The artical below was written by his son Roger who is a professional writer. Unfortuneatly, there is no mention of Gordons service in Rotary or CCA which is understandable since Gordon would have joined Rotary after Roger left home.
Gordon joined the Lewisville Morning Rotary Club in Jan of 2003. Gordon was a regular attendee at our 7 AM meeting and was involved in almost all of our service projects. Gordon was a Paul Harris Fellow and a sustaining member. His major responsibility at meetings was to lead us in song, the happy birthday song whenever someone was celebrating a birthday that week.
His pride and joy Rotary project however was the District 5790 Teacher Exchange in which he coordinated having teachers from Central America come and work with teachers in our Rotary District and our district would sponsor teachers from our district to work with teachers in Central America.
In addition to his community service work with Rotary, Gordon committed many, many hours to teaching English as a 2nd language to clients of Christian Community Action.
Club members were sad when Gordon announced last July that he was moving to Austin to be closer to family. We were excited when we heard from his new club in Austin that he had joined a new club there.
Below is the Obit written by his son. You will find yourself thinking as you read along, yep, that is Gordon.
Gordon obit
Turn off the marquee, close the choir loft, take down the lectern, and send the students home. Gordon Roe has died. Gordon was a teacher, preacher, choir director, singer, performer, husband, father, and a true individual. He died at age 86 in San Antonio, where he had moved with his wife, Patsy, just three months earlier. He was hoping to make it into his 90s, but life had other plans.
Gordon had just finished watching a baseball game, was getting a bowl of ice cream and fell backwards — a symptom of Parkinson’s — and died of the subsequent complications.
“D as in dog” were his last words while he was losing consciousness, an irony considering his dislike of pets but perhaps indicative of his love for teaching. Gordon had many interests and passions; pets were not among them. Teaching and learning — and music — were his favorite pursuits.
Gordon loved the arts, music, reading, history, travel, and education. He sang at Carnegie Hall and visited all 50 state capitals and all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. Rarely without his trusty tote bag of reading materials and crossword puzzles, he was a man who enjoyed cop shows and opera, books and barbershop quartets, and his wife and family, not necessarily in that order. “Marrying Patsy was the best decision I ever made,” he would tell anyone who would listen.
Two weeks before his fall, he and Patsy recruited residents of their senior living facility to put on a production of “The Road Not Taken: A Celebration of the Life and Works of Robert Frost,” a play Gordon had written. His family knew it was just a matter of time before Gordon’s new neighbors would fall under his “Let’s put on a show” enthusiasm, a trait he carried with him throughout his life. “Gordon was such a unique and outstanding man,” said his sister, Glenda Seamons. “He stayed true to himself. He stayed ‘Gordon’ all the way through the end.”
Gordon was born in San Angelo, Texas, on February 17, 1935, to Jane and Allen Roe, who was a Methodist minister there. They moved to the Rio Grande Valley, living in places such as Weslaco and Mission, before moving to San Marcos, where Gordon graduated from high school, having been active in band, choir, and speech. At the Methodist churches they served, Allen preached and Jane often served as choir director. Both parents were strong influences on Gordon and his siblings, Norman, Glenda and Grady, and the church was the dominant force in their lives. As a result, all four Roe children went on to healing and helping professions. Gordon, Norman and Grady became Methodist ministers themselves, and Glenda worked as a teacher and counselor.
Gordon attended Southwestern University and graduated with a degree in history. He remained a loyal and persistent alumnus and often attended Southwestern homecoming in the fall. He was known for stopping random students on campus to ask them about their major and to regale them with his own Southwestern lore and family history (his siblings, mother, daughter, and niece also attended Southwestern). Go Pirates. Gordon received his Master of Divinity from the SMU Perkins School of Theology. While there, an old friend of his dad’s recruited him to direct the choir at his church in Arlington. When Gordon arrived, he was smitten with an attractive young woman in the choir. Her name was Patsy. She sang alto. She was the preacher’s daughter. Could this be real? Gordon asked her out. He knew he had a chance when she asked him if he wanted to see her slides of Europe. Of course he did. Gordon and Patsy were married on June 7, 1960.
