Saturday, February 10, 2007

OBT: Gordo Findlay

H. Gordon “Gordo” Findlay

KERRVILLE — H. Gordon “Gordo” Findlay was born Sept. 11, 1917, in Philadelphia, Pa. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, “Bimmie” Byrdimeb Ford Findlay; his three children, Gordon Jr., Laura and Larry; grandchildren, Brian Hodges and his wife Angie, Chris Hodges, Greg Hodges, Trey Findlay and his wife Jenny, Caitey Findlay, Tina Findlay, T.C. Findlay and Ford Findlay.

Gordon touched the lives of many. He will be remembered as a father, a grandfather, a friend, a fisherman, a marksman, a storyteller and a patriot.

Gordon always loved his country. At 13 years of age, in 1931, Gordon became the youngest Eagle Scout in the United States and stood as the Honor Guard to President Herbert Hoover at the Boy Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge, Pa.

Gordon graduated from Swarthmore High School in Pennsylvania in 1935. He went on to graduate from William Penn Charter Preparatory School in Philadelphia. He earned his BA from Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn., and went on to study law at the University of Texas Law School in Austin, Texas. On Dec. 2, 1941, Gordon joined the U.S. Navy and became a naval aviator. On Nov. 1, 1942, he married the love of his life, Bimmie Ford, and they were happily married for 64 years.

Gordon was a proud World War II veteran. While serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Gordon flew missions from five different U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. He proudly flew combat in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleet, participating in 14 engagements and six invasions against the Japanese. Gordon proudly served on the U.S.S. Hoggatt Bay No. 75, which sank 13 Japanese submarines and traveled across the equator 63 times. During his term of duty, Gordon earned the following: six Silver Star medals, two Bronze Star medals, two Presidential Citations, one Navy Unit citation, a European Atlantic Campaign medal an Asiatic Pacific medal with five stars, a National Defense medal and a World War II Victory medal.

In addition, Gordon received cables of congratulations from Admirals Halsey, Nimitz and Briggs, as well as a personal letter of thanks from the Secretary of Navy, James Forrestal.

Gordon was a successful businessman. After World War II, Gordon became general sales manager of Luscomb Aircraft Co., producing 17 planes daily. In 1949 he began working as sales manager of Manley Popcorn Co., a large corporation with more than 8,000 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Kickapoo Kamp, founded by Bimmie’s father in 1925, was an important part of Gordon’s life. Bimmie and Gordon owned and operated the camp beginning in 1960 and remained actively involved in the running of camp, even after their daughter Laura took over the operation of the camp. Many members of the camp family thought of “Gordo” as a grandfather away from home

In addition to helping run Kickapoo Kamp, Gordon owned and operated several family restaurants: the Branding Iron, the Pioneer House and Gordo’s, in both Kerrville and San Antonio.

Beginning in June of 1942, Gordon dedicated his time as a Master Mason. Gordon was a member of Kerrville’s Masonic Lodge AF and AM No. 697. He served as a 32 degree Scottish Rite Mason for more than 60 years, and was a member of the Alzafar Shrine in San Antonio for more than 50 years.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, 2007, at Grimes Funeral Chapels. Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007, at Grimes Funeral Chapels, officiated by the Rev. Frankie Enloe and Greg Cummins and under the auspices of Kerrville Masonic Lodge No. 697. Interment will follow at Garden of Memories Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Brian Hodges, Chris Hodges, Greg Hodges, Trey Findlay, Caitey Findlay, Tina Findlay, T.C. Findlay and Ford Findlay.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to: Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Attn: Contributions, One Intrepid Square, West 46th St. and 12th Ave., New York, N.Y. 10036; or a charity of one’s choice.

The family invites you to send condolences at www.grimesfuneralchapels.com by selecting the “Send Condolences” link.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Grimes Funeral Chapels of Kerrville.

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