Vale Gordon Bruce Smith

Gordon Bruce Smith died peacefully in his sleep at Anthem, his aged care facility, in Bowral, on 5 March 2021. For many years he lived in the Municipality of Strathfield, first at the doctor’s residence at 54 Noble Ave, Strathfield, and then at 2 Wallis Ave, Strathfield, and lastly in 19-21 Meredith Street, Homebush.

Gordon was born on 28 July 1952, the first of five children to Dr Bruce (BJ) and Pamela Smith. He was named for his two godfathers, Dr Gordon Stuckey and Dr Gordon Donald (who as a child lived at 22 Moseley Street, Strathfield.) At the time of his birth his parents were living at Abbotsford. His father having left Royal Prince Alfred Hospital was in general practice whilst studying for his membership of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

Gordon was born with congenital deafness and his hearing impairment lead to developmental delay. He might have been a special needs child but he went on to be an extraordinary achiever who had a great life that he could be very proud of.

He was educated at independent schools beginning with Wadham in Strathfield and then at Trinity Prep on the Boulevard. From Trinity he moved in 5th Class to Wyvern House at Newington and then on to the senior school. In First Form he had two terms at Homebush Boys High School but then returned to Newington until he was old enough to leave school in 1967.

His mother spent many months taking him to job interviews and fortunately a job was found at Norton Australia, better known as Bear Tape, in Lidcombe. Gordon worked there on the factory floor making abrasive paper for twenty years. With his long service leave he bought his first home, an apartment in Balmain Road. Having been schooled under the flight path at Newington living under the flight path in Leichhardt didn’t worry him at all as he simply took his hearing aids out at night.

For the next two years he worked at Amtron Tyree and on Friday nights he collected used glasses in the public bar at the Sheraton Wentworth. At around this time Gordon who had started school with Miss Wyndham at Wadham (the sister of Sir Harold of Wyndham Scheme fame) completed his School Certificate. What his teachers at high fee paying independent schools had failed to do Gordon achieved on his own at night at his local TAFE. With his new certificate he completed a Certificate in Social Welfare Work and trained as a counsellor with the Ankali Project.

For the next twenty years Gordon was a toll collector on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Gordon bought a house in Bessemer Street, Mittagong. Upon completing twenty years with the DMR he took a voluntary redundancy and paid off his mortgage. He totally renovated his cottage on a busy corner of the Hume Highway. A rock solid, double brick and tile house on a concrete slab with a garden full of mature trees was perfect when he took out his hearing aids.

Over the years Gordon travelled the world and made many friends here and abroad. He became an active member of the Petersham and Granville Parishes of the Metropolitan Community Church and having worshiped as a child at the Church of England Parish of St Anne in Strathfield he loved singing hymns until, with early onset dementia, he went into aged care. Gordon was 68 when he died.

10 comments

  1. Enjoyed reading your tribute very much, thanks Cathy. Gordy was a gentle soul with a great sense of humour, a kind nature and a wonderfully supportive family. An inspiration.

    Like

  2. I didn’t know him, but I wish I did. Sounds like he was an angel on earth. Now back singing with the choir of angels in heaven.

    Like

  3. Gordon was a lovely man. We met him in 2000 on an American/Canadian trip and remained firm friends ever since. He often popped up to see us in Cronulla, while also visiting an aunt and his late math’s teacher’s wife. We’d talk for a couple of hours, while drinking lots of cappuccinos and eating his favourite chocolate biscuits, and then he’d drive back to the southern highlands. My husband and I drove down to see him too and with an English couple we had met on the trip, enjoyed a delicious home cooked lunch. He was quite the raconteur. We will miss him.

    Like

  4. I knew Gordon, a little,through his family. He was a beautiful man.
    Condolences to his family and friends

    Like

  5. Condolences to Gordie’s family. I shared a house with him in Balmain road, Leichhardt 1982/3. He was a delight and a character.
    Dorothy

    Like

  6. Yes i remember Gordon both at Trinity Prep and later Homebush High . He lived in that marvellous Tudor house in Wallis Avenue , just behind the Culls. He was always friendly and wanted to join in even though he had that hearing problem as you said – He was tall and rangey and had broad shoulders . I am so glad he had a good life in the end and seemed to enjoy it to the full
    Edwin

    Like

    1. Edwin
      I’m pleased you remember my big brother Gordon. He was indeed tall, at 6 ft 3 inches, and had broad shoulders.

      From 1962 until 1968 my parents, and their five children, lived in the Californian bungalow at 2 Wallis Avenue, Strathfield. The house was by the architect Thomas Pollard Sampson but has since been demolished. It was built on the 1926 subdivision of “Wynola”, later known as “The While House”. The house was stylistically very similar to the club house at Concord Golf Club with a Doric columned portico, rather than the elongated Doric columned colonnade, which Sampson designed for his golf club.

      Our neighbours in the 1960s were the Shaw family, at 4 Wallis Avenue, with their two sons John and Julian. The Stockbroker Tudor Style house you speak of in Wallis Avenue was “Crosby” at number 12.

      https://strathfieldheritage.org/2018/12/30/10386/

      I’m not sure who lived at “Crosby” in the 1960s but by the 1970s it was the home of the Yates family and their MLC educated daughters.
      Regards
      Scott

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s