Boone County Fire Protection District board member to leave

Friday, March 26, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Boone County Fire Protection District board will say goodbye to its longest standing member next month. John Gordon,  67, will leave the board in April.

Gordon opted not to run for re-election this year and will be replaced by former Boone County Presiding Commissioner Keith Schnarre. He filed unopposed for the seat.

"I toiled with the idea of re-running, and if the term wasn't six years, I might have," Gordon said. "But I couldn't envision myself being on the board in my 70s."

Gordon, who was elected to the board in 2004, said he joined because he had always been interested in public safety.

"It sounds hokey, but it's giving back service to the community I live in," he said.

Gordon will be remembered for his thorough nature, said board member John Sam Williamson.

"He's one of the most meticulous board members, he did a lot of research," Williamson said.

Gordon has seen a lot in his time on the board, including the removal of former Fire Chief Steve Paulsell in 2008 because of contract and salary issues, the suicide of board member Willis Smith in 2006, the expansion of the board from three to five members, lawsuits from former employees and an FBI investigation for suspicion of misappropriating tax funds.

"When I decided to run, I never anticipated the turmoil," Gordon said. "I just did what I thought was best when I was faced with it."

Gordon was born in southeast Missouri, but the family moved around a lot because his dad was in the armed services. He settled in Boone County in 1949 and has stayed ever since, attending Hickman High School and graduating from MU with a degree in agriculture and public health.

Before joining the board, Gordon worked as a reserve deputy sheriff for Boone County and a managed the pathology laboratories at MU’s Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. He lives in Boone County with his wife, Sandra, and has two adult children and four grandchildren.

Gordon said he looks forward to spending more time with his family, especially his grandchildren.


Despite the controversies, Gordon said he enjoyed his time on the board.

"Since I've been elected, I wouldn't trade anything for the experience," he said.

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