Deceased October 15, 2012
John “Jack” Gordon died peacefully Oct. 15, 2012, at Sand Point Senior Living in Titusville, Fla., near Cape Canaveral and not far from his son and only child, John F. Gordon III. The cause of death was complications of two strokes in his last month and a year-long struggle with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. John moved to Florida several years ago to be closer to his son and grandchildren—enjoying many years of golfing, bonding and sharing with John III; his wife, Kathy; and their sons, Tanner and Christopher.
John was born in Detroit, the son of Ruth and John F. Gordon, president and chief operating officer of General Motors from 1958 to 1965 years, who had risen to the position from strong engineering and production skills and a personable nature. With analytical genetics, John majored in math at Amherst, worked for Sabrina,the Amherst Student and WAMF and went on to U.S. Navy OCS, marrying Holly Hollister (Mt. Holyoke ’54) the day after OCS graduation in 1954. Jim Smeallie ’53, John’s best Amherst friend, married the next day; in effect, each classmate in each other’s wedding. “We had a darn good friendship for many, many years,” reflects Jim.
After OCS, John was assigned to U.S. Naval Intelligence in London. Returning to the U.S. to earn an M.B.A. at Michigan, reportedly with the highest GPA to that date. Then it was off to New York, where he had a highly successful career in investment banking, rising to VP levels at Morgan Stanley and U.S. Trust Co. He was considered an outstanding financial analyst.
In New York, after he and Holly divorced, John met and married his second wife, Elizabeth, the mother of John III. After 33 years of marriage, she died in 1995, Jack never quite getting over it. Before long, he retired and later moved to Titusville, Fla., for golfing, gardening, bridge and proximity to his remaining family.
Philip W. Ransom Jr. ’53
James A. Smeallie ’53