Sarah R. “Sally” Gordon, 102, Lincoln, passed away early on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2012. She was born March 26, 1909, in Chicago to Russian immigrants, Charles and Minnie Reingold. Sally was united in marriage to Robert Merle Gordon on June 20, 1931, in Lincoln. He passed away in May 1969. A Chicago native, Gordon grew up in Fort Collins, Colo. She came to Lincoln as a teenager in 1927 and watched Italian craftsmen lay floor mosaics in the State Capitol. The landmark structure is 23 years younger than Gordon. Sally worked as administrative secretary for three Nebraska governors, Ralph Brooks, Frank Morrison and Norbert Tiemann. She also worked as the administrative assistant for the University of Nebraska’s Centennial Education Program; gave tours of the Nebraska governor’s mansion; served as a court reporter; and worked in real estate and law offices before rejecting retirement at age 75 and starting a new career as a sergeant-at-arms for the Nebraska Legislature. After 27 years in that role, at age 102, Sally retired in April 2011. Sally always said she preferred working to retirement because “I’m a desperate housewife and I’m allergic to housework.”
In 2011, Gordon was named America’s “Outstanding Oldest Worker” by Experience Works, a nonprofit organization which helps mature workers find jobs and new careers. In 2006, she was named Outstanding Older Worker for Nebraska. Elegant in both dress and manner, with a signature hat or scarf always adorning her silver hair, Gordon was a former model known for her flair and her active lifestyle. When she was 92, Sally toured Europe, alone, because it was something she had always wanted to do. Some of Sally’s favorite sayings included these: “Life goes by at such an amazing pace, perhaps that’s why they call it the human race” and “I try to live every moment.” She also favored “God didn’t give us a rewind button.” Sally is dear to many because of her friendly smile, kindness, interest in people, her wonderful sense of humor, and her vigorous approach to life. She lived in her home until last month. Sally was a good friend, a role model and an inspiration to many.
Sally is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, James E. “Jim” Gordon and Karen Kilgarin, Lincoln; her daughter, Janet Rudolph of Tacoma, Wash.; her daughter and son-in-law, Sandra and Dalton Shapo, Turnersville, N.J.; granddaughters and spouses: Micala R. Gordon, Minneapolis; Shannon L. Gordon, Florence, Italy; Celeste M. Torrence, Lincoln; Jacquie and Brett Rauenzahn, Lovettsville, Va.; Danielle and Mark Jannusch, Marion, Iowa; Alexey and Doug Root, Denton, Texas; Sarah and Douglas Cole, Upper Arlington, Ohio; Rebecca Rudolph, Seattle; great grandchildren: Clarissa, William, Samuel, Joshua, Hannah, Alexander; niece, Sandy Goralnik, Denver. Special friends: Connie Miller, Cindy Swinney, Laurie Smith Camp, Jim Joyce, and many other relatives and friends. Preceded in death by her oldest daughter, Constance Ellen “Connie” Gordon, who passed away in November 2005.
Services will be held at Congregation Tifereth Israel, 3219 Sheridan Boulevard, Lincoln on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, at 12:15 p.m. Interment will be at Mt. Carmel Cemetery, located near North 14th and Elba Streets. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Sally requested that memorials be directed to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Nebraska or the Lincoln Community Foundation’s Sally Gordon Endowed Scholarship Fund for Outstanding Legislative Pages.
Wyuka Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.