November 5, 1947 - January 11, 2022
Gordon Ben Guttmann was born in Oldenburg, Germany, November 5th, 1947, to Heinz B and Ingrid K Guttmann. They immigrated to the United States in with the help of the American Jewish Federation in 1949. Gordon attended the Detroit, Michigan Public Schools and eventually graduated from Mumford High School. After attending college in the Detroit area for a few years, he eventually decided to join the Navy prior to his selective service number being called. Gordon was in Vietnam during the largest buildup of the conflict in the 1960’s. He served aboard the USS Firedrake AE 14, eventually, being honorably discharged at Station, TI, San Francisco, California. In 1970, he met and eventually married Kathy Waters. A son, Cedric arrived in 1980’s. In 1986, he was married to his current wife, Sharifah/Debby Clark. He and Sharifah had a daughter Ingrid. Gordon spoke several languages throughout his life. He was taught German every day at the kitchen table by his mother. He adopted English after attending school, and taught himself to read, write and speak Mandarin Chinese beginning in the 1970’s. He also spoke several languages conversationally. After serving in the military, he began a business setting up events, such as conventions, trade shows, etc., throughout San Francisco, Bay area. This permitted him to pursue guitar making, chess and Tai Chi. During this time, he lived above Kuo Lien-Ying’s Tai Chi studio, and as Kathy said, if he didn’t come out to practice, Kuo was outside their apartments, yelling for “Gaudan” to come to practice in Portsmouth Square Park at the break of dawn. Throughout his life he practiced the art of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, Stick, Sword, and all aspects of the very rare and powerful Guang Ping Yang Tai Chi Chuan boxing. He adhered to the Chinese saying, “When the rooster crows, it's time to get up.” His love of boxing, the culminated in the publication of “The T’ai Chi Boxing Chronicle,” a compilation of the history and techniques of this boxing art still available in multiple countries throughout the world. Additionally, he created a website for referencing this body of work. http://kuo-lien-ying-taichi.org/bloggers/guttman/guttmann%20website/GuangPingHome.html. It was Gordon who spent decades devoted to helping Kuo, leave a lasting text of the original Orthodox Masters through the translation of these esoteric texts into English, and eventually into multiple languages around the world. Chess was a major part of Gordon’s life. He played daily from childhood eventually spending hours on his computer either reviewing the latest World Chess Match or playing against others online until his final days. During the final month of his life, Magnus Carlsen was engaged in a Chess Championship that he paid significant attention to and was only unhappy that he could not continue watching in Hospice. Gordon spent his life cultivating his love of botany from early childhood having worked in a school conservatory. During the 1990’s and into the 2000’s he fostered over 200 different varieties of Orchid in his home. Gordon taught himself to play guitar in early childhood. Eventually, this led to teaching guitar to other students. In the 1970’s Gordon began to build guitars. He turned one bedroom of his apartment into a Luthier shop. The inevitable shavings made their way into all areas of his apartment. He and Kathy set up a shop in Portland Oregon during the mid to late 1970’s. He did return to guitar making as a hobby during retirement in 2013, making several guitars that numerous individuals now can play. He practiced classical guitar throughout his life mastering difficult passages and nuances to music that made the instruments he built soar. He turned to shipping as his main source of income. Gordon worked in major shipping companies during the 1970’s throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s when American flagships were declining. He was a great salesman and made several friends through this endeavor throughout his life. His last position was with Evergreen Marine Lines based in Taiwan. While with Kathy and again with Debby, Gordon acquired and sailed two vessels. While in Portland, Gordon spent his time sailing along the Columbia River. He witnessed the eruption of Mt. St. Helens while out sailing and often spoke of the experience. In the 1990’s, he and Debby, sailed their vessel, Quest, along with their daughter Ingrid around the Puget Sound Region. Eventually, they sailed the Inside Passage from Seattle to Juneau, Glacier Bay, and the Coast of Alaska. While there, they worked with a writer from 48° North Magazine to publish articles regarding their experiences along the way. They used dead reckoning throughout their trip and at times it became very challenging. During the mid-1990’s, he and his wife Sharifah opened a piano repair and refinishing shop. Gordon, once again, taught himself the process of removing and refinishing large 6 ft. to 11 ft grand pianos along with uprights and other lesser-known pianos. He provided full services from restringing, rekeying, soundboard repair, tuning and all aspects of technical piano work. He worked closely with the Steinway dealership in the Seattle area. At this time, Gordon picked up a book of Nocturnes by Chopin and began teaching himself to play. His very favorite Nocturne was, Chopin Nocturne Op. 72, No. 1 in E minor, which Ingrid and his wife Debby can still hear to this day. Gordon began working as a transportation analyst for Nintendo of America in 2002 and at the age of 65, he retired. At retirement, he resumed making guitars and had the special pleasure of making one very special one with his Grandson John. He continued to practice his Tai Chi throughout his life until moving into his forever home where he devoted most of his time to his grandson John whom he loved so dearly. Gordon taught his grandson to play Chess, they did so daily, and was so proud of his ability to use Notation to make his moves over the telephone. Gordon played guitar daily until he was no longer able to do so. His life was filled with the love and joy of having his Mother-in-Law there who sang to him and who watched evening programs together. Gordon and Debby had a lasting and loving relationship throughout their marriage. He is survived by his wife Sharifah/Debby, his daughter Ingrid, son-in-law Prem, and their three children, Cedric and his two children, sisters Kirsten Rogoff, and Janey Berriman, his Aunt Didi, age 94, his mother-in-law Elizabeth who has lived with him the last two years, six brothers-in-law, and countless cousins, nieces, nephews. He was a gentle, decent, kind, intelligent, and respectful man who truly was a Renaissance Man.
Gordon Ben Guttmann was born in Oldenburg, Germany, November 5th, 1947, to Heinz B and Ingrid K Guttmann. They immigrated to the United States in with the help of the American Jewish Federation in 1949. Gordon attended the Detroit, Michigan... View Obituary & Service Information
Obituary & Service
Gordon Ben Guttmann was born in Oldenburg, Germany, November...View More
Flowers & Gifts
Send flowers to the Guttmann family.Send Flowers