Gordon Ray Robinson, 40, passed away on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
On a snowy evening on January 22, 1980 a baby boy was born in a log home on Rapid Creek near Inkom, Idaho. He was the fourth child born into the family of Dona and Gordon Robinson. During this time, the family did not have snow removal equipment to keep the road open, so walking in and out from the county road was how they got in and out. For a time, anold snowmobile was used to haul in supplies and groceries. A doctor had been called to help with the delivery of the baby, but instead of walking in, he stopped to put on ski equipment. By the time he got his cross-country ski equipment on and skied over, he missed the birth. After a quick check of mother and baby, he skied back up the lane to his car. Gordy was a healthy, pretty, dark-haired boy. This was the beginning of the life of someone special. His uniqueness would bring love, joy, and happiness to all that would come to know him.
Dona, the baby’s sweet mother, came from Texas. While choosing a name, she thought of a strong name for him, a name from one of her southern grandfathers. ‘Stonewall’. It was a strange name to his Idaho born dad, Gordon. A good name, but dad was not sure how it might work in this area. He was named and blessed ‘Gordon Ray Robinson’ after his dad and a grandfather. Gordy’s dad wanted him to have a name they would both live up to. He would tell people he was Gordy Junior.
As mentioned, Gordy was the fourth child of five. Clay was the oldest, then Gabe, then his sweetest, sister Amy. Luke became part of the family in 1982. He too was born in the log home. The kids were playing up on the mountain during the time of Luke’s delivery. They were told, “when you hear the outside bell ringing… come down!” Gordy joined his siblings to meet his new little brother Luke. He had another partner and playmate.
He was a quiet, soft-spoken child. To hear and understand him, his mom would hold his little cheeks in the palm of her hands and turn his head towards her to enable her to read his lips. This helped her to understand what he was saying as he spoke so softly. As we all know, he sure outgrew this soft-spoken trait. He was an honest boy who always told the truth even if his parents did not enjoy what they heard.
Between the house and where the kids would catch the school bus, there is some distance. They would start their “catch the bus run” from when the bus was first spotted turning coming down Rapid Creek road, from about a quarter mile away. It was a sprint down the road, across a place called “Old Plank Bridge”, through the pasture, across the creek and up the other side, always reaching their destination before the bus arrived. Gordy participated in this tradition of runners with gusto.
He loved animals. Except there was a time when a goat had him cornered in the barn and was ramming his horns into him. Dad heard him screaming and went to the rescue. Something happened to that goat and it never bothered anyone again. The same thing happened with a black and white attack rooster and an overzealous turkey. It was as if Gordy was wearing red at a BULLFIGHT.
Luke remembers youthful times growing up on Rapid Creek. Included are catching crawdads from the springs, making mud pies, shooting slingshots, sledding down Old Plank Bridge in the winter, and writing their names in the snow, surprising visitors with their yellow autographs. They played in the creek with their dog ‘Buddy’, playing in the sand pile with their Hot Wheels toy cars and getting to go to work with dad up at the ski hill in the summer.
Gordy loved the outdoors. He loved camping, fishing, and hunting. He also loved to cook and was excellent at it. A combination of a hunting, camping, and cooking story is the time he drew on an elk hunt at Copper Basin. Gabe, dad, and Gordy’s dog Shorty (by the way…Shorty’s name came from the combination of Shannon and Gordy’s names) all arrived at the campsite that evening. Dad quickly saddled horses while the boys set up camp. Wanting to get going for the evening hunt, dad pressed Gordy to get moving as time was running out. Gordy’s reply was, “But I haven’t marinated the steaks yet!” After the ‘steak marinating process’, we rode up the trail. It was a successful, fun, and memorable trip.
As mentioned, on this elk hunt, Gordy took his dog ‘Shorty”. Gabe is a great man, but not the greatest dog lover, so sitting in the cab of a pickup with a squirming, slobbering dog was bad, but when the dog started passing gas, it became a memorable occasion. This continued throughout the night with Gordy trying to keep the dog in his sleeping bag and it continuing to pass gas. At least Gordy said it was the dog!
