a contemporary press report:
Clara Onstad Gordon died on Tuesday April
Mom was born Clara Pauline Onstad on Good Friday,
April 13, 1923 in Parshall, Mountrail County, North Dakota. The youngest
of seven children, she grew up with three sisters and three brothers on
the farm homesteaded by her father and mother, John and MarthaOnstad.
She was educated in a one-room country schoolhouse,
winning the American Legion award for an essay on citizenship. She also
took second place in a state public speaking contest. She went on to study
at the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota, though
her studies were interrupted by World War II. After working at Oscar
Mayer in Madison, Wisconsin during the war, she worked as an artist at
Vogue-Wright Advertising in Chicago, Illinois. She also taught art in the
Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin schools, where she met her future husband Dr. John
Jegi Gordon. She also taught in Medford, Oregon and worked at United Airlines
in San Francisco, before marrying on June 17, 1950.
Her married life was the Navy life, raising
our family whether Dad was home or at sea. Dad sailed on seven cruises
over the years, and during the six to nine months that he was gone on each
cruise, life remained pretty normal for us children, due to Mom's strength
and love. When it was time to move, Mom handled packing up the old house
and settling in the new house; in the interim, she thoroughly enjoyed the
travel, taking it as a chance to have her family together again and to
see the country. Dad also was assigned to NASA for two tours and while
working with the astronauts, Mom hosted two dinners for the Mercury and
Gemini astronauts and their wives. She designed and built two homes in
Seabrook, Texas and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which was featured in the newspaper.
She enjoyed painting and design, cooking, classical music, gardening,
biographies, traveling, and conversation. She was always sought-after
guest at parties, because of her engaging personality, her warmth, and
for the stories she told.
She survived her husband, Capt. John J. Gordon,
MC, USN, who passed away on May 19, 1982; and she is survived by her brothers
Vance Curtis Onstad, Parshall, North Dakota; Vern Palmer Onstad, Ladysmith,
Wisconsin; and four loving children, Andrew Wiebye Gordon, Alexandria,
Virginia; Sarah Elizabeth Gordon, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Carrie Louise
Gordon, Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Peter Jegi Gordon, Alexandria, Virginia.
Memorial services will be at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday,
April 10, 2001 at Jefferson Funeral Chapel, 5755 Castlewellan Drive, Alexandria,
Virginia. Burial service will be 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 11,
2001 at Arlington National Cemetery; friends and family will meet
at 8:30 a.m. at the Administration Building of Arlington National Cemetery.
Donations can be sent to the Lupus Foundation
of America, 1300 Picard Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850-4303, or
The American Sleep Apnea Association, 1424 K Street, N.W., Suite 302,
Washington, DC 20005.
NOTE: Only we "Military Brats" can truly appreciate
the efforts of the military spouses; they also serve.
Posted: 10 April
2001 Updated: 11 September 2005