Aileen Becker Gordon completed her life on the 24th of April 2014, at the young age of 90. Aileen was a native and lifelong Houstonian born to Samuel W. and Frances Becker Sr. on the 18th of August 1923. Aileen was destined to live a life filled with beauty – as she grew up as the daughter of a jeweler and then married into another jewelry family. She will be missed by all whom she touched – and that was many – across Houston and the country.
From everything she did, everyone she touched, everything she was – everything about her was grand. Her elegance, her charm, her sophistication, her grace, her beauty, her manner, her sense of humor, her smile, and her impeccable taste, all made her the epitome of a lady. When you were in her presence, you felt special and you knew that you were with someone truly exceptional. She was simply the ultimate lady -- Aileen.
She always found a way to live life to the fullest. Her love of life was obvious. Her very presence elevated even the most ordinary to something extraordinary. Her adventurous spirit took her all over the world, and later in life, she brought the world to her. While her life in many ways was a party, she faced her share of challenges with the passing of her mother, Frances, when Aileen was only 15; her younger brother, Sammy, at an early age; her beloved husband Harry B. Gordon, Sr., former Chairman of Gordon's Jewelry Corporation; and her son, Harry B. Gordon, Jr. And, even late in life, Aileen became a proud and determined cancer survivor. Regardless the tragedy, Aileen responded – with an inner strength and firm conviction that defined her very being. She overcame adversity – and why not – she believed life was there to live…and she lived it!
Above all, she lived for and loved her family. And, they loved her. She was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend and beloved matriarch. She devoted her life to family: her husband of 56 years, Harry B. Gordon, Sr. (who preceded her in death); daughter Frann Gordon Lichtenstein and Jeff Hirschberg; her sons, Douglas Gordon; Harry B. Gordon, Jr. (who preceded her in death); grandchildren Jill and Brad Deutser; Rachel and Gregg Lichtenstein; Alyssa and Henry Heinerscheid; Adam Gordon; great grandchildren Ashley and Andrew Deutser; Sydney and Hayden Lichtenstein. And, the one constant throughout her life has always been her younger brother, G.M. (Bubba) Becker. For Aileen, family had a far reach – she so loved her sister and brother-in-laws, Bertha and I.L. Miller as well as Anaruth and Aron Gordon (who all preceded her in death); Dede and Connie Weil; Susie Miller; Harris Lichtenstein; Arnold Miller; Lolly and Clay Becker; and so many nieces, nephews and friends who were not simply extended, but true family. And, there were those with whom she was so blessed to have developed such meaningful friendships – her angel, Helen Randall, Ken Hall, Ruth Charles, Kitty Ramirez and Jennifer Tassin. And, she was so grateful for the wonderful care provided over her life from so many wonderful doctors, including Dr. Dennis Hamill, Dr. Garrett Walsh, Dr. Jay Davis and Maddy Bunch.
When you interacted with Aileen, or Gram as she was known by her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends all over, you were forever touched. She made sure you knew you were special and loved. It was one of her many enduring gifts. Yet, it was Aileen and Harry's gift of philanthropy to countless causes that has made a lasting mark for so many in need. Their giving spirit, unwavering generosity, passion and dedication impacted MD Anderson, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, The Gordon Diabetes Center at Texas Children's Hospital, Congregation Beth Israel, National Conference of Christians and Jews, Kinkaid School, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Houston, and many more organizations that support the city they loved so dearly.
However, most indelible was the mark she left on family and those she loved. While she cherished her time with friends, there was nothing that made her happier than being with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She matched their passion and energy for life, and she was a willing participant in anything that sounded fun – perhaps never fully embracing the fact that the fun was so often brought by her.
She will be so dearly missed by so many. Yet, the lessons, the gifts and her zeal for life will carry on in all whom she touched. Her mark is one that will never fade -- it simply wasn't her style. She will forever be remembered as the ultimate lady. Grammy, we love you and will always work to carry on your legacy of love.
The memorial service is to be conducted at four o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday, the 27th of April, at Congregation Beth Israel, 5600 North Braeswood in Houston, where Rabbi David Lyon and Cantor Daniel Mutlu are to officiate. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent Wolff – Toomin Hall.
Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private entombment service at Beth Israel Memorial Gardens in Houston.
In lieu of customary remembrances, a donation can be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, Attention: Garrett Walsh, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX, 77210-4486, one of the causes important to Aileen; or to the charity of one's choice.