Roger Wayne Gordon
(May 10, 1934 - May 30, 2018)
Roger Wayne Gordon passed away on May 30, 2018 at the age of 84. Born in Chicago, Illinois on May 10, 1934, to Ethel and Dr. Wayne Gordon, Roger was the older of two boys. Roger’s family moved to Billings, Montana in 1936, when his Dad became the first internist at the Billings Clinic. Starting early in his life, Roger developed a love for automobiles, a passion he would carry through his entire life; he first “borrowed” his Dad’s car at the age of nine. As a teenager, he loved to race cars at the various local tracks around Billings. He also loved the outdoors. As a young man, Roger spent a large portion of his summer vacations with his family at their cabin at East Rosebud Lake, where he helped build trails in the surrounding mountains.
Roger attended Senior High School as a member of the Class of 1952 and developed lifelong friendships with his many classmates. He attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, graduating in 1956. He married Alice Ann Engel that same year and then, in 1959, Roger and Alice moved back to Billings, where they raised three children together before divorcing. Then, in 1997, Roger married Carolyn Egeland, separating in 2004.
Roger spent most of his adult life in Billings. After honing his car sales skills at Lew Chevrolet, in the 1960’s, Roger became a partner in, and eventually the sole owner of, Empire Motors. Roger was known to all as a great salesman and a loyal employer. He also cherished his many friendships and loved driving his convertible around the streets of Billings. Roger was an avid racing fan and, on many Sunday afternoons, could be found simultaneously watching two televisions, each on different stations, covering different races.
Roger faced many challenges in life but always tried to persevere and use his challenges as a means to help others. In 1945, he contracted polio and was hospitalized for a summer. Then, during Roger’s senior year in college, he lost a leg as a consequence of a skiing accident. Early in his adult life, Roger also developed a drinking problem. However, in 1974, with the help of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA), the support of his many close friends and his strong belief in Jesus, he achieved sobriety. This success remained among his greatest points of pride up to the time of his passing. Drawing from these experiences, Roger became an active member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, helped many other people achieve sobriety through AA and worked with the Yellowstone County Amputation Coalition to help others deal with the loss of an arm or leg. Finally, his strong belief in Jesus Christ as his savior led him to witness to countless people; he was proud to say that he helped lead many friends to accept Jesus.
Roger is survived by his children Wayne Gordon (wife, Tammi) Mike Gordon (wife, Patti) and daughter Shelly Gordon Hicks (husband, Scott); his brother Alan Gordon (wife, Stephanie) and his 3 grandchildren: Emily Gordon, Alexandra Briney and Danielle Hicks. Roger was preceded in death by his parents and by his many beloved aunts and uncles.
Services will be held at Word of Life Church in Billings Montana on 8 June 2018 at 1100. The address is 1737 King Ave West and the phone number is 406-655-2002. A reception will follow at Billings Hotel and convention center In the main ballroom.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in the name of Roger Gordon to the Friendship House of Christian Service (www.friendshipmt.org.). Roger was always proud of the fact that his father helped start the Friendship House.
The Gordon family would like to thank Roger’s many friends who supported him throughout his life as well as the staff at St John’s Retirement Home for their dedication to Roger in his last year of life. A Bible verse that Roger would like to be remembered by is from 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.”