Eleanor J. Gordon, the first woman to become an administrator in the Bedford Public School District, died Saturday at the Hospice of Northwest Ohio. She was 80.
The cause of death was colon cancer that had spread to the liver, said Mrs. Gordon's only daughter, Terribeth Moore.
"She was very big on education," said Mrs. Moore. "Education was always number one." It was an emphasis she received from her own parents, John and Sophia Holowinski, during her childhood in Monroe.
Her passion for learning led Mrs. Gordon to Michigan State University, where she received a bachelor's degree in business, followed by a stint at the University of Toledo, where she received a master's degree in guidance and counseling.
Soon thereafter, she resolved to become a teacher herself. She began at a high school in Grosse Ile, Mich., where she remained for two years before moving to the Toledo area in 1953. That year, she married Theodore Gordon, a chemical engineer and fellow Michigan State graduate.
"They were always devoted to each other," Mrs. Moore said of her parents. "They always supported one another." The two were married for 56 years before his death in January.
Mrs. Gordon joined the Bedford public school system, first as a business teacher and then as a guidance counselor, director of guidance, and director of pupil personnel services.
The latter marked her entry into administration, the first woman to do so since the establishment of Bedford system.
"She was very proud that women were recognized," said Mrs. Moore, "and she was proud of her accomplishment." In 1986, Mrs. Gordon was promoted again, to assistant superintendent for instructional and student services.
Two years later, she was stricken with breast cancer and multiple sclerosis. She went through radiation therapy several times a week, yet never took time off from her post.
By 1990, she had beaten breast cancer. But the multiple sclerosis did not abate, and by 1993, with her mobility increasingly limited, she retired, ending a 40-year career with the Bedford district.
Mrs. Gordon was a doting mother to her only child, who she insisted take lessons in every discipline - academic, athletic, musical - she could think of, to make sure no waters went untested.
"She wanted to make sure I knew whether I liked something or not," said Mrs. Moore.
"You name it, I had it."
When Mrs. Moore finally settled on horseback riding as her chief passion, her parents gave her a horse and a trailer to transport it.
She recalled her mother having no interest in horses yet attaching the trailer to her vehicle and pulling it along to whatever competition her daughter was scheduled to participate in.
But the horse was a jumpy one, and Mrs. Moore recalled her mother's warning that "if he ever jumped in the horse trailer while she was pulling it, she would disconnect the trailer and he'd be on his own."
Mrs. Gordon is survived by her daughter, Terribeth Moore, and a grandson.
Visiting hours are to be from 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Walker Funeral Home.
The funeral is to be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday at St. Pius X Catholic Church.
The family suggests tributes in the form of contributions to the University of Toledo Foundation through the Theodore H. Gordon Scholarship.
Contact Dennis Howe at:
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.