KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
February 23, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy’s Marjorie Gorden celebrated her 102nd birthday this week. She’s witnessed many changes over the last century, but takes pride in saying the Katy community still holds that small town charm.
Born in 1918
Marjorie Gorden celebrated her 102nd birthday on Tuesday, February 18. Born Marjorie Allen in 1918 in Gate, Oklahoma, Marjorie was the youngest of four children (2 brothers and a sister.) World War I ended that same year.
Moved to Katy in 1943
Marjorie married Cecil Gorden in 1940 and the couple moved to Katy in1943. Cecil worked as a gas engineer at the plant in Old Katy and they lived in company housing.
“I loved the people of Katy and it quickly felt like home,” says Gorden. “Everyone is always friendly and like family.”
Children and Friday Night Lights
The Gordens had two children, Joyce and Dennis who both attended to Katy High School.
“I loved those days of enjoying the Friday night lights of watching my son play football and daughter in the band,” says Gorden.
Back then the Katy Tigers played at the stadium at the school. Rhodes Stadium didn't open until 1981. Joyce graduated from Katy in 1960 and Dennis was part of the 1964 class.
After Exxon bought the plant where Cecil worked, company housing was no longer offered. The Gordens decided to build a house in Old Katy and moved in April of 1960.
“I remember being able to look out and see headlights coming over the train tracks. Now that view is obstructed by trees and homes."
In Current Katy Home Since 1960
Marjorie still lives in that house today which sits on four acres, unusual for a Katy home today. Marjorie was even evacuated by airboat during Hurricane Harvey, and fortunately was able to return to her home.
Starts Work at First National Bank
During a Christmas Eve party in 1967, Cecil collapsed in their home and died. After her husband's death, Marjorie, who was 49, went to work. She started as a secretary to the Vice President at the First National Bank in Katy. The location is now a Wells Fargo, but Marjorie worked there in many capacities for 25 years.
She enjoyed her work at the bank and even got to work with James E. Taylor. He served 31 years as a Superintendent for Katy ISD, and was the namesake for Taylor High School, the second high school opened in Katy.
“He was so proud of that school and talked about it all the time,” says Marjorie.
Active in the Community
Marjorie loves being a part of the community and giving back. She's been a member of the Katy Literary Club since 1959. The Katy women’s group was founded in 1930 with a mission to advance the intellectual and social culture of its members and give back to the community.
“I liked all the ladies,” says Marjorie. “After my husband passed I couldn’t attend all the meetings but hosted the annual Anniversary Dinner each year.”
“Marjorie was a beloved volunteer of Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital,” Heather German Rojas wrote on Facebook.
Now at 102 years old, Marjorie still attends First Methodist Katy. She also goes once a week to her favorite Katy hair salon off of Fifth Street. She just renewed her driver’s license and enjoys going out with her friends.
Her birthday week was full of celebrations with friends and family. Her daughter came into town, and this weekend both of her children were throwing her a family party. Marjorie's family has grown to include five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Marjorie enjoys staying active and is picking up painting. Currently she is working on a paint by numbers project.
How the Times Have Changed
Marjorie has witnessed so many changes in the past century.
“I remember vividly attending the New York World Fair in 1937. That is where I first saw a television - before they were in homes. Once we got one we had to always adjust the antenna so we could see the picture and not the static,” recalls Marjorie.
“Going out to eat was a big deal,” recalls Marjorie. “To go to dinner we’d wear our hats and gloves. I also remember going shopping to Foleys, Dillards, and Sakowitz.”
Marjorie has seen a lot of change. “I have a cell phone but don’t use it as much,” says Marjorie. “I am on Facebook and enjoy following my family.”
A Gift to a Beloved Resident
For Marjorie’s birthday Katy Magazine asked Facebook readers to post a birthday message to one of Katy’s oldest residents. Over 150 people offered messages to Marjorie for her birthday. Some were generous well wishes from strangers, but some were from people that she’s known and worked or volunteered with over the years.
Some of the comments included:
“Happy Birthday Marjorie! I first met you at the bank, volunteered with you, and then became your neighbor,” wrote Sharon Anderson.
“I worked with Margie at Katy National Bank in the mid '80s. She was one of my favorites. Happy Birthday,” wrote Donna Heitmann Clay.
Paula Kay Stapp Hughes wrote, “Happy Happy Birthday Marjorie. You are still beautiful and probably the sweetest person I know. You are amazing to be 102 years old and get around like you do. Wow!!! If I should live that long I hope I can do as well as you do. Enjoy your special day to the fullest!”
“Wow you’d never guess she’s 102. She’s beautiful,” wrote Angie Giglotto Lee.
Watching the Town Grow Up
Marjorie appreciates the growth she’s seen in Katy and the world overall.
“So much has changed in Katy,” says Marjorie. “Katy used to be filled with rice fields.”
“I’m not against growth,” says Marjorie. “Growth is life. Even through the growth Katy has kept that ‘Old Katy’ feel and I pray it always does.”