Gordon Teska of Cascade died on December 29 after a successful and fulfilling 87 years. He is survived by sons Michael (Cindy), Stephen (Michelle), John (Sue) and daughter Sharon (Andy); sister-in-law, Harriet Dray; seven grandchildren, Brandon, Ben, Zack, Sadie, Morgan, Camille, and Emma; five great-grandchildren; nine nieces and nephews; and many wonderful friends. Gordon was predeceased by his wife, Dolores (Dee), his daughter, Diane, brother Walter and brothers-in-law Henry Dennis, Jim Wilson and Edward Dray, and sisters-in-law Berniece Wilson and Pauline Teska.
Gordon graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1951. Soon after he joined the Navy, where he was assigned to an anti-submarine airship (blimp) squadron and spent the last two years in Special Services as the manager of the base enlisted men’s club.
Gordon was a proud alumnus of the University of Michigan having graduated there after four years in the Navy. After his first semester he married Dee and graduated in three years.
He worked for twenty-one years at the Amway Corporation rising to become the Executive Vice President of Marketing.
Gordon knew how to have fun. He and Dee enjoyed traveling both domestic, in their motorhome, and abroad. Gordon also became a private pilot. University of Michigan football games were always a big part of Gordon’s life.
When Dee’s Parkinson’s made it very difficult for her to get through Michigan’s winters, she and Gordon moved to Arizona for the winters. The warm weather was a blessing for Dee. They returned to Michigan in 2004 when Dee entered Assisted Living. Dee died in June 2011. They were married for 55 years.
When Gordon lost Dee, he began volunteering for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to advocate for abused and neglected youth who were wards of the Family Court. Gordon was assigned five youths who he mentored for three years. When one boy lost his foster home, Gordon became a foster home and took him in; he lived with Gordon for three years. A second boy moved in a year later and stayed for four years.
Gordon next started to host foreign exchange students, two at a time, for the ten months of a high school year. He was the host for boys from Switzerland, Denmark, Germany (4), Thailand, Norway (2), Portugal, France, and Italy. All twelve became lifelong friends. Each of them went to Ann Arbor for a Michigan football game. In 2014, Gordon went to Europe for three weeks and was hosted by four of his former students.
In 2012, Gordon volunteered to help a 17-year-old refugee from Burma (now Myanmar). Gordon mentored the boy for three years and, when he graduated from high school in 2015, he moved in with Gordon and continues to live there now.
Gordon continued his love of working with youth by volunteering to mentor boys at Bethany Christian Services. That assignment ended when Gordon celebrated his 85th birthday. Gordon was recognized as a Volunteer of the Year in 2016 by West Michigan United Way.
Cremation has taken place. Memorial services are pending. Those who wish to honor Gordon’s life at this time are asked to consider The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, 180 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 5200, Grand Rapids MI 49503, OR The Foundation For Catholic Secondary Education at 360 Division Ave. South, Grand Rapids. 49503.
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