A Williamsburg lighthouse of faith for seven decades goes to his reward
Theodore Gordon Waldvogel was born into a family of faith in Steamboat Rock, Iowa, as his father and uncle were pastors. His mother encouraged additional talents and interests in him such as: music, poetry, public speaking, and inventing. He was an excellent student, but he preferred athletics to academics. He especially excelled at basketball, which he played well and well into his seventies. TG Waldvogel inspired the love of this game in the ensuing generations, but fondly remembered his mother’s admonition, “I didn’t raise you to be a ball player.”
His mother raised him to be a shepherd for the Lord. Pastor Gordon Waldvogel would tend his flock in pre-gentrified North Brooklyn where he founded the Williamsburgh Pentecostal Church (674 Metropolitan Ave.). For over seven decades he presided as his congregation’s gentle, firm, and faithful pastor. Although he didn’t attend a seminary for his theological education, Waldvogel was a disciplined autodidact in his eager quest to learn scripture and study the writings of Christian luminaries like Andrew Murray, A.W. Tozer, Charles Spurgeon, and the biographies of missionaries and hymn writers. His brand of theological education lent a sagely quality to the words of his prayers and sermons.
His Williamburgh Church fellowship saw Pastor Gordon Waldvogel as an immovable lighthouse: faithful to his post and a beacon of guidance that directed people to safety and salvation in faith. They were inspired by his generosity, humble devotion to prayer, and acceptance of all. He taught and encouraged numerous young people to play musical instruments and to actively participate in worship.
Furthermore, Pastor Waldvogel brought music to the Williamsburg community. One example of this was, for over 20 years, on a selected evening during the Christmas season, he led the Williamsburg Pentecostal choir at Jennings Hall, home to over 200 seniors. They sang and played Christmas carols, hymns, and shared fellowship with the residents.
His hand was always open to the poor, so much so that when caught with an empty wallet, he’d half-jokingly confide that his wife wouldn’t allow him to carry cash because he’d give all its contents away.
He consistently saw the good in people and quietly pushed them to fulfill their potential.
Pastor Gordon Waldvogel was preceded in death by his wife Martha, a tenaciously loving and committed partner in his ministry, and by his son David. He is survived by his children: Ruth (and her husband Bruce), Janet (and her husband Israel), and Philip (and his wife Denise); his grandchildren: Valerie (and her husband Stephen), Lisa, Cheryl (and her husband Josh), Jonathan (and his wife Christina), Katelyn, David, and Audrey; and his great-grandchildren: Madison, Kaylee, Allyson, and Aimee. As he was in ministry, so he was at home: a spiritual guide and unfaltering example.