July 5, 1947-Aug. 5, 2019
Vade Fithian Gordon III of Natchitoches passed away Aug. 5, 2019, after a long battle with cancer. He was 72 years old.
He was born in Watertown, S.D. July 5, 1947, to Vade Fithian Gordon Jr. and Mabel Adeline Gordon (née Devine). He had one brother, Randall Vaughn Gordon. He was a strong-willed child and it is rumored that he gave his mother a nervous breakdown.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966 and served a tour of duty in Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division in the Iron Triangle region. He was involved in the Tet Offensive of 1968, one of the largest military campaigns of the war. Among his commendations, he received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor. After a break in service, he returned to the U.S. Army Reserve and had a 39-year military career. He retired a Command Sgt. Maj. in 2007.
He earned his degree in Political Science from Whittier College in 1972 and received his Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School in 1976. He practiced law in Los Angeles.
He married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn Wallace, and had one son and two daughters. He then married Mary F. Striegel and had one son.
The Man, the Myth, the Legend — that’s how his family saw him. He was born with a warrior’s heart and compassion for people. He believed in serving his God, country and community. He was not a man for one job but held many. He loved to talk, to teach and to learn. He taught at community college, served as an instructor with Northwestern State University of Louisiana ROTC program and taught at Natchitoches Central High School (history, civics, free-enterprise and science). He was a reserve officer with the City of Natchitoches Police Department and a Police Officer with the Department of the Army at Fort Polk. He loved to debate conservative politics and called his wife, Mary, a bleeding-heart liberal (he said she would come around). He was a Cub Scout leader with Natchitoches Troop 60.
He loved Emmanuel Baptist Church of Alexandria and was blessed with a close-knit Sunday school class. He was faithful to church and his study and teaching of the Bible. For many years he was a Royal Ambassador leader at his church. He also attended or led bible studies in Natchitoches and Campti.
Vade was preceded in death by his father, Vade; mother, Mabel; and brother, Randy.
He is survived by his wife, Mary; four children, Megan Joy Nicholson, Vade Fithian Gordon IV (Krista Sambrano Gordon), Elizabeth Ann Gordon-Johnson (Chris Johnson), and Cpl. Paul Benjamin Gordon ( USMC); and nine grandchildren, Devan Bryant, Jack S. Nicholson, Coda Johnson, Madeline Joy Nicholson, Vade Fithian Gordon V, Landon Gordon, Evelyn Marie Nicholson, Sabian Johnson and Charlotte Gordon. Also, he had three men he loved like his own sons, Terry Leone, Timothy Johnson and Jorge Rodriguez.
A service to honor his life will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home with Bro. Chris Thacker officiating. Burial with military honors will follow at American Cemetery in Natchitoches. The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9 at the funeral home.
His family wishes to thank Dr. Aniil Veluvolu, Dr. Arlene Siefker-Radke and the staff ay Willis Knighton Cancer Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center for their loving care.
Vade was much loved and will be sorely missed.