FAIR LAWN, NJ - Replete with his usual good-natured humor, "Fair Lawn's favorite son," Bob Gordon joined other politicians and local officials who lightly roasted the former mayor and senator at the unveiling of the large sign that bears his name at the new River Road senior living complex.
"Senator Bob Gordon Senior Living Complex" became official yesterday, Oct. 13, as more than 100 friends and politicians met to honor Gordon in front of the 85-unit living complex that met with several construction and funding snags along its 10-year journey to fruition, according to former Mayor John Cosgrove.
"Bob was a champion for this project," Cosgrove said to onlookers who were tented from the cool rainy morning.
Cosgrove recounted the process to get the project done, including "several trips to Trenton."
"Bob Gordon is a public servant who has always cared about the people he served," Cosgrove said, introducing him to heavy applause as "Fair Lawn's favorite son."
Prior to his speaking, several politicians and those closely involved with getting the project completed, described Gordon as "intelligent," "thoughtful" and praised him for his humility and public service.
Gordon was quick with self-deprecating humor, saying the ceremony to name the complex after him was "as close to an unveiling as [he] would get."
"I know I'll end up at the bottom of Gail's closet in an urn. I'll be the only thing in there without an Italian heritage," he said referencing his wife's shoe collection.
"This is the closest thing I'll have to a headstone," he joked.
Gordon talked about the value of good relationships, saying he never let political labels or policy get in the way.
The completion of the senior living complex, a collaboration between Fair Lawn, Bergen County United Way and the Penwal Affordable Housing Corporation, was nothing short of a miracle, according to politicians and officials that spoke.
Tom Toronto, president of Bergen County United Way, talked about the "unwavering support" of not only Gordon, but many other elected officials in Fair Lawn.
"There are 80 people living here, and there were over 400 applicants," Mayor Kurt Peluso said. "We have so many people that don't want to leave Fair Lawn but don't want a full house either."
Noting it was fitting for the complex to be named after Gordon, with its 12-feet of stone foundation, Peluso said Gordon has become the same sort of foundation for Fair Lawn. "Bob is a pillar of the community. Fair Lawn is in his heart," he said.
Senator Bob Menendez presented Gordon with a U.S. Flag that flew over the Capitol in Washington, D.C. in Gordon's honor.
"This home for seniors is the very essence of community," Menendez said. "It is a home with dignity. I'm glad to see the town has recognized the service of Bob Gordon. This is really a place to call home."
Congressman Josh Gottheimer said the naming of the senior living community after Gordon is a "testament to who you are."
Gottheimer told a story about how Bob's wife, Gail, was reviewing their checkbook and couldn't figure out where certain funds were going. Bob told Gail he could not find funding for one woman who needed funds to afford her living expenses, so he paid them.
Gordon, a Democrat, served on the Fair Lawn Borough Council from 1986 to 1995, on the Planning Board from 1986 to 1995 and as mayor from 1988 to 1991. He was the Fair Lawn Fire Commissioner from 1986 to 1995 and served on the Fair Lawn Ethics Board from 1999 to 2003.
Gordon was a New Jersey State Senator from 2008 through mid 2018 representing the 38th Legislative District. He served in the General Assembly from 2004 to 2008.
Gordon is currently Commissioner of the Board of Public Utilities in New Jersey.
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