Gordon Usticke

June 5, 1935 - April 19, 2003



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, 85014.

Gordon & Liam

Gordon with grandson Liam, August 2002


Stories, Thoughts, Observations and Other Sundry Things

Gordon Usticke


Comments appreciated.

Current Article: Minnie May 28 2002
Previous Articles: Visits and Pictures 2001 & 2002
  Rembrance of Grace - Part One March 2002
  Should a Twelve-Year Old Bride Be Allowed to Date? October 2001
  Sewa's Birthday October 2001
  A Desert Adventure Labor Day Weekend 2001


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 dog.


Fading Out

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 dog.

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