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Lt. Col. Willard Gordon, USAF (Ret)


Last updated 8/17/2018 at 9:11am

Lt. Col. Willard Gordon, USAF (Ret), passed away peacefully at his home on July 27, 2018, at the age of 88 surrounded by loved ones.

Born October 11, 1929 to the parents of Marjorie and Edwin Gordon, Bill grew up in the Philadelphia area. After graduating from the University of Rochester in 1951, he enlisted in the USAF where he served a term as an F-86 Air Defense Pilot. After his active duty service, Bill was immediately hired by American Airlines as a commercial pilot. He retired as a Captain in 1988 after a successful 32 year career, all the time keeping an active status in the Air Force Reserves, retiring as a Lt. Col. in 1976.

An active member of the Civil Air Patrol for 60 plus years, Bill founded the Fallbrook Chapter, Squadron 87, in 1992. In 2013 he received the National Civil Air Patrol Member of the Year Award. While in CAP, Bill was very active in search and rescue; even being credited with saving lives. He also had a fondness for training the youth and worked extensively with the CAP cadets.

After spending the early portion of his life back east, he moved his family out west to California in the 1950s, initially, residing in San Gabriel, they moved to Fallbrook in 1970, where he lived until his passing.

Bill was married for 48 years to his first wife, JoAnn; she passed away in 2001. He then reconnected with his high school sweetheart, Barbara Kodjak, and they wed in October 2002. They enjoyed traveling the world together.

Bill had a full life. Besides his successful careers in the Air Force, American Airlines and the Civil Air Patrol, Bill was also a Realtor, inventor (with patent), citrus rancher and long standing member of the Fallbrook Masonic Lodge.

A published author, Bill was the great-great-nephew of Archibald M. Willard who painted the "Spirit of 76." He wrote a book on the artist and his works entitled " The Spirit of American portrait" which he published in 1976, just in time for the Bicentennial.

A strong man of faith, Bill was very active in the Presbyterian church. He was a Deacon and member of the choir for many years.

Other interests include world traveling, banjo playing, barbershop quartet, flying his numerous private planes, and spending time with family and friends.

Whether you knew him as Willard, Will, Bill, Dad, Gramps, Papa, Uncle, Lt. Col. or Captain, he was loved, admired, and respected by all. He will be greatly missed.

Bill is survived by his wife of 15 years, Barbara Gordon; son Kim Gordon of Santa Ysabel, Calif .; son Todd Gordon of Joshua Tree, Calif .; daughter Wendy Densmore of Brookings, Oregon; son Scott Gordon of Fallbrook, Calif .; plus nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Along with numerous other family and friends.

A memorial service will be held at the SonRise Christian Fellowship in Fallbrook, at 463 South Stage Coach Lane. The service will be held on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers the family is encouraging donations to be made to Fallbrook Squadron 87, California Wing, Civil Air Patrol. Visit for contact information.


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