CHESTER, Vt. – Vincent Edward “Butch” Gordon passed from this life May 21, 2018 at Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness, Fla., as a result of complications due to a stroke.
He was born Oct. 15, 1944 in Fall River, Mass., son to Merrill Gordon Jr. and Alice (Ferguson) Gordon. Butch grew up primarily in southern Vermont but had fond memories of his time spent in Bermuda. He enlisted in the Air Force at the age of 19 where he served as an E5 staff sergeant.
He married Susan Mary Vigneault in 1965. After his military service of four years, the couple returned to Vermont, where they settled with their family. Butch began work in basic construction. In 1971, he purchased the property that would become his beloved “gin mill,” in the heart of Chester Depot, Vt. He extensively remodeled the building to accommodate a full restaurant and bar called the Pioneer House, which would remain in operation for 33 years.
Almost everyone passing through or residing in the Chester area has a story to recall about the “P House.” Those memories were precious to Butch, who tried to make everyone feel welcome in his bar – except maybe a mouthy Yankee fan. But no day was revered as much as the only day that got counted down from 365 each and every year, and that was of course, St Patrick’s Day. Butch took extra care to show the community the meaning of Irish hospitality, distributing generous portions of corned beef and cabbage and green beer. Fine Irish music could always be heard for the day and night long celebration, and the wearing of the green was not optional.
Butch was connected to so many people, places, and things in the area, its difficult to find something he did not have a hand in. He was involved in clubs, including the Free Masons, Elks, and American Legion. He loved his sports teams, from high school to Vermont Academy and his teams sponsored by the Pioneer House. The Green Mountain Softball League was a huge endeavor, and Butch was immensely proud of cheering on the P. House Muggers.
Butch enjoyed being a member of the Cairo Temple of the Shriners organization. He traveled with them and marched in parades to help raise money for sick kids. He loved to cook, and play cribbage, and root for Boston. Butch continued working in construction while he owned the bar, and eventually became a general contractor. He especially enjoyed working with copper.
In the ‘80s, his daughter became very ill, and stayed in the hospital for over three months. The situation was extremely serious. Butch never forgot the kindness and support of the community who rallied to help and encourage his family.
In the early ‘90s Butch relocated to Florida, where he began a new chapter of his life after his divorce from Sue. He started in the Fort Meyers area. He lived in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and Homestead doing construction work. Eventually, he visited a friend in Homosassa. He fell in love with the slow pace and simple life of that community, and he relocated there, and that is where he stayed.
He came back periodically to Vermont to visit, but he made Florida his home. He enjoyed his riding lawn mower and sitting in the hot sun. He was fond of saying he did not miss the snow at all. Butch is predeceased by his father and stepmother, Merrill Jr. and Laurita Gordon; his mother and stepfather James and Alice Mallon; his sister Susan Gordon Vigneault; and his son Heath. Butch is survived by his daughter Wendy and ex-wife Susan Gordon of Vermont and his son and daughter-in-law Sam and Tracy Gordon of Homosassa, Fla.
At his request, Butch was cremated after his passing, and, in accordance with his wishes, there will be no service. Anyone who wants to honor Butch’s memory can simply reach out-and help someone in need. Anyone who would like to share a story or a photograph – or see more facets of Butch’s life and times gone by at the Pioneer House – is encouraged to visit the Facebook page: The Pioneer House.