Where did the baby name Gordean come from in 1962?

Gordean Leilehua Lee in 1958.
Gordean Leilehua Lee

The intriguing name Gordean appeared in the U.S. baby name data just once, in the early 1960s:

  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: 6 baby girls named Gordean [debut]
    • 5 born in Hawaii
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: unlisted

Where did this one come from?

Gordean Leilehua Lee, who was crowned Miss Hawaii 1959. She didn’t win the Miss America 1960 pageant (held in mid-1959, a few weeks after Hawaii was granted statehood), but she did earn the title of Miss Congeniality.

Before winning Miss Hawaii, she was a student at the University of Hawaii by day and a hula dancer at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel by night. She performed under the name “Lehua.”

I’m not sure why the name debuted in ’62 as opposed to ’59 or ’60. Perhaps in 1962 she was being featured locally (like at a festival or some other event) and I just haven’t come across evidence of it yet.

But I do know that her parents were Gordon and Josephine, so it would be logical to assume that her unique first name (pronounced gor-deen) is a combination of her parents’ names.

Gordean went on to become a hula teacher and lei maker. These days she owns/operates Bailey Farms Maui.

Sources:

[Latest update: Jan. 2022]

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