He was a great storyteller. Most of the stories he told were true. Some however seemed to grow with time. Like the size of a fish getting a little bigger each time a fisherman tells his story. He was a great entertainer.
Luke reminds us of his brothers’ uniqueness as expressed in the way he dressed. He has a fabulous collection of glamorous and charismatic shirts. Also, how many people wear a fanny pack? Luke recalls Gordy’s time as the kicker on the Marsh Valley High School football team. He never had one of his kicks returned. He helped defeat the Snake River Panthers to become division champs by being the man to stop a return kick touchdown. The return man caught the ball and got past all defenders except Gordy. He leaped on to the return man before he could get past him. Gordy ended up dragging behind the guy, pulling on his pants that slipped down his legs, tripping him. It was a game saving ‘pants-ing’!
He and Shannon loved competing in Halloween costume contests of which Gordy would make his own costume and win. His good friend, Ben Johnson would help him with ideas, construction, and artwork. Because he would win year after year, it became necessary to construct the costumes to cover his face so the judges wouldn’t know him. Contest officials were always surprised that he was continually named the WINNER.
He was a two-time winner of the Blackfoot Fair Air Guitar Competition. Some he was competing against were guitar players, but his showmanship came through. Wearing his fake mullet-hair trucker cap, his leather chest piece, made from a saddle cinch and some old bridle reins and skintight red, white and blue leotards, he would slide across the stage, fingers moving at break-necked speed to a ROARING CROWD.
Amy recalls that while she was working at Lexi’s elementary school, Gordy volunteered as an ‘Art Dad’ to serve as an aid in Lexi’s class. He took this opportunity seriously, (even wearing a suit) but still brought his humor and charisma to these young artists. He inspired the students, made art fun with laughter, and gained respect from the parents and staff of Edahow Elementary. “As people would find out he was my brother, Amy recalls,” their faces would light up as they would tell me stories of his incredible uniqueness.”
Amy also recalls that he was patriotic and exotic. When these two forces combine, you have Gordy riding on a Moped, wearing a sleeveless cropped belly shirt, topped with his trucker hat and a built-in mullet wig. He loved to ride his Moped with the American flag proudly waving behind him through the streets shouting and singing his love for this country and handing out flags. He brought inspiration and laughter to the masses. His message reached even more people when a story was aired in a local news TV interview. When asked in the interview, “why are you doing this?” he replied, it’s for America! The local Veterans of Foreign Wars invited him to share his enthusiasm with them to speak to their group.
When asked to recall stories about Gordy, Amy first said, “I’m trying to recall stories that don’t include the cops or mooning unsuspecting victims”.
Amy’s innocent recollections included: the epic long-lasting Monopoly game battles. The challenge was between book smarts, street smarts and the ability to count money. The winner was easily decided by whichever one didn’t flip the gameboard over in frustration.
She also remembers him buying her a nice Christmas present. He worked very hard to save up the money. He picked out a warm and fashionable pair of blue boots with short heels and fake fur trim on top. He gave her the sweetest smile each time she wore them. He shared with her that he had even wrapped it himself. He must have really liked the boots as Amy caught him wearing them one day.
Another memory from Amy when they were young is that she loved playing ‘School’ She was the teacher, Gordy and Luke were her students. They didn’t always answer the school bell. Apparently, she enjoyed playing ‘School’ more than they did. She recalls Gordy as being a creative and bright student, but he didn’t apply himself to her lessons. He received A’s in recess, lunch, and ditching classes. When we attended ‘real’ elementary school the things I had taught him in the summer came in handy. There were times I was called out of class, to help find Gordy who had ditched a class as he did with me in the summer at home.
