Gen. John A Gordon, 73, passed away April 19, 2020.
John was born Aug. 22, 1946, in Jefferson City to Sidney and Virginia Alexander Gordon. After his father’s career in the U.S. Army, John’s family settled in West Plains, where John finished high school in 1964.
John graduated from MU in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in physics. He was a member of the U.S. Air Force ROTC program at the university and was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation.
After 32 years in the U.S. Air Force, John retired in 2000 with the rank of general.
Beginning his career as a physicist at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, John’s Air Force career highlights include roles as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, director of operations for Air Force Space Command, commander of the 90th Missile Wing, and senior director for policy on the National Security Council at the White House.
Following his Air Force service, John served as undersecretary for the Department of Energy, where he established the National Nuclear Security Administration and was its first administrator.
His final government job was assistant to the president and homeland security adviser. In this capacity, he helped design the government’s response to terrorism.
After retiring from government service in 2004, John was an independent consultant in the areas of nuclear security and military intelligence. He served as board chairman for Charles Stark Draper Laboratories in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and as a trustee for Analytical Services in Alexandria, Virginia.
John was recognized in 1998 as an outstanding University of Missouri Arts and Science graduate, served as grand marshal of Mizzou Homecoming in 2000 and received a Faculty-Alumni Award in 2003. He also received the university’s Golden Quill Alumni Excellence Award in 2019.
John and his wife, Marilyn Lang, met while they were undergraduates at the university. They returned to their Missouri roots in 2011 and have lived in Columbia since that time. John is survived by his wife and their daughter, Jennifer.
John will be buried in St. Martin’s Cemetery, southwest of Boonville. Full military honors and a celebration of John’s life will be held this summer.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Parkinson’s Foundation (1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York City, N.Y. 10018), to a charity of one’s choice or to someone in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Funeral Service & Crematory. Condolences may be left online for the family at www.Millardfamilychapels.com.