Gordon Granger, IV died peacefully at his home in Earlysville, Virginia on January 6. Born at home in Albemarle County he was one of five children of Kate Marion Granger and Gordon Granger, III. The Granger Family has resided in the Charlottesville area for several generations and Gordon attended Lane High School and the University of Virginia.
Gordon had an endless supply of stories about growing up in the area as it was then, and loved to tell them. Known as “Buddy” by childhood friends and family, Gordon recalled driving cattle on horseback when he was eight years old, from the family farm on route 29 south to the West Main Street railroad station where they were loaded onto trains to be shipped for sale. He helped log timber for sale, also using horses, from the family property. After his father died when he was fourteen Gordon helped support the family by milking a dozen dairy cows daily; the family sold cream to the old Monticello Dairy.
Gordon loved sports and at Lane High School he played football and baseball, boxed and ran track. He loved to tell everyone that he still held the Virginia state record for the longest javelin throw, noting with a chuckle that the event was eliminated the year after he set the record.
After graduating from high school in 1946 Gordon enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served for two years including one year on Midway Island in the central Pacific, where he operated a radar array. Upon his honorable discharge Gordon returned to Charlottesville and enrolled at the University of Virginia with the help of the “G.I. Bill.”
Gordon enjoyed his time at UVa, graduating in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He was very proud of his membership in the Delta Upsilon (“DU”) fraternity and many of his fraternity brothers became lifelong friends. Immediately after graduating from the University, Gordon took on the role of National DU Monitor, traveling around the country and Canada to help the fraternity start and retain chapters. Years later, Gordon’s farm off of Stribling Avenue was the site for many annual DU “Hard Times” parties, and the source of many a DU House Christmas Tree. Gordon was also voted into the Eli Banana society at the University.
Gordon played football at UVa under respected coach Art Guepe and liked to remind listeners that the team was nationally ranked in the top ten during his time. His love of UVa sports did not stop with football and he watched faithfully all teams, up to his last days.
After graduating from UVa and traveling for DU, Gordon tried his hand at teaching history and coaching high school football before entering his lifelong profession as a Stockbroker.
In 1954, Gordon married Frances Tyndall Hankins; they had four daughters. After living in Richmond, Virginia for several years, they settled on a family farm just outside of Charlottesville. Gordon retired as a Stockbroker but his real loves were his family, his farm, and his friends. He was a great cattleman and every year he planted a large garden and grew more vegetables than the family could eat in a year. He would often take baskets full of his gorgeous vegetables to his local friends, partially just to brag.
He taught his four girls to plant, fix fences, bale hay, drive tractors and cut grass in a time when girls didn’t always do such things. He also mentored and befriended a host of others who crossed paths with him through farming and country life, including nieces, nephews and neighbors.
Gordon was tremendously proud of his family history. Probably the most significant chapter of family history for him was its connection to the Union Army during the Civil War and the history that has followed. He could talk for hours about his great Grandfather, Major General Gordon Granger, who played a significant role in several battles including Chickamauga and the Battle of Mobile Bay. He was particularly gratified when a national federal holiday, Juneteenth, was established on the 19th of June, commemorating the date when General Granger issued “General Order Number 3” in Galveston, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and ensure the abolition of slavery in Texas.
Gordon Granger is survived by four daughters, Frances Champe Granger, Kate Granger Oprandy, Amy Hankins Granger and Jean Langdon Granger; as well as two grandsons, Timothy Gordon Blackwell and Hunter Theodore Blackwell; and one granddaughter, Lydia Anne Oprandy. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, cousins and friends, all of whom he loved and would thank for their contribution to his full and wonderful life.
The family would like to extend very grateful appreciation to Gordon’s care providers who helped him live life to the fullest up to his very last day, including Ms. Joyce Stinnie, Ms. Laverne Lee, Ms. Charmaine Stinnie and Ms. Tonya Brown.
The family welcomes attendance on January 13 for a Family Visitation at Hill and Wood Funeral Home, 201 1st St. North, Charlottesville, Virginia, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and on January 14 for a graveside service at the Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Monacan Trail, at 1:00 p.m. (Route 29 south, south of the Rt. 64 and Rt. 29 interchange.)
As an alternative to flowers the family suggests a donation to the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad, Meals on Wheels, or the charity of your choice.
Condolences may be shared with his family on the Tribute Wall.