Don Gorden 1934 – 2011

In the autumn of 1979 during my fourth Vagabond incarnation the ownership of Les Fougeres was taken over by Bob McCausland and Village Camps along with Allan Rankin. The new ownership meant that the building had to be  altered to comply with Swiss building codes. In typical Swiss fashion, not the smallest detail was overlooked. Allan asked me to work on this, put a team together and oversee its completion. Enter Don Gorden, Nanci Wright ( friends of Bob and Leslie Hoffman ) and their two dogs to spend the winter skiing. It was at that time that Mr Maricot from SRE gave us the electric schematic for the installation of smoke detectors in all the rooms. Don and Nanci had become instant favourites with all the Vagabond crew and he being an electrician gave me the idea that he could do the work and Allan agreed. Maricot said Don could start the work but he would check in a week or so he see the quality of the work. This he did and told us that his men could not have done better.

Don was such a pleasure to work with. He was a man of honesty, personal integrity and the funniest bloke I ever had the good fortune to meet. His sense of humour affected everyone around him making him the perfect fit in the Vagabond way of doing things. The ceilings in the furnace room and the kitchen had to be fire-proofed and Don worked with me doing that. Nothing was any trouble for him and he was always ready with a kind or encouraging word. We had so many great times together not the least being an hilarious two car road trip to a Who concert in Zurich accompanied by the usual substances. Remember that one Dave?

Our friendship continued back in the US when Nancy and I were living in Napa and he and Nanci were in Sacramento. We would visit each other for get-together weekends and the usual fun. After we moved to Virginia we would exchange Christmas parcels every year. They always made sure that included in the parcel they sent were my favourites, marmite and Snickers bars. Don told me that the only decent use for marmite was to stick down loose floor tiles.

I miss him as a man and as a friend. I am thinking of you Don and smiling. Cheers mate, Phones.

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