Nautical 05

MSG (Ret.) Jack Edward Gordon

February 8, 2022

Obituary Image


**UPDATE of services for MSG (Ret.) JACK EDWARD GORDON**. Friends will be received in the NOVAK FUNERAL HOME, 515 Front Street, Brownsville, PA on Wednesday, February 23, 2022 from 2 - 7 PM. Interment with full military honors on Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 1:00 PM in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, Bridgeville, PA. **(PLEASE EVERYONE MEET AT THE CEMETERY THURSDAY)**.  MSG (Ret.) JACK EDWARD GORDON, 69, of Sewickley, Pa., succumbed to his 18-year battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), Feb. 8, 2022, at his home overlooking the waters of the Ohio River, a place he would tell you he truly loved.  

Jack was the son of the late 1st Sgt. (Ret.) William Gregg Gordon, a U.S. Army and WWII Veteran, and Susan Kathleen (Miller) Gordon, of Brownsville, Pa., where Jack was born and raised. Jack is survived by his sister, Kay Lorraine Chrobak, of Brownsville, Pa., and brother, William Gregg Gordon II, of Chalk Hill, Pa., as well as several nieces and nephews. Jack also leaves behind his faithful companion and traveling buddy, Lubec. After graduating high school, Jack attended California University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (Cum Laude) in Art with a concentration in sculpture in 1982. It was during this time Jack cut his teeth and established himself as a photojournalist. Jack’s photography background included working as a full-time staff photographer, beginning in 1981 working for the former BrownsvilleTelegraph in Brownsville, Pa., and the Herald-Standard, in Uniontown, Pa. As a freelancer, his work also appeared in the Tribune-Review, the Pittsburgh Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, from 1981 – 1984. During this time, he sold news and feature images to the United Press International and Associated Press, Pittsburgh bureaus.

In 1984, following in his father’s footsteps, Jack enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was selected as the Distinguished Honor Graduate from the Infantry Training Brigade, basic training and advanced infantry school at Fort Benning, Ga. He was then assigned to the First Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas (1984-1986), Delta Co., 2/7 Cav, where he served as an infantryman, including duty as an M-60 machine gunner and later as a squad leader. He was later appointed to the division’s public affairs office as a photojournalist after his leadership discovered he had been a civilian news photographer before entering the military. While stationed at Fort Hood, he studied commercial photography at Central Texas College in Killeen, Texas, where he worked as a stringer for the Killeen Daily Herald as a feature photographer and sports writer. After leaving active duty, Jack continued his education by earning a Master’s Degree in Mass Communications in 1992 (Magna Cum Laude) from California University of Pa. He also continued his service as both a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier, and as a Department of the Army civilian employee working as a public affairs specialist at the 99th Regional Support Command in Oakdale, Pa. He is a graduate of the Public Affairs Officer Course, Fort George G. Meade, Md.

As a civilian photojournalist and Soldier, he covered assignments in Germany, Belgium, Bosnia, Holland, Korea, Japan, Egypt, Panama, Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Canada, Mexico, Kuwait and Iraq.

Mobilized as an Army Reserve Soldier, then Master Sergeant Gordon, served as the Army Reserve’s senior photojournalist in Iraq in 2004, including missions in the International Zone and Baghdad, Balad and Mosul, and several forward operational bases in those locations. Jack hung up his uniform after 24 years of service. As an enterprising freelance photojournalist, he explored immigrant life on the Mexican border and border city bordellos, examined inside glimpses in the lives of carnival and circus roustabouts, and was granted select entrance by hate groups, drug dealers, alcoholics, and homeless street people.

Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, Jack mounted several gallery exhibitions in the Southwestern Pa. region featuring street scenes and travelogue images. Two of his images were featured on (then) album covers for Flight of Mavis – a Philadelphia-based rock band.

Jack amassed a diverse collection of military awards too numerous to mention. However, among his proudest moments was winning the Department of Defense’s Thomas Jefferson award for single-published photograph in 1989. Then, as editor of the Checkerboard, the 99th’s flagship publication, he guided the magazine to an unprecedented two-year run capturing the Department of Defense Thomas Jefferson award for the best military-funded magazine. Through the 1990s, the Checkerboard received more individual contributor awards than any other publication in the DoD. Jack was authorized to wear a number of military medals and awards. However, he most prized was his Infantryman Cord. During the Korean War, fighting Infantryman received special insignia, the light blue cord, so that everyone would know that the Soldier was an Infantryman who would be fighting on the front lines. Jack recently moved back to his beloved 115-year-old Ohio River home, in Sewickley, and was restoring a church in Brownsville. His personal interests included boating, writing poetry and fiction, and designing and creating large-scale sculpture. He recently completed the full conversion of a 30-foot steel fishing vessel to a pleasure trawler. The word to Tom Waites’ Shiver Me Timbers, represented his outlook on life.

I'm leavin' my family, And leavin' my friends My body's at home, But my heart's in the wind Where the clouds are like headlines, On a new front page sky My tears are salt water, And the moon's full and high. And I know Martin Eden's Gonna be proud of me And many before me, Who've been called by the sea To be up in the crow's nest, And singin' my say Shiver me Timbers, I'm a-sailin' away. ~Fair Winds and Following Seas. You are missed.

Friends will be received in the NOVAK FUNERAL HOME, 515 Front Street, Brownsville, PA on Wednesday, February 23, 2022 from 2 - 7 PM.  Interment on Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 1:00 PM in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, Bridgeville, PA.  **(PLEASE EVERYONE MEET AT THE CEMETERY THURSDAY)**  

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February 24, 2022

1:00 PM
Alleghenies (Bridgeville, PA)

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