Jack D. Gordon

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Jack D. Gordon
June 22, 1922 - December 17, 2005
Founding Director, The Gordon Institute

Jack D. Gordon served as president of the Hospice Foundation of America, a non-profit, charitable organization from 1990 until his death in December 2005. The Foundation provides leadership in the development and application of hospice and its philosophy of care for terminally ill people with the goal of enhancing the American health care system and the role of hospice in it.

Jack Gordon positively impacted health care, education, civil rights, and nearly every social issue this country has faced in the past four decades. As a Florida State Senator, he sponsored constitutional amendments ensuring the Right to Privacy and Homestead Exemption, sponsored an initiative for bilingual education in 1973, and introduced the Equal Rights Amendment in 1979. In addition, he pushed for a state lottery to help finance education (1987), shepherded the "Gordon Rule" to raise the level of writing for college students, and sponsored the Civil Rights Act of 1992, an anti discrimination law targeting country clubs.

Prior to his election to the Senate in 1972, Gordon was a Miami-Dade County School Board member from 1961 to 1969. During his tenure, he was instrumental in initiating the desegregation of Miami-Dade County schools.

Professionally, Gordon, along with former U.S. Senator Claude Pepper, founded Washington Federal Savings and Loan of Miami Beach in 1952. He served as the bank's president from inception until the merger with First Nationwide Savings in 1981. Gordon was elected to six terms in the Florida Senate where he chaired several committees including Appropriations; Finance and Taxation; Ways and Means; Education, Health and Rehabilitative Services; and Transportation. He is an acknowledged expert in budget and tax matters and has provided leadership in state education and health policy.

Gordon was President Pro-Tempore from 1982 to 1984, and Senate Majority Leader from 1988 to 1990. During his twenty years in the Senate, he was honored as the Most Effective in Committee, the Most Effective in Debate, and the Most Effective in the Senate.

His other legislative accomplishments include the reorganization of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, the creation of the Florida Department of Corrections, and also enacted legislation that placed a student on the State Board of Regents as a voting member. Nationally, Gordon was a housing consultant to the U.S. State Department in Latin America and Africa from 1959 to 1971, and to the United Nations Technical Assistance Program from 1963 to 1970. From 1965 to 1970, Gordon was a member of the U.S. Committee on State Departments of Education, and in 1966, he participated in the Governor's Commission on Quality Education. Gordon’s passion for education ensured him a position on the Secondary and Post Secondary Education Commission in 1982 and the U.S. Panel on Teacher Training from 1968 to 1971.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Jack Gordon received his Bachelor of Arts in 1942.

He is survived by his wife, author and noted journalist, Myra MacPherson; his daughter, Deborah Gordon, of Redwood City, Calif.; his sons, Andrew of Miami and Jonathan of Santa Monica, Calif.; his stepchildren Michael, of Palo Alto, Calif., and Leah of Dallas; and seven grandchildren.

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Photo caption: Jack D. Gordon receiving the Pillar Award at the FIU Spring Commencement Ceremonies held Tuesday, April 30, 2002. The Pillar Award is the University's highest honor bestowed upon a community leader and recognizes Senator Gordon's lifetime contributions to the University.