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.

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