Homer "Ray" Gordon II, 70, of Hartsburg, passed away Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital in Columbia.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, at noon at Wright Funeral Home in Brookfield with Rob Gordon officiating. The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home. Burial will be in Rothville Cemetery in Rothville, with military honors rendered by Swan Lake America Legion Post 586.
Ray was born on Dec. 8, 1951, in Brookfield, the son of Homer Ray and Judith Nannie (Hamilton) Gordon. He graduated from Northwestern High School in 1969 and went on to the University of Mo-Columbia where he graduated in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He was also designated a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force upon the completion of the ROTC program there. Ray married Suzanna (Susie) Garcia in 1975 in El Paso, TX. They later divorced. Ray's 28-year Air Force career began with the completion of his aeronautical training as a pilot in August 1974, at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, TX. His first assignment following his time at Reese was at Loring AFB in Maine, where he was stationed for 7 years. Next was a stint at McConnell AFB in Wichita, KS. The remainder of his career was spent in southern California, Los Angeles area; first at Norton AFB, then Edwards AFB and later March AFB. During these years Ray achieved ranks as First Lieutenant, Captain, Major, culminating with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Ray received many honors and awards from the USAF that he would not want enumerated here. Also during this time, Ray completed his master's degree in systems management from the University of Southern California and later completed the Flight Safety Officer Course, also from USC. In his career as a pilot, he flew KC-135’s and was trained to refuel other aircraft while in the air. In the latter part of his career, he moved into safety management for pilots and pilot training. While in CA, he purchased a lovely small horse ranch near Yucaipa, CA. Following his retirement in 2001, he moved back to the Midwest, first to Iowa and later to his home state of MO.
Ray was a true Renaissance man. He had a love for speed and action but also enjoyed the peace and serenity of operatic composers such as Puccini and Mozart. Ray had many hobbies including woodworking, tinkering with old cars, flying his own plane, collecting old books, gardening, photography, technology, snow skiing, water sports, attending Mizzou and Chiefs sporting events, as well as the symphony and area theatre. He did not know a stranger and could converse on many topics. A staunch conservative, he loved his large family unconditionally, rarely missing a special celebration or a chance to display his loyalty to the Gordon clan. Ray enjoyed jokes and laughter and often joined in the family goofiness and games. To many of his nieces and nephews, he was more of an older brother than an uncle.
Survivors include three siblings, William H. Gordon, Rothville; Mary Katharine Gordon Achor, Lee's Summit; Frank Lyle Gordon, Columbia; and 12 nieces and nephews, Janolyn Keller, Quilcene, Washington; Jayna Buck (Chris), Kirksville; Jill Gillian (Matt), Hohenwald, TN; James Keller, Port Orchard, Washington; Rob Gordon (Linda), Boonville; Rick Gordon (Karen), Norwood; Dan Gordon (Pam), Liberty; Susan Reardon (Mark), Overland Park, KS; Kathy Achor, Lee's Summit; Mandy Knight (David), Chesterfield; Christie Manie and Carrie Gordon, Columbia; his first and last love, Gail (Clark) Pautz, Fulton; 22 great-nieces and nephews; as well as several other relatives.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Allene Keller; sisters in law, Edith Gordon and Francee Gordon; and one great-nephew, Daniel Reardon.
Memorials, in lieu of flowers, may be sent to the Central Missouri Honor Flight or the University of Missouri Concert Series in memory of H. Ray Gordon II, may be left at or mailed to Wright Funeral Home, P.O. Box 496, Brookfield, MO 64628.
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Central Missouri Honor Flight
University of Missouri Concert Series