Romans are remembering longtime community activist and volunteer Gordon Leiter. The 2020 Heart of the Community Board of Governors Award recipient died Sunday night at the age of 90.
He received his first Heart of the Community service to the community award in 1999.
Leiter, was a retired engineer at General Electric in Rome. He came to the Rome plant from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1966 and held several patents related to power transformer technology.
He was a lifetime member of the Rome Little Theatre. His first role in 1968 was that of a Sumo wrestler in “Teahouse of the August Moon.” His final role was in the Norman Thayer Jr. role in “On Golden Pond,” played on the silver screen by Henry Fonda.
Leiter was one of the original group of theater activists who arranged for the purchase of the old DeSoto Theatre, putting his own money on the line. He helped haul out seats to extend the stage and climbed into the rafters to pull electrical wiring to the sound booth.
Jim Powell, a longtime Rome Little Theatre associate of Leiter, said that Gordon rarely missed a production.
“He’s been a leader, an actor on the state — and not only a big supporter of the Rome Little Theatre, but be was a supporter of all of the arts,” Powell said.
In 2011, Leiter received the Good Samaritan Volunteer of the Year Award at Floyd Medical Center for two decades of service to the Heyman HospiceCare program where he was a companion to patients.
Leiter also led the AARP Tax-Aide program for the past 25 years. The program has provided free tax-filing assistance to seniors in the community.
Leiter also volunteered with the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Team for 15 years, volunteered with the local Meals on Wheels program for more than 20 years and served on the Rome Area History Museum board of directors for many years.
Leiter and his wife, Peggy, who passed away in 2016, loved to travel, particularly on cruise vacations.
Daniel’s Funeral Home in Rome is assisting the family with arrangements, which will be announced at a later time.