It is with great sadness that I am reporting the death this week of our past Chairman, Gordon Lister. Gordon had been in poor health for some considerable time, but his condition deteriorated very rapidly in recent weeks – he would have been 91 in March. Gordon first joined the Committee in 1986 and was our Chairman for almost 30 years, only accepting ‘early retirement’ in 2019 due to both his and his late daughter Irene’s ill health.
Gordon & his late wife Doris (who showed the dogs) got their first Keesie from Sheila Mac, Shelderon Sterren Sparkle born in 1977. He was followed by Boreasvale Banjo Bill and then Boreasvale Bourbonien, who sired their only Keesie litter from which they kept Gordorna Sweet Spice. They also kept another of his daughters, Venway Narina of Gordorna (sister to V. Nimrod) – with his Vickie living to the ripe old of nearly 18. But it will probably be for Japanese Spitz Gordon will be best remembered with his Buttons – Ch Gordorna Buttons and Bows, who was the breed record holder and of whom he was so immensely proud.
He was a regular helper at Discover Dogs Crufts on the Jap Spitz booth; but he wasn’t adverse to popping ‘next door’ to meet Keesie people or to see if there were any chocolate biscuits around. Gordon was a true stalwart of the dog world, always ready to help out anyone and any society, often with little notice, from judging fun classes at Companion Dog Shows to stewarding at General Ch shows. He awarded CC’s in both Keesies and Jap Spitz and was upset he never got to award them in Mini Schnauzers – when the Kennel Club instigated the 70 year age rule for awarding 1st time CC’s in a breed, he missed out by a couple of months.
For many years, Gordon (along with Irene) had been a permanent fixture stewarding at Club shows. With his natural warmth and charm he helped put many a new exhibitor at ease; usually by greeting them with a ‘Now then Flower’ or ‘Hallo Pet’. Who can forget, when it came to the veteran classes, Gordon calling out for all the old girls to come into the ring and the responses he used to get in return. Or being given a posh new pair of slippers by the Committee, after he’d complained his feet ached and which he proudly wore in the ring after lunch.
He was generous, both with his time and with donating items for the raffles; always ready with a friendly word or one of his jokes – a gentleman and a gentle man. The Hartlepool Crusher is no more, the Mayor’s Parlour is closed and he is finally reunited with his beloved Doris and Irene. There will be a small private funeral attended by just his close family, but they hope to be able to hold a more public memorial once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
And more sad news comes with the death of Michael Fusco; along with wife Margaret who showed Jack (Amikirs Lord of the Bubbles) were regular supports of the Club and also of their local open shows. He was admitted to hospital with a broken hip, where he unfortunately contracted Covid-19 and died shortly afterwards on Thursday.