Gordon liked to say that he got a diploma, a wife, and his first church appointment all in the same month. He got a new suit, too. His first church was in San Angelo, where Gordon and Patsy welcomed their first child, daughter Karen, just nine months after getting married. Gordon always said he was glad Karen wasn’t born any earlier. Gordon and Patsy added to their family — son Russell was born in 1963, and son Roger was born in 1968. He told his children every time he saw them how proud he was of them and how grateful he was for them. In the first years of his career, Gordon served Methodist churches in Central and South Texas towns, including Manchaca, Hunt, Burnet, and Sinton. He decided to leave the ministry in 1972 — a major turning point in his life.
Gordon always loved music and pursued a master’s degree in music at the University of North Texas in Denton. Patsy got a job teaching in nearby Lewisville, where they lived for the next 48 years. Staying in one place so long was a surprising and welcome development for Gordon and Patsy, who had spent their youths moving from town to town as preacher’s kids.
Gordon got a teaching certificate too, and found a new calling as a special education teacher. He said the best job he ever had was teaching juvenile offenders at Gainesville State School, which he did for over 10 years before retirement.
Music was a constant in his life. He believed deeply in the power of music to celebrate special occasions, stir souls, build community, and convey our deepest emotions. He enjoyed the drama of a well-sung aria and the close harmonies of a barbershop quartet and, of course, the sound of his own voice lifted in song. His rich baritone filled churches and music halls across the state. He sang with the Fort Worth Opera Chorus, Plano Civic Chorus as well as many other choral groups. He was a charter member of the Dallas Symphony Chorus and was proud to have sung for the opening of the Meyerson Symphony Center.
Gordon served as choir director for several churches in the Dallas area, blessing sanctuaries with sacred music on Sundays and the occasional Broadway revue or talent show on a Saturday night in the Fellowship Hall.
He and Patsy were active at Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church in Carrollton, where Gordon organized and led a theater and performance group, the Horizon Players. He brought sheet music to Thanksgiving and other gatherings to lead the family in song, a cherished Roe family tradition. His phone answering machine message was a litany of groaner musical puns (‘’I’ll be ‘Bach’ in ‘tenor’ 12 minutes”) ending in a plea to leave a message at the sound of the pitch pipe.
Along the way, Gordon participated in many community theater productions in Lewisville, Denton and Dallas. His roles included Judge, Old Guy, Grandfather, Town Elder, Eccentric Old Guy, Distinguished Gentleman, 12th Townsman — you get the idea. Gordon was both generous and frugal. He embraced what he called the “Roe frugality” but gave away generous amounts of money to charity, and he endowed scholarships at Southwestern, North Texas, and HustonTillotson University in Austin.
A lifelong learner, he studied Spanish late in life and went on to lead classes in English as a Second Language and Spanish in Lewisville. Also later in life, he taught himself how to play organ with the goal of being substitute organist for churches. On vacation, Gordon would pack his organ shoes and knock on church doors to see if he could play their organ, to try out the instrument and keep those fingers and feet in shape, should he be needed. He kept a running list of all the organs he played on, including many around the world.
In the same list-keeping way, Gordon managed to visit all state capitals and major-league ballparks. A student of history and believer in democracy, he visited not just the capitals but the capitol buildings themselves (often eating in the cafeteria if there was one). For Gordon’s 80th birthday, his family took him to his 50th capital, Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he got to sit at the governor’s desk.
If he kept a list of the books he read, it would be a long one. Gordon read an average of a book a week, devouring histories, mysteries and more. As Gordon lay in his hospital room, his family gathered to tell him they loved him and were grateful for all he had done for them. Some thought they could see his lips try to move now and then as they sang hymns to him, including favorites such as
“Standing on the Promises,” “Trust and Obey” and “It Is Well With My Soul.”
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot,
Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.