Andy Gordon, resident of St. John for more than 27 years, died in his sleep Sunday morning, May 20. He was 53 years old, born in the Bronx, New York, on July 1, 1953. He is survived by his wife, Dorie Atchison; his father, Henry Gordon; his brothers, Paul and Jeff Gordon; his nephew, Ricky Gordon; and his huge extended family that reaches deep into St. John, and stretches worldwide.
Gordon died of lymphoma, a few days after receiving the diagnosis, so this was unexpected and a shock to those he loved. He had been experiencing pain and other symptoms for about five months, but always kept his positive outlook, and his ever-present sense of humor.
He also had Myasthenia Gravis, a neuromuscular disease which affects the voluntary muscle control, for about eight years, but he had learned to live with this, spending most of his time at his wonderful house, and happily sitting by his Koi pond with his wife Dorie. Throughout all this he maintained his courage, his compassion for others, his love of life and a heart full of happiness.
Gordon was a musician, a gifted guitarist, singer and songwriter. He wrote over thirty songs on topics ranging from purely human themes, such as love and spiritual searching, to songs about the nature of light, and the vastness of the universe.
He played in a number of local bands, and was a founding member of the St. John Iguanas, a band which is still playing today. Gordon was far too intelligent to waste his time in high school or college, choosing instead to study on his own those things that he found interesting.
He delved into religious study, reading and practicing meditation and chanting, learning from all the world’s religions, but joining none.
Born Jewish, Gordon worked for a time on a kibbutz in Israel. He also studied texts from Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity, absorbing and incorporating their lessons and applying them to his life where he found it appropriate.
Then, still on his own, he turned his keen intelligence and vast curiosity to science, studying archeology, paleontology, astronomy, astrophysics and quantum physics. Gordon’s understanding grew to the point that he could ask questions of world-class experts in these fields, including Stephen Hawking, questions interesting enough to warrant their replies.
Occasionally Gordon would get a letter from some outstanding expert, admitting that they had an opinion, but no real proof. That is really pushing a scientist, with cutting edge thinking.
As an amateur astronomer, he took beautiful photos of comets, distant galaxies, and once spotted a supernova and reported it, only to discover that an astronomer in Australia beat him to it by a day.
Gordon was partners in several small businesses on St. John, including the original Luscious Licks, an ice cream/dessert/vegetarian restaurant; the original Kaleidoscope Video, where he sold rocks, fossils, minerals and meteorites; and he finally joined forces with Jean Vance to create St. John Links (stjohnlinks.com), a Web site well worth visiting, even for seasoned locals. It is a fun place, with tons of incredible photos, and an ongoing enterprise, despite his death.
In addition to all of this, Gordon somehow found time to build one of the most unbelievable homes in the world. He spent three years digging the foundation by hand, because the slope was too steep. Then he used the stone he dug out to create the “Dinosaur House.” Overlooking Calabash Boom and all of Coral Bay, it is a stone house incorporating native stone with semiprecious stones, fossils, dinosaur bones, crystals and fluorescent rocks, as well as seashells. Beyond this, it cannot be described; it has to be experienced.
Gordon will be deeply and sorely missed. His influence on our community was immense, even though for the last 10 years he rarely left his house.
Gordon has touched so many hearts and lives. That is the truest measure of his personal strength.