There couldn’t have been a better and more fitting send-off for much-loved Harrogate artist Ronald Gordon.
A wake that presented an exhibition of some of his finest artwork, that movingly celebrated his life and all of the extraordinary things he achieved.
Every brushstroke of his watercolours tells a story, and it was a chance for family and friends to reflect and reminisce through a medium that meant so much to Ronald, who died aged 87.
Ronald’s love of art was one that took him all over the world - his favourite place to paint was Malta, and many of his paintings have been exhibited in the nation’s Melitensia Art Gallery.
His name is also included in the International Dictionary of Artists who Painted Malta. In Harrogate, where he lived for 55 years, Ronald’s work was widely exhibited and admired, and his paintings will undoubtedly continue to inspire and be admired - both for their artistic merit, and as pieces that capture his much-loved personality.
Ronald’s daughter Ondine said: “Ron was a very modest man, quiet and unassuming, but a very determined and responsible man. There are not enough words to describe his achievements, or express the sad loss of his talent.
“We wanted to do this exhibition so that people could see his varied work, as people don’t necessarily know his entire life.
“Some of Ron’s work looked like a photograph of his life and world in pictures - every picture tells a story, and his love for his family is shown with personal paintings, capturing deep and meaningful occasions for us all.
“His life will live on through his paintings, drawings, and architecture - where he went, and what he saw.”
As well as his impressive achievements as an artist, Ronald had a long-standing career in the NHS, starting in 1964, designing hospitals for the Yorkshire Regional Health Authority (then the Leeds Regional Hospital Board), working from their headquarters in the Queen’s Hotel.
Ondine said his proudest achievement in his working life was taking charge of the rebuilding of the historic Queen’s Hotel, ensuring that the Grade II listed facade dating back to 1671 was photographed, carefully dismantled with every stone being numbered, and then re-assembled exactly as before.
After a brief spell of employment in an architect’s office copying drawings, he joined the Royal Engineers and went to Egypt to complete two years of National Service, where he was shot at whilst defending the Suez Canal in the first Suez Emergency of 1951-1954.
Ronald was later awarded a General Service Medal for his efforts. On his return home, he attended Leicester College of Art to study architecture and became an Associate Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
He accepted an offer of early retirement in 1990, and bought an old Methodist Mission which he converted into his home.