Christian is Clay’s son and a nephew to Gordy. When asked to share his feelings, he said. “my Uncle Gordy is someone I was planning on having by my side, my whole life. We weren’t as close when I was younger, but in time we became good friends. We loved to fish, drink, target practice and ‘make meat on fire’ as Gordy called it. I started mowing lawns with him while I was in elementary school. I wouldn’t have a lawn business if it weren’t for my Uncle Gabe and Gordy. I appreciate what they taught me. The thing I’ll miss the most is his jokes and his laugh. That guy could make anyone laugh, whether he was trying or not. My uncles, Gabe, Gordy, and Luke taught me a lot. They are my best friends. Since my dad died while I was young, I didn’t know much about what having a dad felt like, but they have all stepped in and I think of them as some sort of dad to me”.
Most of our family speak Spanish. Motivation for Gordy to learn it is that Luke and Camill live in Mexico and there are Spanish speaking clients in his job. While going door to door in a Spanish speaking community, he would ask the people, English? or Spanish? When Spanish was chosen, he would read in Spanish until he learned to communicate better. He was doing well with the language.
Shannon and Lexi are the loves of his life. Gordy and Shannon first met at the Albertsons grocery store. Shannon recalls, I had a curling iron burn on my neck. He called me out in front of the whole store telling everyone to, “hey, everybody! Look at the big hicky on her neck.” I was so embarrassed. After several years of ‘puppy love’, they were married. They ‘tied the knot’ on July 3, 2004. It’s been about 23 years they were together.
He was extremely excited when he learned he was going to be a father. He is so proud of his little girl. She is his ‘Buddy’. Other nicknames for her were ‘Moky Tator’, -‘Lexican the Mexican’,- ‘Little Moke’,- ‘Lexi Rozzy’,- ‘Skeeter’ and ‘Meets’. As Lexi aged, he would take his ‘Buddy’ on many adventures including camping, hunting, and fishing. Shannon also enjoyed times with them. He enjoyed watching her participate in sports supporting her and rarely missing an athletic event. He was her cheerleader and coach. Whistling and hollering were his best forms of coaching. He learned to live the rules of sportsmanship, but it took a lot of restraint. He can fill a gymnasium or track field with the sound of his whistle and voice. Gordy and Lexi are best friends and did everything together. He taught her skills to be able to be more self-sufficient. Recently she was to tell her Uncle Gabe that her dad taught her how to jump start a car using battery cables. He was proud of her in all her accomplishments from success in sports to going out and getting a job. Lexi’s ‘bigger than life personality’ spawns from her dad.
Dalyn, a mother-in-law, recalls him being Lexi’s homecoming date and how they had a blast dancing together. She recalls him as being a top salesman and that he won a cruise which they took a few months ago. “He did many kind acts of service for our family from blowing out our sprinklers, spraying for bugs and early morning snow removal. He always made sure my driveway was shoveled. When Gordy entered the room, the party began. He was the life of the party.” Speaking of being the life of the party, anyone who participated in a get together hosted by him, would come away feeling that they were important. He was a great entertainer and host. People would come away from his parties saying, “It was the best party ever!”
Gordy was blessed to have two sets of in-laws. P.K. and Corrina Smith are the 2nd part of Shannon’s family. Corrina recalls, we have so many wonderful memories of Gordy. He was our favorite son in law, (They have no other daughters…). He always made us feel like we were an important part of his life. He always had the best stories and he would have us all laughing so hard that we could not breathe. He was so talented. He always amazed us with his Halloween costumes every year. We were excited to see what he would come up with and how he was able to create something better. BUT he always did. He was a hard worker and took such good care of our Shannon and Lexi. We are going to miss him and his hugs. Gordy is the best hugger! He was always there when ever we needed him. We were so blessed to have him in our lives, and we will cherish every memory we have of him. WE LOVE YOU, GORDY!
Recollections of his mother Dona, my sweet, tender Gordy. This was how I knew him. He always gave the biggest hugs. One time, the family was on a road trip and Gordy was small enough to be held upon my lap. We were sharing HUGS & KISSES. His embrace was so FULL, a precious moment, etched in time. It felt like a ‘Tsunami of LOVE’. There was joy, and exhilarating comfort in our grasp. We tickled all over from the abundant pure love that was present.
