Grace Fletcher Gordon (July 8, 1927 - February 23, 2022)
At 94 years young, Grace Fletcher Gordon passed away at home in Bloomfield Hills on Wednesday, February 23, 2022 with loving family surrounding her. She is preceded in death by her son, John Hurter Gordon III of Covington, Louisiana (Deborah Broadwell Gordon of Mandeville, Louisiana), and her brother-in-law James Eugene Potvin of Cadillac, Michigan. Gracie is survived by her sister Mariette Fletcher Potvin of Cadillac, Michigan. ‘Fletch’ is survived by her husband of 72 years Clayton Hill Gordon, M.D., her children Peter Fletcher Gordon, M.D. (Paula Retamal Zamora) of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Susan Gordon Kern (Jeffery Loud Kern) of Aiken, South Carolina. ‘Grammie’ or ‘Ghiggy’ is survived by her grandchildren Jennifer Elizabeth Gordon (Samuel Ruesga) of Guadalajara, Mexico, John Hurter Gordon IV (Mary Kathleen Gordon) of Mandeville, Louisiana, Ian Fletcher Gordon (Caroline Hill) of Denver, Colorado, Clayton Gordon Kern of Royal Oak, Michigan, Mackenzie Gilchrist Kern of Royal Oak, Michigan, Paget Grace Kern (Jacob John Collins) of Arvada, Colorado; and by her great-grandchildren Sophia Ruesga Gordon, Emma Ruesga Gordon, and John ‘Hayes’ Gordon. Aunt Grace is survived by Philip Nilson Potvin (Janet Hogberg Potvin) of Cadillac, Michigan, Katherine Potvin Shurtz (Bruce Andrew Shurtz) of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Joan Potvin Delamater (James Robert Delamater) of Woodbury, Minnesota, and Mariette Potvin Borucki (Gary Lee Borucki) of Traverse City, Michigan, and many grand nieces and nephews.
Grace Katherine Fletcher was born in Alpena, Michigan on July 8th, 1927 to Katherine Gilchrist Fletcher and Colonel Philip Kingsbury Fletcher. She attended McFee School in Alpena and graduated as a boarder from Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She grew up riding horses on the beach of Michekewis Park, celebrating birthdays at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island where she watched Esther Williams swim in her famous movie scene, and sailing on Lake Huron. Gracie was the only girl to race against and win the all-boy summer regatta, leaving few sailor boys to remain her friends. She was Alpena’s Ice Queen with lifelong friends in her court, and she played her bugle in the annual Alpena parades with the American Legion Band. After a year at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia, Gracie lived in New York City where she graduated from Finch Junior College. She attended Mexico City College for a year with a major in Spanish; she was fluent in Gilchrist as well.
Gracie met her husband Clayton Gordon when he was a medical student studying with a summer job at Alpena General Hospital, and were married in Alpena at Trinity Episcopal Church on April 10th, 1950. Gracie and Clay made their home at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 1950 to 1957 with medical studies, a medical degree in surgery, football games and the welcoming of their three children. John Hurter Gordon III arrived in Ann Arbor, Peter Fletcher Gordon joined the family during the two years of Navy medical military stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Susan Elizabeth Gordon completed the clan back in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Gracie was the perfect doctor’s wife, and the family settled in Birmingham/Bloomfield Village, Michigan. She was an involved parent with Detroit Country Day and Cranbrook Schools, and Christ Church Cranbrook. She was a lifelong member of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of Michigan.
Gracie was active with sports and entertaining. She enjoyed bow hunting and fly fishing, snow skiing, paddle tennis, tennis, golf and gin rummy, all in good fashion! She was known to go skiing at Otsego Ski Club with matching ski pants, jacket and helmet in a different color for each day, and in Canada she arrived to her lesson in her brand new outfit matching all the instructors! There was the wedding where she arrived beautifully dressed and matching the bridesmaids! She carried it well! Among the many family dogs who hold endless stories, there was the schnauzer that could not be housebroken so Gracie hired a dog psychiatrist to analyze him. It was the passerby who may have wanted the psychological assistance after driving their car off the road trying to identify the family leashed pet on a walk, it was Arnold the pet pig. Gracie loved to play the piano, and her composition ‘Open My Eyes With Love’ was copy-written and played on the radio.
