John R. Gordon, M.D., Funeral Mass Eulogy
As we gather today to honor the passing of my father, Jack Gordon, and to celebrate his life, I just want to share with you a few thoughts. First I thank you for sharing in this time and in this ritual with us.
My father was a wonderful, gentle, brilliant, kind and joyful man. He lived a rich, full life. Student, teacher, war hero, doctor, professor, friend, church and community volunteer, husband, father and grandfather....he served many roles for many people and all of them were marked by his kindness, compassion, patience and love.
He once said - - probably quoting from one the many poems he had memorized - -
"When you part from a friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence,
As the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain."
As we part in this way from my Dad, surely we will grieve, but let each take a moment to reflect on that which we loved most.
There are so many things to love and to find peace and inspiration from.
I find inspiration in how he lived a live with purpose, in service and being
useful to others.
From his childhood growing up on the Northern most shores of Lake Superior in Shreiber as the son of cabinet maker he excelled in school and went on to become a teacher. He volunteered to serve in the Royal Canadian Airforce during the second world war where he saved the lives of his fellow crew members when their airplane was shot down. When he returned from the war he completed medical school and went to be an anesthesiologist and a professor at the University of Minnesota. I remember asking his advice when trying to find my own career and his words were always them same. . find something useful.
He lived his life with joy willing to the be silly, and with appreciation of art
The joking, nicknames, laughter and playfulness with family members and grandchildren. His sunrise walks and jogs around the lakes in Minneapolis. His love of sports, the theater, listening to Mozart of Frank Sinatra.
He lived his life learning, curious and in the pursuit of knowledge. That time which was not filled with professional work and family work quickly went to intellectual and cultural interest. Our house was filled with books and most of them he read, history, philosophy, foreign languages. One of his most remarkable things was all the knowledge that he had and his desire to learn more.
Perhaps most of all he led his life with love, especially that for his wife and
He often spoke how meeting Colleen, his wife and my mother, was the peak moment of his life. The bond that they formed and maintained for over 50 years has been inspiring and amazing. It was also clear in the patience and caring he had with his children. he put up with us six kids and that is amazing.
Consistently, throughout his life in the large choices he had to make and in the day to way manner with which he interacted with people, my father chose love. And he worked at it. Where he could have chose power, or anger, or panic he chose love. Where he could have chosen selfishness or ambition, or greed he chose love. And he did this willfully and willingly because it was the path he chose and dedicated himself to.
We can take comfort knowing that , even now, his love lives on in the family he helped create and the support and love we offer each other.
As may father got sick in his last years it was a hard and difficult experience to see him slowly fade and flicker. I am very grateful to all those who helped care for him his last years. Now, we take comfort because know in many ways he can be whole again in death. His suffering is over and, as my sister put it, now we, his family, have our dad back.
Teilhard de Chardin - - one of his favorite theologian / philosophers - - used a phrase borrowed from a comment about Newton, he said "if we see further it is because we are mounted on the shoulders of those who came before."
Not only can I thank him for getting to literally ride on his shoulders, but all those whose lives he touched can be grateful and can celebrate today for what he gave us and how he has helped us to see more and to be more.
to my Dad, we miss you, we are so proud of you and we love you