Robert H. Gordon, retired journalist

7/17/2007

BRANDON — Robert H. Gordon, 69, former managing editor of The Clarion-Ledger and executive editor of the Hattiesburg American, died June 30, 2007.

 

Services were held July 2 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. Wright & Ferguson Funeral Home in Jackson handled arrangements.

 

Gordon, a resident of the Barnett Reservoir area in Rankin County, had been retired since 1989 as the result of heart problems stemming from a major heart attack suffered two years earlier.

 

He was an active member of St. Mark’s UMC and served on its administrative board, as a lay delegate to the Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and as a member of the conference Communications Commission. For some years he maintained the computer systems at St. Mark’s and was a founder of Bridges, a color magazine featuring St. Mark’s.

 

Gordon began his career as a reporter for the now-defunct State Times in Jackson in 1960. As a reporter in the 1960s, he covered many of the major civil rights clashes in the Southeast before becoming an editor in the early 1970s. He became a reporter for United Press International in Atlanta in 1961. In 1964, he transferred to UPl’s Jackson bureau. He covered the Freedom Summer campaign and spent much of the year in the Philadelphia area where three civil rights volunteers were slain. He was beaten by a mob in Grenada while covering that city’s first school desegregation in 1966.

 

His career then took him to South Carolina, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina where he covered, among other things, the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago and the House Judiciary Committee’s hearings on impeachment of President Nixon.

 

In, 1977, Gordon was named managing editor of the Jackson Daily News. He kept that position after Gannett Co. Inc., bought the newspaper in 1981, and then was named managing editor of The Clarion-Ledger in 1982. He held that position when in 1983; The Clarion-Ledger received Gannett’s top award for outstanding achievement by a newspaper.

 

In 1984, he became editorial director, in charge of the editorial pages of both the morning and afternoon newspapers in Jackson. In 1986, he was named executive editor of The Hattiesburg American. In June of the following year, Gordon suffered a major heart attack while jogging in a Jackson park, keeping him away from his office for months. In early 1988, he returned to The Clarion-Ledger as associate editor, a position he held until forced by health to retire.

 

Gordon was a native of McComb. He is a former member of the boards of Piney Woods Country Life School and the Metropolitan YMCA, among other positions. He was the recipient of the 1994 Silver EM Award, presented by the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association for outstanding contributions to journalism.

 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Sarah and Clifton Gordon, and sister, Sue Gordon Freeman.

 

Survivors include: his wife of 40 years, the former Jimmie Ray Currie of Jackson; and brother, James W. Gordon of Maryville, Tenn.

 

Memorials may be sent to the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 400 Grant’s Ferry Road, Brandon, MS 39047 or to a charity of your preference.