At his 60th birthday party, Gordon Grigg raised a glass to a life he described as a tapestry… vibrant with colour, sometimes stormy, filled with contentment, a loving family and lots of mirth and merriment.
He thanked guests on that occasion for helping make up his tapestry, urging them to “go and give life a good nudge”.
And so it was that when he passed away at home on September 17, he had given life the best nudge he could. Gordon wanted to stick around a little longer, said his wife Evon, but to the end he made sure he squeezed every possible joy from 81 well-lived years.
“There was always laughter and a little bit of fun going on all the time. We were together for 36 years. Oh, how we would laugh… I was so blessed. He was a man who made friends with everyone he met. That was just who he was,” she smiled.
Gordon was best known locally for his shops, Gordon’s Antiques. The first was opened in 1969 in Hamilton’s Grey St and then another in Thackeray St. After moving here in 1987, Gordon and Evon opened the first Cambridge shop in Empire St. The Commerce St shop was his largest and best remembered, overflowing with old treasures. It was there, often accompanied by Evon, Sally the bulldog or Toby the parrot, that his smiling face was woven into the fabric of Cambridge life.
He loved re-homing family objects that spanned the generations and reflected passing history. He thrived at antique fairs enriched by fine wine, the banter of antique dealers and the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. The stories around objects delighted him; he loved little more than browsing antique stores wherever he found them.
Gordon wasn’t always into antiques. The Hamilton-born lad was a dapper dresser who sold quality menswear and made a good fist as an insurance agent before he opened his first antiques shop in 1969. It became a passion, and the die was cast for a successful pairing when he met Evon, who was designing costumes for the Hamilton Operatic Society when he asked her out with his characteristic élan, saying ‘I am persona non grata around here… can I take you to lunch?’.
Gordon’s son Andrew has taken on his dad’s legacy and runs Cordy’s Fine Art and Antique Auctioneers and Appraisers in Auckland. He said: “Gordon took a great interest in my career, he attended as many auctions as possible. He loved to wheel and deal, liked a bit of flash, liked nice cars and some of the finer things in life, and while his fun nature was a strong trait, he also had a stroppy side. Evon has been the most wonderful companion to dad for half his life. I am so lucky he met her.”
His eight decades encompassed so much. Gordon taught Sunday School and ran a youth club, got involved with pony clubs and Kiwanis, Waikato and New Zealand science fairs, boating and hunt clubs. He filled his life with humour and passion, fine wines, music and song, leaving a fistful of memories that endeared him to everyone who met him.