Marynell Gordon

by | Apr 21, 2022 | Obituaries

Virginia Beach—Marynell Gordon was born to Teresa and James Roberts in Memphis, Tenn., on September 19, 1942.

She graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1964. She danced at a party with Stephan Gordon, who became her husband, dance partner, and best friend for life. They were married and inseparable for 58 years, during which they raised a loving family, explored all seven continents, and made a remarkable impact on their community.

Marynell is survived by her husband Stephan of Virginia Beach, her sons Greg (Barbara) of Richmond, Va., and David (Jana) of Bellevue, Wash., and her five perfect grandchildren: Charlie, Catherine, Greta, William, and Henry. They eternalize her vivid personality of wit, silliness, stamina, and perseverance.

Marynell’s favorite things in her long and happy life were her family, travel, tennis, working out at Wareing’s gym, monthly meetings of the Lowkey Book Group, and being with the couple’s many friends. In addition, she learned gourmet cooking and created professional-quality meals nightly. Marynell was a humorous and articulate communicator, sharing her perspective and tips in hundreds of travel reviews. She had an engaging personality with a flair for drama and storytelling. Her book group called her “a rare light—her recaps were often better than the book.”

Marynell made a meaningful impact on the arts in Tidewater and shared her passion with many. She was a founding board member of the Virginia Stage Company, founding president of the Virginia Stage Associates, member of the Chrysler Museum Masterpiece Society, a Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art docent, and commissioner of the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission.

She was a member of the Junior League of Norfolk / Virginia Beach and a passionate supporter of the ACCESS College Foundation to help students go to college. She played tennis at the Cape Henry Racquet Club in its early years and was a Princess Anne Country Club member.

Marynell was a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, a certified foley artist, and as “Marynell Ramone” was an official honorary member of punk rock pioneers The Ramones.

She charted her own course in the world. While a teenager, she changed her name from “Mary Nell” to the unique “Marynell.” Her self-direction and determination were the fuel for a life of joy, goodness, and impact. She considered her outstanding achievements to be her sons, Greg and David.

She died peacefully from complications of ALS on April 7, 2022. She was surrounded by her family, holding Stephan’s hand and listening to her favorite song, Love Me Tender, by Elvis Presley. The Gordon family thanks the caring staff of Virginia Beach General Hospital and so many other helpful friends and caregivers for their support over the last two years.

Rabbi Roz Mandelberg officiated a memorial service at Ohef Sholom Temple. If you would like to make a memorial donation, please direct it to the Virginia Stage Company ( or the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (