John Gordon was born on Aug. 22, 1946 in Jefferson City, Missouri. After his father’s Army career, the family settled in West Plains, Missouri where he finished high school in 1964. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in physics and an Air Force commission. After 32 years, John retired in 2000 with the rank of General.
John began his career as a physicist at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory. He was also Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Director of Operations for Air Force Space Command; Commander of the 90th Missile Wing; and Senior Director for Policy on the National Security Council at the White House.
As a civilian, John served as Undersecretary of the Department of Energy, where he established the National Nuclear Security Administration and was its first administrator. His final government job was Assistant to the President and Homeland Security Adviser, helping design the government response to terrorism.
After retiring from government service in 2004, John was a consultant on nuclear security and military intelligence. He served as chairman of the board for Charles Stark Draper Laboratories in Cambridge, Massachusetts and as a Trustee for Analytical Services in Alexandria.
John was recognized in 1998 as an outstanding University of Missouri Arts and Science graduate, served as grand marshal of Mizzou Homecoming in 2000, and received a faculty-alumni award in 2003.
John met his wife Marilyn Lang while undergraduates at Missouri. They returned to their Missouri roots in 2011. John is survived by his wife and their daughter Jennifer.
John will be buried in St. Martin’s Cemetery, southwest of Boonville, Missouri. Full military honors and a celebration of John’s life will be held this summer.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Parkinson’s Foundation (1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York City, NY 10018), to a charity of one’s choice, or to someone in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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