Theo Gordon


1913 – 2010

It is with great sadness that we reflect on and pay tribute to Upton’s oldest resident – as her son, John, proudly acclaimed at the official opening of the extended Village Hall earlier this year.

She came of an almost entirely clerical family, and was for a long time a regular worshipper at St Mary’s, with a deep personal faith. It greatly grieved her when she became too crippled to attend services

Theo and her husband, Jim, a Professor at Reading University, moved to Upton in 1968 and she frequently said how happy they were in the village. The many cars sometimes parked in High Street suggested there were great parties going on – she was renowned as an excellent cook – while a notice "Quiet, please; a book is being written" indicated other activities at "Littlecote" The spacious garden, designed on classical lines by Jim Gordon, was once or twice used for open-air performances..

Since his death in 1998, Theo had made a life on her own. She had a wide range of interests, continued to entertain, made new friends amongst her neighbours. These later enabled her to remain independent and stay in her home, while in her last years she was further supported by home carers and of course her family as well. When John and Liz moved to Cholsey, she saw more of them, and more of her beloved great-grandchildren.

The welfare of the village and its inhabitants was always very close to her heart, and she especially enjoyed the OTTC performances and specifically requested our home-produced evenings of words and music. Quite recently, indeed, Theo hosted a private rendition of "Animal Crackers".

She came of a bygone age, when traditional values and good manners were presumed without question, she was punctiliously grateful for any little services rendered, and anxious always that she and her house were in a proper state to be visited. But she was also so interested in and concerned about other people, so amazing at remembering the detail of their lives and plans, and so good at making everybody feel welcome and important. She had also an acute sense of humour, enjoyed a good laugh as much as a serious discussion, and bore the problems of her increasingly poor health with a quiet fortitude.

Other residents of Upton will recollect scenes in which she featured during her 42 years in the village; for many there will be a Theo-shaped hole in our lives for a long time.

Elisabeth and Malcolm Wright

August 2010