Lorraine F. Gordon, a retired Crown Central Petroleum marketing assistant who read to visually impaired people as a Radio Reading Network volunteer, died of Alzheimer’s disease complications July 23 at the Oakcrest Retirement Community in Parkville. She was 85 and had lived in Timonium.
Born Lorraine Hambacher in Watsessing, near Bloomfield, New Jersey, she was the daughter of Otto Hambacher, who ran an ice delivery business, and Eleanora “Ellie” McBride, a General Electric worker.
She attended Watsessing Elementary School and was a 1954 graduate of Bloomfield High School, where she was on the archery, gymnastics, tumbling and drill teams.
She earned a diploma at the Bloomfield Secretarial School and worked in a New Jersey office. Many years later, she still had a steno pad (a writing tablet to record shorthand) which she used to keep track of her personal and professional life.
She used shorthand and would leave notes, including Christmas present lists, around her house. No one else in the family could read the shorthand, a style of rapid writing that involves abbreviations and symbols.
In 1958, she began dating her future husband, Joseph R. “Joe” Gordon, a Newark College of Engineering student. Their first date was for an ice cream cone. She then attended his graduation and they began a long-distance romance while Lorraine lived and worked in Bloomfield, and Joe lived and worked at Bethlehem Steel in Sparrows Point.
“When she was young, she used to ride her bike so fast around the block that she would beat the boys,” her husband said. “Her father had to ask her to ride slower to give the boys a chance to win.”
On October 24, 1959, she and Joe married at Holy Name of Jesus Church in East Orange, New Jersey. They spent their honeymoon in Miami and settled in Baltimore, and initially lived in Dundalk and later in Belvedere Square.
After raising a family, she returned to work and joined the Crown Central Petroleum Co. at Fayette and Charles streets in downtown Baltimore. As an administrative assistant in the marketing department, she worked closely with Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson, the company spokesman.
“She was a wonderful lady and I saw a lot of her when I was making appearances,”Mr. Robinson said. “She was always helpful and was organized too.”
After her 1999 retirement, she joined her husband and set their days around their six grandchildren’s activities.
“They were excited to travel to support the grandchildren wherever the next opportunity might lead them,” said a daughter, Sally Hechter.
Mrs. Gordon also sold produce harvested at her daughter’s One Straw certified organic farm in northern Baltimore County. She was a regular seller at the farmers’ markets at Waverly, Kenilworth Bazaar and at the Boordy Vineyards in Hydes. She worked alongside another daughter, Joan Norman.
She and her husband were volunteer broadcasters for the Radio Reading Network of Maryland for more than a decade and read The Baltimore Sun over the radio. The audience was the visually impaired.
“My mother was a proud and doting mother,” said another daughter, Anne Bauer. “She enjoyed being involved in school, community, and church activities. For many years, she and my father were active in discussion groups, including the Christian Family Movement and the Pre-Cana classes.”
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After living on Choice Court in Timonium, she and her husband moved to the Oakcrest Retirement Community.
“She was very personal,” her husband said. “She was kind and caring and a model to children in the neighborhood.”
He said his wife loved music and singing.
“She learned to play as a child in New Jersey,” he said. “One of her favorite songs was ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game.’ She was also a fan of Doris Day and her song, ‘Que Sera Sera.’”
A memorial fund has been created in her name at Mercy High School on Northern Parkway. Mrs. Gordon donated her body to science.
A memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Aug. 22 at the Oakcrest Retirement Community at 8820 Walther Blvd. in Parkville.
Survivors include her husband of 62 years, Joseph R. “Joe” Gordon, a retired Bethlehem lubrication engineer; three daughters, Joan Norman of White Hall; Anne Bauer of Cockeysville and Sally Hechter of Joppa; a son, James Gordon of Baltimore; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.