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May 27, 2019

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Bluffton's memorable Richard "Dick" Jordan

But the best part of Dick – the part we will miss the most, is his explanation of obscure, yet significant Bluffton footnotes

When I think of Dick Jordan, several things come to mind.

• His license plate: 528 YZ. That was the family address on South Main Street.
• The Masonic Lodge. “A society of secrets, not a secret society,” or so he claimed.
• His Jordan triplet two brothers and one sister. My brother, Rudi, their contemporary, often said that Mrs. Jordan (their mother) should have been given sainthood. “She had Jordans three at one time.”
• His chuckle, reminiscent of the late Arden Baker’s.

Then comes politics. The day after the 1964 Johnson landslide against Goldwater, I happened to be standing in the post office. Dick Jordan, a then-Democrat committeeman, walked in. And standing in the postal line was a Bluffton Republican committeeman.

“Nice day, isn’t it, ----?” asked Dick – I remember it clearly. I will not provide Mr. ----‘s response.

But the best part of Dick – the part we will miss the most, is his explanation of obscure, yet significant Bluffton footnotes. He never explained these in a straight line from Point A to Point B. But, getting from A to B was the most fun.

Here’s an example:
I photographed a window in a Bluffton church that includes insignias of early Bluffton lodges. I asked Dick to explain these to me. His e-mail response follows:

He first provided the explanation of the insignias and then went off-tangent:

"As a sideline, a little-noticed stained-glass window in a minor staircase in the church bears the name of the ---- family, of whom I am not acquainted. However, one of them, a Miss ---- was romantically connected to a Mr. ----, -uncle and probably namesake of the perhaps better-known -----. According to the late Mrs. ----, the family was somewhat agitated over his “venture” with Miss -----. A distant cousin, the late lamented ----- once told of his “buzzing her house in his aeroplane,” or possibly he was buzzing the adjacent dwelling, then occupied by the ---- family and in later years known as the ---- home."

Classic Dick Jordan.

And, concerning questions I once posed to him about rumored Bluffton-KKK connections, he replied via email: "Perhaps we might discuss this at a Bluffton coffeehouse establishment roundtable at some point in the future."

We did. I won’t provide the details. But, believe me, the conversation was fascinating. And it failed the line test from Point A to Point B.

That's what made it so memorable.