Doris (Sawyer) Gordon departed this life due to natural causes on May 19, 2020 in the comfort of her home in Sedona, Arizona. She was 98½ and surrounded by those who loved and cared for her.
She preferred the names affectionately and organically given by her family and friends such as: Arrie Darrie, Aunt D, Aunt Dorie, Deandra, Dearie, Dee, Dorie, Dorie-Gran, Dorinda, Gami, Jah-Jah, Mum, Mom, Queeny, and later in life she referred to herself as Deandra.
Deandra lived her long, active, healthy, and creative life with enthusiasm and energy - sharing that with everyone around her. Outdoors she loved birding, tennis, and travel. Her environments inspired her works of paintings and collages drawn from New England, Sedona, France, and expeditions around the world, always appreciating the creativity of others in the theater, classic films, opera, symphony, “fancy” skating, and dance. She was sociable and had a flare for entertaining, good food, and creating a comfortable home – and never turned down a good piece of chocolate. Deandra exhibited kindness and generosity, grace and charisma. She was faithful about keeping up with friends and family, both through copious cards and letters, and as the “phone gal” who loved a good video-chat.
Deandra was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on Nov. 29, 1921, as the second child of the late Howard and Ruth (Howes) Sawyer, who had three other children (Jeanne, Charles, Shirley). Deandra spent her early years growing up in Brookline and North Andover, MA, completed studies at Abbott Academy in 1940 – now merged with Phillips Andover Academy, and Mt. Vernon College in 1942 – now merged with George Washington University in Washington, D.C.. As a child, she cherished the times during the summer her family would spend on Squirrel Island in Maine. During college, she spent several happy summers doing summer-stock theater in Marblehead, MA and had ambitions for continuing on stage.
In 1943, at age 22, she married 2nd Lt. Franklin Rockwood Hoar, 23, in Boston. During World War II, she lived on Army bases in CO and MA; her first child, Stephanie, was born at Fort Devens, MA. After WWII, she and Frank settled in Georgetown, MA where they tried their hand at raising mink and she had her second child, Franklin Rockwood (Rocky), Jr. When mink farming did not go as expected, she and Frank moved to his family’s hometown, Concord, MA, where she would lose Rocky to leukemia at age two in 1948. She had two more children, Alexander and Amy, while helping to maintain a menagerie of 13 hounds, a pony, cat, and other creatures. She was always there to cheer Stephanie over the jumps at horse shows. Her active social life with Frank included founding the Concord Coon and Jeep Club, sponsoring various related outings, and hosting black-tie, game dinners with beautifully handmade menus. She took-up painting with watercolors and returned often to her beloved childhood haunt, Squirrel Island, with her children. They were together 17 years before divorcing in 1959. As a single mother, she discovered her aptitude for real estate that continued throughout her life.
Through her sister, Jeanne, she was introduced to and then married, Clyde (Monk) Beekman Gordon, in 1964. He had five children from a previous marriage. Their home – at different times in Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts – was bustling with family. Early on, she introduced Monk to Squirrel Island and they purchased a cottage. “White Rocks” became a favorite gathering place for the large family for multiple generations. Many will long remember shared trips to “Dump Beach” to collect “treasures” washed ashore then collaging them together and exhibiting them as “Dorr-ages”; the times she cooked seaweed for dinner; and picking blueberries to make pies. During her marriage, she maintained her entrepreneurial spirit and opened several boutiques – Far-Away-Things in Essex, CT, Karibu in Kennebunkport, ME, which showcased African artwork, and owned the Priscilla Hartley Art Gallery also in Kennebunkport. The pair traveled five continents and lived life as an adventure together for 32 years until Monk’s death in 1996 at age 86.
In 1985, Deandra visited Sedona, AZ for the first time and immediately felt an artistic kinship there amongst the red rocks and open vistas. A year later, she bought a house and proceeded to spend a portion of each winter there until 2010 when Sedona became her permanent residence. During this period, the landscape buoyed her creativity and she continued painting things she loved around her for the remainder of her life.
Deandra was predeceased by her husband, Monk; wasband, Frank; son, Rocky; siblings Jeanne S. Stanwood, Charles Sawyer, and Shirley S. Williams; nieces, Beatrice Sawyer and Gail S. Hodgkin; and nephew Dr. Howard S. Williams.
Deandra will be forever missed by her biological children and five step-children: Stephanie H. Einstein and her husband Tom of Norwich, VT; Alexander R. Hoar and his wife Pamela of Amherst, MA; Amy S. Gordon of Sedona, AZ; Jim Gordon and his wife Linda of San Diego, CA; Ellen G. Davis of Lewisburg, TN; Clyde B. Gordon, Jr. and his wife Sally of Westerly, RI; Jane G. Rupley and her husband Tom of Concord, MA; and Peter Gordon and his wife Jane of Hartland, VT. Five nieces, three nephews, twelve grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren, all of whom were very dear to her, will also forever miss Deandra.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a memorial service is not planned at this time.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Hummingbird Society online at HummingbirdSociety.org, or by check to The Hummingbird Society, P.O. Box 20698, Sedona, AZ 86341. Deandra loved hummingbirds and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Hummingbird Society.