My father, James Ellis Gordon, was born July 28, 1928 and lost his battle with lung cancer on October 17, 2008. He was the son of Ellis Duncan and Trella Mabel (Spear) Gordon. He worked at whatever jobs he could do from the time he was a young child. He was a hard worker and a born leader.

He served with the United States Army during the Korean Conflict, working his way up to Sergeant First Class within the first six months of enlisting. He had several close calls in Korea when he was hit by shrapnel, when his squad was pinned down by a sniper and he led them and a Captain to safety across an open field without any casualties and when he was overcome by carbon monoxide and nearly died while operating a piece of machinery that trans-ported bodies of U.S. soldiers off mountains. He earned the Bronze Star for Bravery for the sniper incident.

He had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and he cried a lot in later years when he spoke about the war. It seems that what hurt him most was losing buddies he had met in Korea, hearing some of the younger guys in his squad cry and call for their mamas at night and seeing the Korean children left homeless and on their own after losing their parents during the war.

He was asked to stay in, attend Officers School and make a career of the Army, but he said that he felt like he had had enough, and he knew that my mother would never travel with him.

He returned home, married his longtime sweetheart (my mother) and started a family, raising four daughters. He worked six days a week, 12 hours a day while we were growing up.

He was a man of his word with unwaivering faith in God and flew the American flag every day with great pride.

He had a favorite cap that he wore that read "Korean War Veteran" with a few medals on it. He was out shopping one day when a teenage boy approached him and asked to shake his hand and told him that he just wanted to thank him for defending and serving our country. That young man made my dad so happy and proud. Right before the coffin was closed at my dad's funeral, that cap was placed carefully inside with him for eternity. He is so greatly loved and missed.

"Have You Forgotten"
Performed by
Daryl Worley

He was always a little man and a leader. He had to walk to and from a country school. When he was only about 8 or 9 years old, he and a younger brother were caught in a blizzard on their way home from school. His brother was only 2 years younger than my dad, but he was having a hard time being out in the elements. My dad made the decision to have his brother walk behind him so that he could take the brunt of the wind and snow and shield his brother. That's the way he was throughout his life. He could always be counted on to come up with a solution for any-thing.
He told the story about someone giving him a little pig one time. Since he had the chore of milking, he decided to give his pig a large quantity of the milk. This went on for a while, and his dad thought something was wrong with their cow. This con-tinued for a while until his dad finally caught on to what was going on. But my dad said that he had the fattest pig around and got quite a bit of money when he sold it.

He also told about how some women put cream in fruit jars, and the kids would sit on the floor and roll the jar back and forth to each other to make butter.

My dad had 4 sisters and 3 brothers. He had an older sister, and he was the next oldest of the kids. One of his sisters says that even when he was just a boy, if his mother was unable to cook for some reason, my dad would pitch in and do the cooking--making homemade biscuits and the works. Sometimes his dad was bedridden with sciatic rheumatism. Grandma told me that she would tell my dad that he should go in and entertain his dad, so my dad would go into the bedroom and dance up a storm--much to the delight of his dad. They worshipped the ground each other walked on

"...And the eagle will fly, and it's gonna be hell when you hear Mother Freedom start ringin' her bell, and it'll feel like the whole wide world is rainin' down on you. Brought to you courtesy of the red, white and blue."

"We Will Never Forget"
In remembrance of the victims of 9/11
including the heroes who took one plane
down in the Pennsylvania field and the
loved ones left behind
My dad flew the American flag every day
He was so patriotic. He loved life, he loved
his family and he loved this country

The music video above is called "Old Country," performed by Mark Chestnutt. It has always re-minded me of the courtship of my parents. They started dating when she was 15 and he was 18. They married 4 years later and were married 56 years at the time of his death. He took care of her for the last 10 years of his life because she has Alzheimer's Disease. He did all the cooking, etc. up until he got too sick. I went and stayed 3 months taking care of them before his death.
"Orange Blossom Special"
Performed by Roy Clark
My dad's favorite song
The following music video is "Old Rattler" by Grandpa Jones. My dad, my step-grandfather and my uncle were all coon hunters, and we listened to a lot of coon hunting songs growing up. The coon hunters and wives spent many winter  nights around our kitchen table drinking coffee, bickering and bragging about who had the best dog or who had caught the most coons.

This is the case my dad made to display his military medals, dog tags, etc. in.
James Ellis Gordon
July 8, 1928 - October 17, 2008
(Taken 4 months prior to his death)

"An Irish Blessing"
Performed by Roma Downey
This was played at the funeral as people filed out and our family got to be alone to say our final goodbyes.