Marjorie Dick Gordon


Marjorie Dick Gordon, member of Concord Friends Meeting in Concord, New Hampshire, died February 26, 2002.  She was 95 years old and had been a member of the Religious Society of Friends for more than 60 years.

Born in Newton MA on August 6, 1906, she grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts, and in 1927 married Miller Laufman.  Disturbed by the growing hostilities in the world leading up to World War II, she and Miller joined Cambridge Meeting in 1940.  (She later wryly claimed that she’d always wanted to join a Friends Meeting, but that she thought you had to be from Philadelphia.)

Marjorie was greatly troubled by World War II.  She anguished over the pain and suffering of children in foreign lands directly affected by warfare, especially in contrast to the comfortable life she and Miller were able to provide for their children.  She recognized, however, that depriving her own children would not improve the lot of others.  Instead, she provided her children with an ethical model: for example, she discouraged them from purchasing war stamps in school, and for many years she wouldn’t celebrate her birthday because it fell on the date of the bombing of Hiroshima.

In 1930 Marjorie earned a degree in social work from Simmons College.  For many years she worked with blind children and their families, traveling extensively throughout Massachusetts to meet with clients.  Her commitment to and compassion for the people she served in this capacity was total, and she kept in touch with many of them and their families for the rest of her life.

In 1960, after her divorce from Miller, Marjorie moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, where she joined Mt. Toby Meeting.  There she met and was briefly married to Milton Gordon.  In 1976 she retired and moved with her son, Alan Laufman, to Harrisville, New Hampshire, where she joined Monadnock meeting and helped found Keene Worship Group.  In 1987 Marjorie moved to Havenwood Retirement Community in Concord, New Hampshire, where she resided until her death.  She was one of several seasoned Quaker elders from around New England whose relocations to Havenwood/Heritage Heights have greatly enriched Concord Meeting in recent years.

Marjorie was notable for her service both to the wider community and to the Quaker world.  She had been active in the American Friends Service Committee for many years.  In Concord Meeting she was active on Ministry and Counsel Committee and the Housing Committee. Her regular attendance enriched a weekday women’s worship group.  She was also a long time trustee of the Meeting School in Rindge, New Hampshire, and a member of the AFSC-NH Support Committee.  Friends were inspired by her example.

Marjorie’s energy was legendary.  An avid traveler and an excellent driver, she drove great distances, even after she needed a walker when she arrived.  She criss-crossed the country to visit friends and family and to support her special concerns.  Eventually she was forced to make do with an electric wheelchair, which she piloted around the grounds at Havenwood, maintaining maximum mobility and independence to the last.

Family was paramount to Marjorie.  She gave birth to five children and endured the sorrow of surviving all but two.  Her daughter Janet died at age two, and two of her three sons, Alan and Philip, died during the last fourteen months of Marjorie’s life.  She is survived by her daughter Ann, her eldest son Dudley, plus nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Marjorie withstood the successive deprivations of her later years with a wry sense of humor and perennial good grace, though never with passive compliance.  She resisted the indignities of aging, but simultaneously found them laughable.

Appreciation for music enriched Marjorie’s spiritual life and she read avidly and eclectically.  Fueled by a wide variety of interests such as these, her friendships crossed generational boundaries. She corresponded regularly with literally hundreds of friends, actively maintaining a web of relationships until the very end of her life.  In the course of her long and rich life, she joined with countless others in lasting relationships, each marked by intrinsic spiritual and personal commitment, each deeply treasured by both partners.  She is deeply missed by all.