HERRIN — Louise (Tarantino) Gordon, 94, passed away Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Shawnee Christian Nursing Center.
She was born March 5, 1921, in the village of Cirella, Province of Reggio de Calabria, Italy to Natale Guiseppe Tarantino and Mary Teresa (Polito) Tarantino.
She immigrated to the United States in November 1930 along with her mother aboard the steamship Conte Grande sailing from Naples to New York City. One of her fondest memories was ﬁrst seeing the “Green Lady,” the Statue of Liberty.
Louise started school at Hurst-Bush speaking only Italian but was always appreciative of her ﬁrst grade teacher, Mrs. Dorothy James, who devised Italian-American texts for her to learn English.
She graduated from Hurst-Bush High School in May, 1941, only months before the outbreak of World War II. She became a naturalized citizen at the age of 21 in September 1942.
She ﬁrst worked for the bookbinding service of the WPA library in Herrin and then later worked as a clerk at A & P Grocery in Herrin to support her widowed mother and young brother, Jerry.
She married Carl Gordon on April 1, 1945, in Hurst Christian Church with the Rev. Charles Adams officiating and Calvin and Charlotte Gordon as witnesses. She was a “stay at home” mom until widowed in 1964 and then she worked at Phelps-Dodge Aluminum in Murphysboro from 1965 to 1971. She then worked at Norge Co. of Herrin for 15 years until her retirement in 1986.
She is survived by her son, Bert (Joann) Gordon of Herrin; grandchildren, Susan (John) Raski of Herrin, and Brian Gordon of Brentwood, Missouri. Her special joy was great-grandson, Luke Raski. Also surviving is sister-in-law, Kathy Tarantino of Murphysboro; nieces and nephews, Lisa (Stacey) Sisk of Carbondale, Lori (Jeff) Austin of Murphysboro, Jennifer (Matt) Linsin of Marion, along with John (Tami) Mitchell of Zeigler, Susan Starbuck of Bunker Hill, Kim Mollet of Taylorville, Drew (Jem?y) Mitchell of Dixon, Bert G. Haier of Webster Groves, Missouri, and Lee Rainey of Columbia.
Louise was preceded in death by her parents, Natale and Mary Tarantino; her husband, Carl Gordon; and brother, Jerry Tarantino.
Louise was once active in the Hurst Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star, the Missouri-Paciﬁc Booster Club, the Hen-in Senior Citizens and attended Hurst Christian Church where she was once a Bible school teacher. She is also remembered for taking home grown ﬂowers to shut-ins and taking neighbors shopping or to medical appointments in her blue Cutlass car. She was a proliﬁc letter writer (writing and translating many in Italian) staying in touch with friends, family and classmates from Australia to Italy, and from Massachusetts to Wyoming to Washington State.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 16, in Walker Funeral Home in Hurst. Interment will be in Blairsville Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to Hurst Christian Church or Hurst Ambulance Service.