Gordon William Usticke died at his winter home in Scottsdale, AZ of
pancreatic cancer on April 19, 2003. He was able to enjoy time with six
of his children during his final days.
Gordon was born in New York City on June 5, 1935 to Claire Forsythe and
Gordon Wright Usticke. While growing up in New York City he began his
lifelong romance with cinema and literature. Throughout his life he
amassed an extensive library of movies and books.
Gordon served in the United States Air Force during the Korean Conflict
and was honorably discharged on July 22, 1956.
Gordon earned his BA degree in Philosophy from the University of Dayton
in Ohio in 1962. He began a teaching career in New York City and later
served as a teacher in Kingston Schools where he was elected President
of the Teachersí Association. He went on to teach in Schenectady Schools
until 1969. At that time he was hired by Mead Johnson Pharmaceuticals
and had a successful career as a salesman.
In 1975 Gordon established the first of several antiquarian bookstores
culminating in Pan Books and Graphics in Catskill. There he employed his
vast knowledge of rare and antiquarian books and was a respected
Bookseller with an international clientele.
It was during this same time that Gordon began his foray into politics,
winning three consecutive terms as a Trustee of the Catskill Village
Council. He was proud of his work with the Dutchmanís Landing Project as
well as the historical Beatty House in Catskill. Greene County Sheriff
John Kiebart appointed Gordon to supervise the civil tasks of the
Sheriffís Department. He retired in 1996.
Gordon was devoted to serving his community, was an advocate for natural
childbirth in the late 1960s and a pioneer in securing fathers' rights
in the delivery room. He cofounded the Family Centered Maternity
Association in Schenectady. Later, he served as President of the Ulster
County Unitarian Fellowship.
Gordon was a student of genealogy who traced his ancestry to fourteenth
century England. He enjoyed corresponding with family around the world.
Gordon is survived by his loving wife, Anne Marie (Fresn) of
Plattsburgh, NY and Scottsdale, AZ, and stepdaughter, Christina Andersen
of Atlanta, GA. He is also survived by four children from his marriage
to Phyllis Libman Ruzzi: John of Athens, NY; Alexander and his wife Jill
of Sleepy Hollow, NY; Caitlyn of Provincetown, MA; and Roxanna Shinall
of Concord, NH; and stepdaughter Erica and her husband Mark Bodwell of
Concord, NH. In his marriage to Bonnie Linquest, Gordon adopted Linda
Linquest of Mechanicsburg, VA and Michelle Gartner and Betty Jo
Gillespie of Sedalia, MO. Fourteen grandchildren, five
great-grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws were much
loved by him.
A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Donations may be
made to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ,
Gordon with grandson Liam, August
Stories, Thoughts, Observations and Other Sundry Things
May 28 2002
At twelve noon today
my dog Minnie died in my arms. She became ill nine days ago. The
veterinarian said she had a bad heart murmur. Minnie was put on diuretics,
antibiotics and heart medication. Unfortunately, various organ systems began
to fail and the end came quickly for Minnie.
Minnie was born in
September 1993 in Louisville, Kentucky. She was a good dog and, I believe,
had a good life. She had many puppies that spread a special joy to many
different families. But for me she was very special. She always slept by my
bed. If I were to leave a room, she would always follow. If I left the
house, without her, she would greet me with great enthusiasm when I
returned. I would be sitting, reading or something; and, if I glanced her
way, more often than not, she would be staring at me intently. I guess to
her I was the most important thing in her life.
"I Like Being On Gordon's Bed"
Yes, she was a good
dog. Just five minutes before she died, she came off the couch. I took her
outside; and, though barely able to stand, she managed to poop. Good dog,
Minnie. I picked her up, and her breathing became very labored. For the next
few minutes she grew progressively limp, gasped a few times and died. Anne
Marie and I cried and grieved this very real loss.
This morning she
went with Anne Marie and me to the park. She loved going to the park. I
thought she was too weak, but Anne Marie reminded me how much she loved
going to the park. So we took her. She could only walk about twenty feet, so
we sat in the shade for ten minutes or so and then came back home. Iím glad
she got to go to the park her last day with us. Iím glad Anne Marie reminded
me how important the park was to Minnie.
The Loving Stare
I must have sensed
the end was near, as I took several pictures of her when we got back home
from the park. Iíll share the pictures with you; one of them shows so well
that loving stare she had.
Minnie was so loyal.
For me, during these last few years this virtue was very important to me.
Minnie trusted me. There is an old saying in Washington political circles:
"If you want a friend, get a dog." I could add: if you want loyalty, get a
I will miss Minnie.
She was very special to me. We went through a lot together. I will always
treasure my memories of her.
Minnie is a good