- BS Forestry 1952
After serving in World War II in England, France and Germany as a commissioned officer in the Army Air Corps as a pilot with the 87th troop carrier squadron, Gordon went to college and completed the two-year forestry program at the Sault Ste. Marie Branch. Gordon went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in forestry at Michigan Tech. Gordon’s entire career following his graduation from Michigan Tech was in the state of Idaho.
He worked as a scaler for Potlatch, oversaw a logging camp in Headquarters, and later joined the Idaho State Forestry Department, where he was an area supervisor before being promoted to assistant state forester – timber management with the statewide responsibility for the timber sales and forest management programs on one million acres of forested lands.
When the State Forestry Department was merged with the Idaho Land Department in 1967 to form the present department of lands, Gordon was one of three people appointed by the Governor of Idaho to draw up plans and draft legislation for the reorganization of the new department. Following the reorganization, he was named Land Commissioner.
In 1974 reorganization occurred and Gordon’s job was retitled to Director, Department of Lands with the inclusion of the Soil Conservation Commission, Bureau of Mines and Geology and the Board of Scaling Practices under his administration. He was also responsible for all state forestry functions: forest fire protection, private forestry assistance and forest insects and disease control.
One of his greatest accomplishments dealt with the creation of Idaho’s current system for managing state endowment lands. Because of the system that he established the Idaho State Land Board is able to function effectively and maximize financial returns that benefit Idaho schools.
Significant environmental and regulatory legislation enacted during his tenure included the Idaho Lake Protection Act, Idaho Forest Practices Act, Standard Log Scaling Law, and Idaho Surface Mining Act.
Gordon was once described by Dirk Kempthorne, the Governor of Idaho, as a visionary leader who played a key role in Idaho government for 30 years
In his interpersonal relations, his friends remember Gordon as a warm, considerate and understanding person. He was respected and admired by those who worked for him and with him. Gordon always spoke highly of the quality of Michigan Tech’s academic programs and reputation.
Gordon was posthumously inducted into the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences Honor Academy in 2004