to work for Union Pacific Railroad as a “fire knocker”, cleaning coal slag “clinkers” out the fireboxes of the coal burning locomotives. It was during this time that Bob married his wife of 71 years, C. Florence (Switzer) Gordon in the old original Catholic Church on the north side of Green River.

Bob continued to work for Union Pacific in its Green River communications department, as a Morse Code telegrapher. In those days, the railroad had stations every so many miles to provide coal and water for the steam locomotives, and Bob’s work as a telegraph operator took Florence and him to every one of these outposts between Green River and Evanston.

Their experiences provided fodder for many colorful stories of the trials and tribulations of living in track side depots in the middle of nowhere with no indoor plumbing, electricity and only pot bellied stoves for heating and cooking.

After “paying their dues” working these assignments “on the road”, Bob and Florence were able to land a permanent assignment in the Green River Depot, where Bob ultimately worked up to the position of Wire Chief, responsible for his shift’s operations and maintenance of the electronic communications equipment for the railroad’s territory based out of the Green River Depot.

Despite being disabled by MS for a period of time, Bob, through sheer will and determination and the grace of God, was able to return to work and ultimately retire from Union Pacific after 38 years of service.

Bob was a member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Green River and was totally devoted to his family, working multiple jobs to make certain that they had the necessities of life.

It was his expectation that his daughter and son become responsible, contributing members of society and that they apply themselves in academic endeavors, including the study of music, and that they both earn college degrees.

Bob is survived by his wife of 71 years, Florence, and son Robert L. Gordon of Green River; daughter, Vickie Nordgaard and husband, Jim of Rapid City, SD; grandson, Kirk Lerwick, and great grandchildren, Jack, Kolt, and Lexi of Des Moines, WA; granddaughter, Heather Miller and husband Paul of McKinney, TX and great grandsons Jacob and Braidan. He is also survived by nephew, Mike Gordon, and wife Jacquie of Taylorsville, Utah; sister-in-law, Vivian Gordon and niece Carol Delliskave and husband Junior all of Sandy, UT; niece Sherry Dorigatti and husband Tom of Pekin, IL; niece Teresa Harris and husband Kirk of Delta, Utah; and niece Sonya Talcott of Oregon, as well as great nieces and nephews.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Shirley Talcott, brother, Tom Gordon, niece, Shirley Anne Talcott and nephew, Tommy Talcott.

There will be a rosary for Bob, 6:00PM Thursday, October 17, 2013 at Immaculate Conception Church, 900 Hitching Post Drive, Green River, WY and his funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 AM, Friday, October 18, 2013, also at Immaculate Conception Church with Father Denis D’Souza officiating. Interment will follow at Riverview Cemetery.