Cover photo for John Stuart Gordon's Obituary
John Stuart Gordon Profile Photo
1929 John 2021

John Stuart Gordon

May 29, 1929 — April 26, 2021

John S Gordon, “Jack”, to those fortunate to have known him, lived a full and rewarding life leading up to his peaceful passing on Monday, April 26, 2021 at the age of 91, embraced by the ones he loved the most – his family. Jack was born in Seattle WA on May 29, 1929 as the second of two children of Leonore Skinner Pries and John S Gordon Sr. He was predeceased by his older sister Anne Gordon Ward (1922 – 2020), currently survived by his sister Christine Gordon of Concord CA. Jack’s early years were spent in Seattle WA and Berkley CA prior to his high school years in Bakersfield CA living with his father John Sr. In the summer month’s, Jack would jump on a Greyhound bus to visit his Mom Leonore and her husband Gilbert W Skinner (Alaska Steamship Founder) on the shores of Lake Washington in Medina. Jack’s time spent during these summer visits at “Lakelure” as a deckhand on the Yacht Leonore would instill a lasting draw to the sea that would surface in his later years. The Bakersfield period in Jack’s young life would prove to be pivotal; it was here in 1943, at East Bakersfield High, where he met the love of his life Audree Ann Allen. They would marry in January of 1947 in Las Vegas, to become a family of 9 in the coming years. It was also here in Bakersfield that Jack would make a key career choice, following his father’s footsteps, determining his course of events for the next 36 years: accepting a job pumping gas as a Cadet for Standard Oil in the summer of 1945. It would be of interest to note that Audree’s father Ransom Allen was also a fellow Standard Oiler. It was also at East Bakersfield High that Jack would flourish as a gifted athlete. Lettering in all major sports – football (tight end), basketball (power forward) and baseball (pitcher), he was not only the president of the Letterman Club, he won Senior Class President by a landslide. Moreover in the sports arena, Jack was dominating in the boxing ring, capturing the Bakersfield heavyweight Golden Gloves 1947 Championship. He was a dynamic force to be reckoned with. At a high point in Jack’s Senior year, he was contacted by the St. Louis Cardinals to join their pitching staff, however John Sr. would successfully influence Jack to follow his footsteps into the oil business. Jack would continue forward in life, fully immersed in the sporting world. He served as coach and mentor on many of his son’s teams, helping to elevate their achievements to championship levels in baseball, football and wrestling. Weekends he could be tracked down out in the wild with his boys (and his good-luck girl) hunting and fishing. Jack was instrumental in the founding of two long standing sports organizations; in the ‘50s he co-founded the Bellevue Little League with partner Dick Anderson. Later in Jack’s retirement years, he was one of the early founders of the Born Again Jocks Association (BAJA) Sporting Club in Green Valley Arizona, which began as a fledgling softball league for retired seniors and has now evolved into a highly respected and well known sporting organization for all ages. Jack was a devoted fan of all sports, a season ticket holder with the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Huskies and Arizona Diamondbacks. Jack was also a supporter of Gonzaga basketball, Cougar football, NASCAR, PGA golf, the list is endless. Word of caution: be careful when placing a wager with Jack as you’re likely to part with your earnings! Jack’s decision to join the ranks at Standard Oil in Bakersfield as a teenage gas station attendant would ultimately lead to a distinguished career, spanning 13 cities in three states, elevating through the corporate hierarchy. After serving as a gas station salesman in Bakersfield and Fresno, the company transferred Jack and family to his birthplace Seattle to embark on the journey into management. He would tackle the role of Station Manager in the early 50’s eventually managing AAAA “powerhouses” in Capital Hill at Boren and the Bellevue Square flagship. It wasn’t long before upper management would realize this dynamic force belonged in higher levels of management. Moving through the levels of retail and wholesale sales in capacities of Merchandising Manager and Supervisor in various districts and regions, he ultimately operated as Retail Area Manager of the enormous West Central Division, home to the corporate headquarters in sizzling California. Jack would hang it all up at the young age of 52 after 36 years of service to one single entity, a rarity in this day and age. In summary, you could say Jack lived out the epitome of the great American Dream in business: starting out pumping gas and finishing in the highest executive levels for Standard Oil. On a cold Halloween day in 1981, Jack reached a milestone in his life – Retirement! Two months later Jack and Audree had their bags packed and took a bee-line to their favorite perennial vacation playground, Friday Harbor in the majestic San Juan Islands. By this time they were no strangers to the constant rocking of a boat out on the water. Their boating journey began back in Spokane 1963 with a brand new 16’ Silverline. Powered by a 65 horse Mercury outboard, the crowning achievement for this over-worked craft was pulling 6 kids simultaneously out of the water on skis. Boating became the family passion, Jack went on to owning 8 vessels overall, culminating with the Sunny Sue, a luxury 45’ Ocean Alexander yacht. Sun drenched summers spent rubber-necking and gunk-holing throughout the San Juan’s and Canadian Gulf Islands, impossible to track down between July and October, most likely swinging on the hook in a hidden cove off the coast of who-knows-where. In essence, Jack redirected his professional energies fully into the boating world, always involved up to his ears with a number of organizations such as the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Seattle Yacht Club. But the club that was nearest and dearest to both Jack and Audree was the San Juan Island Yacht Club (SJIYC) based in beautiful Friday Harbor where they resided (when on land). One of Jack’s treasured achievements was serving as a founding member and Commodore of the San Juan Island Yacht Club in 1988. Another boating milestone was joining a SJIYC flotilla circumnavigating the entire Vancouver BC Island in 30 days. Jack was always plugged into every community he called home; Rotary, Elks, Boy Scouts, Indian Guides, Junior Achievement, YMCA, WAC, numerous Chambers of Commerce, mentoring young professionals, supporting academic booster clubs and fund raising committees. It’s a wonder how he found the time and energy. Growing up in the Gordon household the siblings were daily asked by Jack… “What did you do for your Country today?” In attempting to sum up the man, Jack Gordon, words simply fail to capture his essence, energy, warmth, generosity, strength of character, and in his last days his deep deep love for his family. It was often said of Jack that he was one of those personalities that when he was present, he would single handedly energize and light up the room with his deep booming voice, infectious laugh and endless positive attitude. He will be greatly missed. We prefer to visualize Jack perched at the helm of the Sunny Sue, sun in his face with Audree by his side. Jack and Audree were married for 65 years. Audree passed in 2011. Jack is survived by his seven children and spouses: John (Kathie), Sally Smith (Joe Smith) Todd (Cathy), Scott (Patti), Jim (Lynda), Rick (Deborah), Suzanne McBride (Tony McBride), countless grandkids and great grandkids. There will be a Celebration of Life for Jack in Spokane WA on his 92nd birthday, May 29, 2021. The family requests donations be made to Hospice House, 367 East 7th Ave Spokane WA 99210.
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