On Monday, December 2, Vice President of Student Affairs, Andy Robinson, sent out a campus-wide email confirming what many students had heard but could not believe. Longtime Zorn Dining Commons staff member, Gordon (Gordi) Davis, had died at the age of 64.

Students knew Davis as one of the dining common greeters who assisted students in swiping ID cards, making transactions and monitoring entry to the building. However, Dining Services General Manager, Josef Quirinale, said he believes students will remember Davis for more than just his job duties, “Students will remember that he always had something to say and it could be funny, it could be sarcastic, but it was always welcoming.” Quirinale said side from his role as a greeter, Davis was also very involved in the special theme nights the DC hosted.  In the tribute poster placed at the entrance of the dinning commons, Davis is photographed, dressed up as King Henry on a British cuisine themed night.

Keene State College senior, Jennifer Ahlquist, said her favorite memory of Davis was on a theme night.

“I think it was a mariachi theme. Gordi was in a dress running around the DC, and that was just like him—always trying to get people to laugh, trying to put a smile on peoples faces.”

Contributed Photo / Sodexo: Gordon “Gordi” Davis dresses up as King Henry on a British cuisine-themed night at the Zorn Dining Commons.

Contributed Photo / Sodexo:
Gordon “Gordi” Davis dresses up as King Henry on a British cuisine-themed night at the Zorn Dining Commons.

Immediately after news of Davis’s passing broke, the KSC community took to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, expressing sadness towards the loss of an KSC icon but mostly commemorating the impact he had on their lives.

“You brightened every day, and made sure everyone left with a smile. Not only that, but you had a heart so strong it was hard to ignore. I will never forget the kind words you said to me Gordi, I carry them with me always. Rest in peace,” wrote one KSC alumni on her Facebook page.

Popular Twitter accounts, like Keene State Problems and KSC Confessions, both paid tributes to Gordi tweeting: “#RIP Gordi the DC will never be the same” and “The DC should be renamed the Gordi Davis Dining Commons. Retweet if you agree. #RIPGORDI.” Not only did students love talking to and knowing Davis, the feeling was mutual.

“[Gordi] was so engaging and he was truly interested in getting to know everybody.  If he had a conversation with you, it was because he was truly interested in having the conversation and he was extremely very focused on people, he was focused on everybody,” said Quirinale.

KSC sophomore, Alecia Canfield, said she would make it a point to go through Davis’s line entering the DC because of his friendly aura and upbeat comments.

Some students will remember Davis for his ‘policing’ of the DC. Quirinale said Davis’s want to make sure all DC rules were enforced stems from his connection to the college.

“Students want to take food out of the DC so Gordi would want to be the police man and we’d say ‘You know Gordi, that’s not your place even though we appreciate the fact that you tell them.’  He’s a Keene State alum, so he had a great deal of loyalty to Keene State and loyalty to the dining commons,” Quirinale stated.

Davis was a 1972 graduate of KSC and had been working for the dining commons for seven years. Davis also had a radio show on Thursday nights on WKNH, which Quirinale said he was a good fit for because of his ability to be very clever and opinionated.   Quirinale also mentioned he had a knack for DJing.

“[Gordi] had a way of being able to thread music from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s together and make it work, it was a pretty amazing thing, and I know he was enjoying that radio program very, very much.”

A dinner was held on Monday, December 9, to commemorate Davis’s legacy at KSC.

Quirinale said Davis once prepared his own favorite meatloaf recipe for students two years ago and that same dish was served to students Monday night, along with other foods that were selected by a tally of student votes at each station in the dining commons.

Quirinale said the idea stemmed from the fact that Davis would always be interested in students likes asking, “What’s your favorite meal?”

 

Rachel Heard can be contacted at rheard@keene-equinox.com

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