Grace Evelyn Hullett Gordon was born in York County, SC, October 16, 1938. She was married to Benny Hoke Gordon for 58 years until his death in 2018. She worked all her life and retired as director of Piedmont Pioneer House, a rehabilitation facility where she provided job training for mental health clients.
Everyone who knew Grace knew that her faith was her foundation, and she lived it daily. It was important to her that her children have this same foundation, and she carried them to church even when they complained -- sometimes loudly. She was a fierce prayer warrior and shared prayer cards and prayer cloths with anyone she thought was in need of one. Grace was generous with her time and belongings and was always doing for others. She had a card ministry at church to make sure everyone received a birthday, anniversary, get well or sympathy message.
Grace loved her family. She worked a full-time job, came home and worked in the garden, canned food at night and still found time to take her daughters to piano lessons, dance, cheerleading, band practice and, of course, church every time the door was open. She made them clothes and old-fashioned shoulder book bags. She amazed them by breaking an apple in half with her bare hands and whistling like a pro when she needed their attention or to call them in from playing. When they had trouble falling asleep, she would rub their backs and trace around their faces until they dozed off. She and Benny attended countless school, band and athletic events for their children and later for their grandchildren. Family vacations weren’t spent in fancy hotels but in tents and campers because they loved camping at the beach and at Clemson. She went on backpacking and cross-country trips with her daughters, and later when grandchildren came along, she planned GGGG (Gordon Girls and Guys Getaway) every summer.
Her grandchildren remember the camping trips with her and PawPaw; her love of playing any kind of game with them; her collection of homemade Appalachian toys; and their favorite spaghetti. And even though she never learned to swim and had a lifelong fear of the water, she always had an amazing array of toys for the beach and lake and enjoyed watching them splash, float and soak themselves.
Another of Grace’s favorite things was music. She loved being in the church choir, and her youngest daughter, Kerrie, learned to sing alto by sitting beside her. It may have been just the two of them singing alto, but Grace loved the harmony. One of her oldest daughter’s favorite memories is listening to Grace and her siblings sing on their Pop’s front porch. In the 70s, she loved Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album and played it often on the turntable in the living room. She also had several boxed album sets from Time Life (Herb Alpert, Floyd Cramer and others) and later a large collection of CDs that she asked to listen to even in her last few days. Grace and Benny learned to play the guitar by watching a lesson series on ETV, and she played the dulcimer.
Other things Grace loved (in no particular order): Peeps, candy fruit slices, quilting, gadgets (including ones she rigged up), containers of any kind, coconut bars, Chick-O-Stick, playing softball and being called Amazing Grace.
Things Grace didn’t love: carrots, chicken and dumplings, her hair and sports other than softball (but she indulged Benny in trips to Clemson for football and baseball games).
To her daughters, she left her feistiness. She taught them to stand up for themselves -- by her example of rarely taking anything off anybody -- but she also gave them a strong sense of right and wrong. She and Benny taught their daughters to take responsibility, to solve their own problems and to make do with initiative and ingenuity. Grace was well-known for her candor and passed that along as well. Together, Grace and Ben made their children’s lives simpler by giving them confidence in who they are and teaching them to stand by their principles and values.
Grace was preceded in death by her husband Benny Hoke Gordon; her parents, Lilly Owens Hullett and Alfred Harvey Hullett; three brothers; and two sisters.
She is survived by daughters Carol Ward (Gary), Deborah Brandon (Dan) and Kerrie Goforth (Bobby); five grandchildren (Hoke, Casey, LE, JT and DJ); and a sister, Bertha Odom.
The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Saturday, February 9, at First Baptist Church in Clover. Private services will be held. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Lewy Body Dementia Association or First Baptist Church (Clover, SC).