Ralph Henderson Gordon of Yarmouth, formerly of Salem, N.H., South Portland, Maine, Scarborough, Maine and Edgartown died on Friday Nov. 2 at the senior living facility Bay Square after a period of declining health. He was 92. He was born on Sept. 4, 1920 in Salem, one of six children of Earle and Effie (Henderson) Gordon. He attended Salem schools and graduated from Woodbury High School in Salem, where he was a three-sport star athlete all four years as quarterback of the football team, captain of the basketball team and star pitcher for the baseball team.
He met the love of his life in first grade and on Washington’s birthday, Feb. 22, 1942. With a snow storm blowing, he married Ruth Railton. She predeceased him on Nov. 10, 2010. Together they had a son and daughter and made their home in Salem, moving to South Portland for a 30-year career with Maine Central Railroad, and retired to Edgartown (in a home built by Ruth’s uncle) for 25 good years before moving to Yarmouth, bringing them closer to where their children live. The day after Pearl Harbor, Ralph was the first in line to enlist in the Army but unfortunately, due to a heart murmur from rheumatic fever, he was not accepted. He began his professional career with Remington Rand and it was as a result of his selling a UNIVAC1 computer to the Maine Central Railroad in Portland that he moved to Maine and began a two-year installation. At the end of that period, the Maine Central realized they needed his expertise in operating their first computer and hired him to manage their data processing department. In 1958 he taught his son Chris how to program that computer, leading him to follow in his father’s footsteps. Ralph was a member of the Data Processing Managers Association for many years. Ralph enjoyed golf well into his 80s and took a certain amount of pride in being able to “shoot his age”. He was handy with his hands and made a remarkably detailed dollhouse for his granddaughter, even taking time off from work to complete it in time for Christmas. The dollhouse is now being enjoyed by his great-granddaughter. After retiring to Edgartown, Ralph went about restoring their English cottage home with the same attention to details, drawing appreciation for his craftsmanship and the extensive beautiful gardens around his house. Ralph will be remembered for many fine qualities: his honesty, acute intelligence, perseverance, dedication to work and especially for always honoring his ideals.
He is survived by his son Christopher Gordon and his wife Sally Faulkner of Belfast, Maine; his daughter Jane Gordon of North Yarmouth, Maine; his four grandchildren: Ingrid Gordon, Peter Gordon and Peter’s children, Joe and Addie; Alison Hoyt and her husband Matthew and their children, Dylan, Harley and Joseph; Andrew Foster and his wife Allison and their son Alex; his sister Dottie Kelly of Mass. and Jean Shea and her husband Paul of Florida; as well as many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife of 68 years, Ruth; his brother George Gordon; his sister Lelia Rowell and his brother Howard Gordon.
There will be a graveside service at Edgartown Cemetery in the near future. For the date and time, please visit lindquistfuneralhome.com and take a moment to share your condolences, memories and tributes with Ralph’s family.
The family would like to express their appreciation and gratitude to the staff of Bay Square at Yarmouth for their kindness and attention to Ralph and to the Beacon Hospice caregivers who gave him the highest quality of care and dignity in his final days.
For those who wish, donations may be made in Ralph’s memory to: Beacon Hospice, 54 Atlantic Place, South Portland, ME 04106.