Gordon, I have very fond memories of you and Roxana. You are an exemplar and a fine human-being. You were always courteous and kind to me when I frequented the Taipei House for fundraising. In 1983 during my usual visit to the Taipei House, Roxana asked me if I could treat you all to a restaurant. Somehow you knew that the people in Development had more money than usual. Yes, I always had more money than my monthly stipend while I was on fundraising. I also got to keep that money too. The place you wanted to go was McDonald’s (the fast-food restaurant). McDonald’s had just opened its first store in Taipei. There was a long line at the restaurant with people waiting to get in. We waited quite a while. However, the long wait was worthwhile. I will never forget the look of contentment on your face, as you relished your hamburger at McDonald’s.
Joe says that you are one of the few fellow pipe men that he knows. Are you still getting your tobacco from that Minnesota pipe shop? He also says you were the only one to appreciate it when he would recite a verse by Robert Herrick. Joe is currently a full-time faculty member of English at Sacred Heart University. His favorite authors to teach are Shakespeare and Dante. He still quotes Robert Herrick, and still smokes a pipe. And I am still traveling to Hong Kong on business.
I thank you for being an exemplary presence in my life. You are not alone. Fondly,
~~ Myung-Hee (and Joe too)
With such knowledge we stand in awe, because of your own and our own projected timelines—now at 75 for Lynda and soon-to-be 77 for John. Thank you for including us (the OE community) as part of your family. We salute your wisdom and humor that has been a creative force in our corporate life. John and I hold each other a little more tightly as we hold you all in our hearts, with deep gratitude for your journeys with us and our family.
We thought of you this morning on our walk after reading your epistle. The words from our walking ritual of “We are journeyed by grace: sustained, called, empowered, and fulfilled” rang more powerfully than usual as we think of our common journeys of purpose, community, and age. We celebrate more than ever your being here with being itself in history, together as part of the Earth community we have served through our common years together. Grace and peace is yours,
~~ Lynda and John
PS. We also sang the Mormon hymn “Come, Come Ye Saints … All is well, all is well”—that is, the parts we most affirm—with hearty affirmation of your/our common journeys.
I am in silence honoring the gifts you have brought to me through your being who you are in India, in America and of course in my now home Taiwan. Someone mentioned eloquent in an earlier message and this is my word for you and your spirit. The way you speak and the manner in which you strive to articulate the moment, the consensus, the authentic articulation. I will never forget and often strive for in myself and others.
I am in deep appreciation for the invitation you gave me 24 years ago to come to Taiwan and work with you. It has been a gift beyond measure both the time working and learning with you and the wonderful immersion in this place, culture and people that goes on to this day. With love and respect,
~~ Larry Philbrook
When Gordon went to what was our local Netflicks shop here in Taiwan to get a cassette tape to entertain us, he would ask… what kind of video would you like? Invariably someone would say, “comedy” and invariably we would not get a comedy, maybe a drama, an action, or I am sure something very entertaining, but not a comedy at all. Always a reality check… and so it goes Gordon and Roxanna… not a comedy, however, it did come as a mystery!
What do I remember when I came to Taiwan to find a job and see if we could all live in Taipei…I needed to find a job…and we would be here for three-five years? I remember the first week I was in Taipei in 1991, April. Gordon was there and I hear the strange whine and buzz sound in the morning of what I found out was the internet connection. We had that sound in Manila, and KL too, but not so regularly heard each day at the same time marking the day. There was the faint smell of sweet pipe smoke lingering on everything in your office. There was later to be a scale which, when you join weight watchers, helps you figure out how much you can eat, which I still have today. Peter Hu would rise every morning and go to the roof and do his exercises like a military man, even though he was a a former journalist and knew who most all of the people in town were, or could find out and spoke clear English. He ate raw vegetables he cut and placed in a bag in the frig that he ate each morning. There was a radio newscast on ICRT, “Shape the Future” or something, where Gordon’s melodious voice could be heard daily with a quote for the day and a reflection on how business and leadership could relate to what was happening in the world and in their lives. There were books written by our famous author in residence, who would often on the street be asked for an autograph in a Chinese translated book.
Larry came to a Global ICA conference in 1990 to Taiwan. It was held at the International Jiantan Youth Hostel across the street from the Grand Hotel and the multitude of morning exercising marshall artists on the mountain near the bridge and river. After that, Larry and Evelyn and Dick and Gail came to Taiwan in 1991… who knew how this set up a climate of new adventures…remember the 20th Anniversary of ICA video you created before you left?
Thank you Gordon. Fenton’s were still here. Vicky and Ben and a host of many others… A fleeting memory of things gone by which are still emerging…
~~ Evelyn Kurihara Philbrook
Oh, my, Gordon. You were supposed to live forever! And I rather suspect you will, whatever anyone says to debunk the idea of something coming after. I expect to, myself, and I expect you to as well. What a gift you are to all of us, now and forever, to us and those who come after us. Having been through something the doctors thought to be terminal about thirteen years ago, I came to terms with surrender, and when it turned out not to be fatal after all, I remember this flash of disappointment—I had been so ready for the journey, the next adventure. After all, what hubris to think that we puny human beings, striving against that wind that blows so finely and so fiercely, are the sheer culmination of this strange thing called “life” and “spirit”.! I doubt not at all that there is something amazing waiting to happen when we shed these earthly bonds. Expecting to see you on the other side, dear friend, whenever either of us gets there. P.s. doctors don’t know everything or I wouldn’t still be here.
~~ Susan Fertig-Dykes