Gracie’s years of volunteering in the community included Provisional Chair and being a star onstage at the Junior League Follies for the Junior League of Birmingham. When the JLB hosted the Virginia Slims Tennis tournaments, Ann Hayden-Jones (Wimbledon 1969) and Pip Jones were house guests. Evening parties at the home included Billy Jean King, Francois ‘Frankie’ Dürr, Rosemary Casals, Kerry Melville, Karen Krantzcke, Betty Stove, Peaches Bartkowicz, and Margaret Court. The following year with the returning tournament, Ann and Pip Jones brought their guest room blessing for our dining room table centerpiece... Baby Pippa Jones. Gracie was the only ‘blonde’ Cleopatra in history as she starred in the Orchard Lake Production of Caesar and Cleopatra. She was known to host formal teas for the boys at St Peter’s Home for Boys in Detroit where she became a Emeritas Board Member. Gracie founded Pretty Things to sell beautiful linens and travel accessories. She hosted numerous trunk showings representing Eleanor Beard of Hardinsburg, Kentucky and over 35 vendors at Sign of the Mermaid in Birmingham, and in Giftorama at Kingswood School Cranbrook. Gracie was an interior decorator, and we now know that airports and hospitals bolt down their furniture after years of Gracie rearranging furniture in waiting rooms to better accommodate family gatherings.
Tennis and golf included fun tournament winnings and remained prominent activities surrounded with friends and family throughout her years and travels: Orchard Lake Country Club in Orchard Lake, Michigan; Royal Poinciana Golf Club in Naples, Florida; Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona; and Coral Beach Club in Bermuda. Gracie and Clay shared wonderful stories from their trips to California and Italy with the F. A. Coller Medical Society, golfing from the riverboat going down the Danube, and off the Clipper Ship sailing around Scotland and Ireland. In 1994, they traveled and dined on the QE II with Dolly and Ben Wright, Walter Cronkite with Anne Moeller, Marge and Andy Rooney, Bob Hope and Delores, Harold Stuart with Francis Langford, Robert Stack, and Herb Caen for the 50th celebration of The World War II Normandy Invasion in France. Annual visits to Bermuda were highlighted with Beach Terrace dinners hosting family Ann Jones Gordon (knighted by the Queen) and The Duchess Katherine and Duke Edward of Kent. Yet it was Coral Beach Club Room 6 where her legacy brings the biggest smiles. Upon arrival each year, Gracie would turn the red and orange flame stitch curtains around, decorating the room with the white curtain lining and giving highlight to the Birdsey artwork which had been re-hung into the room from the hallways. Each night as CBC guests gathered for cocktails, they would look up to view the now red and orange flame stitch curtains in Room 6 greeting their ocean terrace and know that the Gordons had arrived!
Gracie was synonymous with: ethereal, beautiful, elegance, charm, radiance, exceptional, loving, giving, generous, strong, brave, creative, great listener, humorous, a gift of sparkling light... this is only a beginning to a woman who lived life full of grace. She will be re-arranging the Heavens and we will forever recognize her talents with the beautiful clouds decorating glorious skies. We will hear her ‘YooHoo’s’ in the winds. Her legacy of Gracie-isms will endure for generations to share her love and laughter.
There will be a celebration of Grace Fletcher Gordon with a service at Pine Grove Cemetery in Alpena, Michigan for family and friends on Saturday, June 4, 2022. Plans will include music from Bob Snyder of Marco Island, Gracie’s bugle and song, and a reception at Captain Phil Fletcher’s Alpena Yacht Club. Donations in her memory may be sent to the John Hurter Gordon III Endowment Fund at: Detroit Country Day School, 22305 West 13 Mile Road, Beverly Hills, MI 48025.