Robyn Openshaw
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Rest in Peace Gordon V.

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Mar 17, 2015

Gordon Van Wagoner R.I.P.

Gordon Van Wagoner R.I.P.

I think this happened before I ever put up My church women’s organization asked me to teach a nutrition class. I don’t think I’d ever taught a class before, before. 12 Steps to Whole Foods was in embryonic stages, at best.

I didn’t know much about teaching. I decided to teach these ladies EVERYTHING IN MY BRAIN about nutrition. I spent three full days preparing. I made yeast-free sourdough whole-grain bread. Green smoothies. My Hot-Pink breakfast smoothie full of beets and carrots. Fermented foods! Sprouting! Dehydrating!

It was my decade of experience in nutrition, in one giant brain-dump! An hour of fire-hosing people with more information than anyone could ever absorb!

As you can imagine, things didn’t go that well. My 12×12 granite patio table was FULL of demo stuff. That’s right, I didn’t just talk about all that stuff, I SHOWED how to make it all, and let people taste.

About 20 women came. Two sat on the front row, on my backyard deck, and talked out loud to each other through my whole talk. I was totally demoralized. Most of them had come to socialize, and weren’t interested in the subject. LDS (Mormon) Enrichment Meetings, weekly, are often a homemaker’s evening out. That night, I cried. I felt my class was an epic failure. I wanted to crawl under my bed and not come out. I didn’t feel they even wanted to learn what I’d spent days preparing for.

But while I didn’t know Kris well, a retired nurse, she sat on the back row and took notes on everything. She was one of the very first subscribers of 12 Steps to Whole Foods, back when I wrote and released one chapter per month as a PDF!

She implemented it all. We became friends. I totally love her, and she taught me things and shared with me, too. When she planted a goji tree in her front yard, I had to have TWO. (Mine never grew, though. L)

Years later, Kris’ husband, Gordon, was diagnosed with CLL leukemia. They said he’d likely had it for many, many years already. There are several acres behind his home sprayed with pesticide, and he was a shop teacher exposed to tons of heavy metals he tested high in, post-diagnosis.

I’m sure the amazing diet Kris had him on is why, several years past his diagnosis, he had great quality of life. (He never did any chemo or radiation. Kris and I sat down to talk through alternatives in cancer treatment, I sent her to some of my favorite resources, and she got Gordon into heavy-metal chelation treatment and they upped their game in nutrition, too.) I ran into him twice in the past year, even though I’ve moved away from that street. He said he felt good.

But in early November, Gordon got pneumonia and died quickly of complications.

I am so sad. I loved him. I missed his funeral because I was speaking in Florida.

When I became a single mom, Gordon helped me and was a good and kind neighbor and friend. One time I did a lecture in our little town of Lindon, Utah, and Gordon found me 50 chairs and volunteered to pick them up in his trailer and come set them up for me.

I want to tell him and his family that I love him, his amazing wife Kris, and I miss them both. Thank you, Gordon, for your impact on my life and many others, and thank you for your support of my work. You are a quiet hero and your life was good, honest, and an example to me.

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One thought on “Rest in Peace Gordon V.”

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  1. Thank you for sharing the beautiful memories of your friends with us. Praying for the family and your hearts during this sad time.

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