Gordon's Story

Text size

MEDWAY, ME & WOODSTOWN, NJ - Gordon Allin Nietz, 79, died quietly at home in Woodstown, New Jersey on May 28, 2013. His wife, children and stepchildren were by his side. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, all of Wilmot Flat, NH and his son Preston of Seal Cove, ME.

Remembrance of Gordon's life was held on June 2nd, 2013 at his home in Woodstown, New Jersey. Another was held on July 28th, 2013 at his grandson's home in Camden, Maine.

Gordon is survived by his adoring and devoted wife Joan, his children, Joan's children, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. These include Gordon's daughter Linda Schofield of Edmunds, ME; her son Jesse MacDonnell and Heidi Hambrecht and their sons Isaac and Eli of Mount Dessert, ME; her son Michael and Piyathida MacDonnell and their children Colin, Lalita, Annunthiya, "June Bug" and Sirikit of Camden, ME; and her son Ian MacDonnell and his daughter Melayna of Bar Harbor and Warren, ME; Gordon's son Marcus Nietz of Southwest Harbor, ME; and his son Adrian Nietz and Tina Lewis, their children Ekko and Trewett; and Tina's children Logan and Saige of Southwest Harbor, ME.

Gordon's "bonus" family includes stepson Charles and Christine Bohn and their daughters Heather and Holly of Charlotte, MI; Charles' son "Spike" and Allison Bohn and their daughters Haven and Adessa of Bradford Woods, PA; Charles' son Andrew Bohn of Fort Collins, CO; his son Matthew and Tina Bohn and their children Nathan, Noah, Abigail and Sophie of Pennsville, NJ; and his daughter Kayla and "Chas" Surran; her daughters Lily and Violet; and his children Willow and Cosmo of Alaway, NJ; Gordon's stepdaughter Cheri Bohn of Woodstown, NJ; and his stepson Craig Bohn and Nick Depola of Wilmington, DE. Joan's son Christopher died before having the chance to get to know Gordon.

Of special note is Gordon and Joan's good friend and neighbor Richard Bundy. We cannot thank him enough for all he has contributed to Gordon and Joan's wellbeing throughout the years. He has been, and continues to be, a watchful eye, a helping hand and a godsend. He has the entire family's whole-hearted love, deep gratitude and utmost respect for being so helpful, attentive and caring.

Gordon was born April 16, 1934 in Jamaica Plains, MA, to Frederick and Marion (Campbell) Nietz. His early life was spent in Paterson, NJ. As a young adult he lived in Pennsville, NJ. From Pennsville he moved to Millinocket then Medway, ME with his first wife Marjorie. He lived in Medway until after his retirement. Finally he moved back to Woodstown, NJ.

Gordon was gregarious, adventurous, inquisitive, mechanically minded and hard working. At age ten he decided to take a drive in the family car through the city of Paterson, NJ. The trip required driving between two buses, one of which he sideswiped on the car's driver's side. When the trip was over he came home, parked the car on the street in front of the house and never said a word. The next morning his parents thought they had been victims of a hit and run from someone passing by their parked vehicle.

When Gordon was a young teenager he dismantled the family car because it would not start. To his mother's horror, all the parts from under the hood were lined up on the sidewalk. Unbelievably the car worked after he put it back together, even though there were a few pieces left over.

On another occasion Gordon and his brother "Russie" planned to take the train to Maine to visit their aunts in Lincoln. However, Gordon decided to hitchhike instead...his older brother opted to take the train.

One of Gordon's passions was sailing. To that end he purchased sailing vessels throughout the years, each increasing in size. Perhaps his favorite was a 36-foot sloop named Northern Light. Sailing trips included destinations all over the Maine coast, Nova Scotia, Provincetown, MA and Florida.

While sailing the seas and traveling elsewhere, Gordon and his traveling companions experienced breathtaking scenery, the awesome beauty of nature and encountered a wide variety of wildlife up close and personal. Joan remembers the sail to Monhegan Island as an especially-lovely trip (as do we all), Adrian recalls the pristine, turquoise-colored water of Blue Springs forming a wall as it flowed into the muddy Colorado River, Marcus will never forget having a wild sea bird perch on his finger and Linda was the only passenger to see a Minke whale swim directly under the boat.

Trips with Gordon were not always smooth sailing. Be it by land or by sea, there were seized calipers, worn brakes, failed fuel pumps, torn sails, broken masts, marine engines that just would not start and let's not forget the time Joan ran the Northern Light aground. These misadventures were accompanied by unplanned stops and repairs on the shoulder of the road, in a nearby port or in the middle of the ocean.

Gordon dreamed big. He constructed, although did not complete, a steel-hulled "Bounty"-style sailing vessel at his home in Medway, ME.

He retired from Great Northern Paper Company in 1995, where he took pride in plying his trade in sheet-metal fabrication as a "tin knocker." He felt a great sense of accomplishment for his contribution to designing and installing machinery guards that provided safety without sacrificing functionality.

Gordon's history of working with steel and sheet metal began when he was a young man living in New Jersey and continued in Maine even after his retirement. Once retired, he financed travel by practicing his trade in temporary jobs at paper mills all over the eastern seaboard.

Gordon's non-sailing adventures included rafting or canoeing the Colorado, the Kennebec and the Penobscot Rivers. He traveled to Las Vegas, Reno, Grand Canyon National Park, New Mexico, Yosemite National Park, Redwood National Park, the Florida Keys, the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, Quebec, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas with his wife, children and/or grandchildren.

Evenings on land were spent dancing. Whether at union gatherings, in a parking lot or at lounges all over the country, Gordon and Joan spent as many evenings as possible dancing the night away. Then there were the family dinners where the clan gathered to eat, enjoy each other's company, sing Karaoke and, of course, dance.

Gordon and his brother Russie were both musical. Russie played the banjo and harmonica, and Gordon played the violin and accordion. Gordon enjoyed music, concerts, musicals and plays.

As an adult, and even more so after his retirement, Gordon loved science. Throughout his life, and especially after he was no longer able to get around because of Parkinson's, he fed his curiosity by watching and discussing a wide variety of science programs like "The Cosmos" by Carl Sagan and "Through the Wormhole" with Morgan Freeman.

Gordon was also an avid runner. He participated in various local races when he wasn't out for his daily run until Parkinson's made that activity impossible.

Donations in Gordon's memory may be made to the Michael J. Fox Parkinson's Foundation. To donate visit www.michaeljfox.org/get-involved/donation.php?fr_id=2380 To learn more about Parkinson's and the Michael J. Fox Foundation visit www.michaeljfox.org
Published on  May 27, 2014
Send flowers
in memory of Gordon
See more

Obituary published in

Arrangements by


Share this story with a friend: