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Robert Michael Gordon

Robert Michael Gordon, known to everyone simply as “Mike”, departed this earth on April 6, 2023, from Phoenix, AZ. Mike preferred to live life on his own terms and never do things the expected (i.e., easy) way and so his obituary will likely follow the same path.

Mike was born on May 5, 1951, in Southern California to Robert “Hugh” and Jewell Ann (Carter) Gordon (both predeceased). He leaves behind a slightly older sister, Shirley Schroeder, a younger brother Dale (Lori) Gordon, and a combined four nieces (Charlotte, Ashley, Kaitlyn, and Nicole) and one nephew (Jonathan).

As a child, Mike enjoyed being outdoors as much as possible whether he was playing neighborhood game of pickup baseball (never organized sports), surfing, or just generally getting into whatever trouble he could find. He often came home after the streetlights were off and dinner was put away. While at Santa Fe High School, he met his future wife, Diane Kerman, in between getting sent to the barber shop by the administration to cut his hair and ditching school to go to the beach. In 1969, Mike left school to voluntarily enlist in the Marines with the intention of serving in Vietnam. That summer, they eloped to Mexico and moved to North Carolina when he was stationed at Camp Lejeune. Much to his dismay, he was never sent to Vietnam and instead received an honorary discharge in 1970. He returned to California and briefly attended school for accounting, but eventually followed his father’s footsteps into heat treating, which remained his lifelong career. While he continued to help family and friends with their taxes and bookkeeping, he was never destined to work in an office with the long hair and beard he grew after leaving the military and kept until the day he died.

His daughter, Gretchen Adin, first made him a father in 1972. Not long after he separated from her mother, he met Rebecca Ledesma. Through this relationship he acquired his first son, Vincent Ledesma (Vanessa) in 1975, and they proceeded to have another in 1978, David (Tracey) Gordon. He imparted to all three of his children (coincidentally all three years apart) the gifts of sarcasm, a short temper, the infamous Gordon stubbornness, and his love of music. Their happiest memories of him include time spent at the park and camping while they ran around free-range attempting to find ways to maim themselves and each other as he quietly did crossword puzzles, read the paper, and cooked their meals under an open sky with his tape deck playing Blue Oyster Cult and Arlo Guthrie.

Throughout his life, Mike resided in Arizona, Nevada, and California, but always came back to Arizona. From 2002 to 2010, he was blessed with five beautiful grandchildren (who also seem to have inherited his sarcasm): Orion Gordon, Vaughn Bui, Riley Gordon, Colin Ledesma, and Ariel Gordon. Being a grandfather suited him, and he never forgot birthdays, holidays, or to check in with them via text as they got older. He was not one to attend all of the standard childhood events, especially if he didn’t understand them (like water polo), but he did make sure to attend their virtual graduations during Covid. When asked to describe him, they said he was the greatest grandpa and had a big heart. They are not wrong.

Although a self-described anti-social, Mike made friends wherever he went and always made a lasting impression with his big smile and witty sense of humor. He had a special love of animals, especially stray cats and dogs which seemed to seek him out. He always made sure pets (and grandchildren) got extra treats when he was around. And, while his children cannot legally give him his dying wish of being left in the desert to be consumed by nature, we will have him cremated and spread his ashes in places he enjoyed so he will always be free.

Per his request, there will be no service, but we plan to have his favorite meals and raise a bottle of beer (or can of Pepsi) in his honor wherever we are. He did not believe in a “better place”, but we sure hope he is somewhere next to a river with his favorite cat, Frank, smoking a joint, listening to classic rock, and watching over us.


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