Another occasion occurred during his TODDLER PLUS years. I was the young mother of robustly spirited children. I found the opportunity to seize some ‘ME TIME’ while the children were absorbed by Sesame Street. I would relax with a few moments of reading. This day I recognized that my house remained strangely quiet beyond my hour of welcomed respite. I entered the kitchen, to find a white, flour dusted, CASPER the Ghost. His wide eyes reflected the wonderment that comes from tossing tiny handfuls of imaginary snow high above his head that rested on him like a gentle caress to his innocent, cherubic figure. This incident taught me to make sure I cleaned up after breadmaking.
Another snapshot in time: It was Gordy’s bath time. He was splashing and chattering to his chosen toys of the day. Generally, all mothers strive to maximize time by multitasking chores. When I returned to retrieve him from the tub, he stated, as if narrating his perceptions, “SHE SMILED AT ME!” This caught me off guard. I wondered if my countenance was not always a pleasant reflection that punctuated his current reality.
OK, just one more anecdote: There is a definite trait that I see repeated within the ROBINSON tribe. It is summed up, IF I SAY I’M GONNA DO IT, DON’T BE SURPRISED WHEN IT IS DONE.
Picture this Inkom Idaho on the 4th of July, (local residents feel the growing excitement in the air). There is a crowd of determined, enthusiastic youth gathered with personal resolve to CAPTURE the GREASED PIG. As the starting bell sounded, the throng of greased pig participants scrambled to search for the plumb, petrified PORKER somewhere amongst them. Feet fly in a flurry. The swine becomes captive. As the contest participants separate, we see a greasy, grimy, Gordy clutching his shoat. They rode home in the back of the old truck, Gordy hanging on to that pig and brandishing the biggest smile of the day.
I will share one more. Gordy is a dog lover. Our family included a robust, McNabb breed dog (Thank you John B!) who answered to the name of ‘BUDDY’. Buddy was like the alter-ego of our Robinson tribe. One day Gordy was traveling one direction on the porch as BUDDY was advancing with equal speed from the opposite side. The collision resulted in a broken arm. His injury never seemed to slow him down.
That is just a sampling of stories. These days have been most tender. When the world stops turning so fast for us, we will be happy to hear of your stories about him. Right now, we are focused on family healing and trying to strengthen our unit. We feel your great love and prayers in our behalf.
Gordy, Shannon, and Lexi were not just a family but a team who are well known throughout the community. There is not a waitress in Pocatello that does not know each of these ‘Three Amigos!’ by name.
Do you think Gordy, Shannon and Lexi were crazy, fun or both? as they would dress up for concerts in outfits to fit the occasion. I can assure you that no one else had a better time than this trio. Also, there may not be another family who has been photographed more than them. A very photogenic group.
He loved serving people. A neighbor boy called on ‘Mr. Gordy’ for help as his younger brother had broken his ankle in an accident. His EMT skills and training “kicked in”. He calmed the injured boy, helped the mother know the seriousness of the injury, applied first aid, and made sure he got the proper care. Whenever he came upon an accident, he would stop to help and make sure other help was on the way. Even if others were driving, he would insist they stop so he could help.
Through the experiences and stories that we have shared with you, we hope it has helped us all to appreciate the man we know as Gordy Ray Robinson. Thanks to those who contributed with their comments and remembrances. To each of us gathered here, he had a different title. To Shannon, he was husband, to Lexi, father, to many he was known as friend. To P.K., Corinna, Dalyn and Vern, son in-law, others knew him as brother-in-law. To Dona and Gordon, he was known as son. To Clay, Gabe, Amy, Risa, Vida and Luke, brother. To some he is uncle and others cousin. Even with these different titles we know him by, we have a common bond; we all loved him. Each of us have our strengths and also our weaknesses. It’s our hope that when you think of the man Gordy, that you will remember him for his great qualities and apply them in your own life.
Private graveside services will be held at the Inkom Cemetery.
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