David M. Gordon, 92, one of eight Haverhill merchants who played a pivotal role in the formation of the Haverhill Journal newspaper, passed away Thursday after a short illness at Lawrence General Hospital.
Born Sept. 10, 1922 in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Gordon was the son of the late Bernhard and Mollie (Lampert) Gordon and moved to Haverhill at the age of three. His Haverhill Hardware and Plumbing Supply Co. was one of the Haverhill Gazette’s largest advertisers in 1957 when 31 composing room workers, members of Local 38 International Typographical Union, struck the newspaper. Gordon approached Manchester Union Leader Publisher William Loeb about starting another Haverhill newspaper.
Loeb paid each of the merchants $50 a week to maintain their loyalty. He next promised them $5,000 a year for 10 years followed by $10,000 a year for the succeeding 10 years along with an overriding bonus of 3 1/8 percent of the profits of the newspaper “to be effective if and when the Haverhill Journal, under my ownership or control, becomes the only newspaper published in Haverhill,” according to court documents. The merchants posed as “ostensibly disinterested parties, to boost the Journal and disparage the Gazette and persuade other businessmen to advertise exclusively in the former.” It was this arrangement that led to a landmark anti-trust case and, ultimately, the Journal’s closure in 1965.
Gordon attended Haverhill Public Schools and graduated from Haverhill High School in 1940 with distinction. He was a member of the Haverhill High School football team, a state qualifier as a member of the track and field team and an Eagle Scout. He attended Harvard University graduating in 1944 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Gordon was a member of the Harvard football team as well as well as an officer candidate in the ROTC program, continuing a lifelong love of the military and devotion to country.
Gordon served in the US Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II under the direction of General Douglas MacArthur, and he received the Silver Star, Bronze Medal, and the Purple Heart for his actions during the war. He continued his service to his country following the war, remaining an Army Reserve Officer until his retirement in 1982, at the rank of Colonel.
He operated several businesses in the Greater Haverhill area during his life; Haverhill Hardware and Plumbing Supply Co., Arlington Pipe and Supply, Modernage Travel and his current business GSG Supply which he founded in 1974, and continued active in up to the time of his death. Gordon was an avid reader; loved the Opera, traveling and theater. He was a 32nd Degree Mason, a Shriner and also served as past head of the Haverhill Community Chest. He was an active member of Temple Emanuel from the synagogue’s founding until present day.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 44 years, Betty Lou (Hall) Gordon. He is survived by his sons, Brian and Elizabeth Stephens of Woburn,; Todd and Kathleen Gordon of Ridgefield, Conn.; Scott and Laura Swain of Lexington, and Mitchell of New York, N.Y. He leaves four grandchildren; Travis and Lindsey Gordon of Ridgefield, Conn. and Jeffrey and Ketan Gordon of Lexington. He leaves his sister Geraldine Lisker of East Providence, R.I. and several nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Ethel Lisker of Providence and Miriam Kesslen of Haverhill.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend graveside services Sunday Jan. 18 at 10:45 a.m. at Sharon Memorial Park, Sharon. Visitation will also be Sunday, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Gordon’s residence in Haverhill. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Gordon Family Award, Haverhill High School, 137 Monument St. Haverhill, MA 01832.