At 12:30 a.m. on April 11, 2016, Donald Wallace Gordon, 84, of Springville, Utah passed away after a thirteen-year battle with cancer. Don passed peacefully in the comfort of his own home surrounded by family.
Born February 4, 1932 to Henry and Anne Gordon in Los Angeles, California, Don was the younger of two boys. Don was a vibrant and active young man, eventually becoming a champion gymnast at Garfield High School in Los Angeles. Following his high school graduation in 1951, Don served four years in the Air Force during the Korean War as both a survival instructor and rescue medic in Saudi Arabia. Some of his best adventures occurred during this time. Upon return to the states, Don completed a Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in Biology and Physical Education in 1958.
In 1959, Don could be found working as a physical education teacher at the Gidley K-8 School in Los Angeles, where he also oversaw the school’s track and field program. Don soon harnessed his visionary creativity and his deep interest in physical education to launch a series of successful and ground-breaking sports and play equipment companies. This became his lifelong career. His inventions include Port-A-Pit (the first foam landing pits for high jump and pole vaulters), the first foam crash pads for gymnasts, and skill development equipment for special needs and early education. To date, Don holds approximately 40 patents and has over 300 products still on the market. His family lovingly remarked that he would work until the day he died, which proved to be true: mere days before his passing, Don was working on submitting multiple patents for approval. His tenacity and work ethic were unmatched.
Throughout this life, Don was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Always eager to share his beliefs, Don served six times as a ward missionary, in addition to service as a bishopric counselor, temple worker and Sunday School President. He was one of a kind and a perfect example of a good man: honest, hard-working, kind to all, and always quick to make a joke. Don made each person he came in contact with feel like they were the most important person, touching countless lives, especially those of his children.
Don was married to Jo Ann Creamer in 1980 in the Los Angeles Temple. Including children from previous marriages, he and Jo Ann are parents to eight children. Utah has been his home for the past 24 years. He is survived by his wife Jo Ann, children Donalea, Shawn, Heather, Garrett, Audra, Pyper, Grant, Aaron, 17 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren.
All who knew him will deeply miss his words of encouragement, wisdom, and faith. His family is grateful for his example, devotion and especially his generous love.
The family would like to thank all those at Encompass Hospice and especially Nancy Trapnell and Robin Peabody.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Springville 6th Ward, 1785 E. 400 S. Springville, UT. There will be a Family Reception 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. prior to services at the church. Interment will be at the Springville City Cemetery, 200 W. 400 S., Springville, UT. To express condolences visit www.LegacyFunerals.com