Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Rev. Dr. Prentiss M. Gordon, Sr.

The Reverend Dr. Prentiss M. Gordon, Sr. passed away on May 6, 2019 in Starkville, Mississippi. He was born on December 23, 1925 in Choctaw County, Mississippi to Estel and Ruth Golden Gordon.

He will be laid to rest at Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church cemetery in Choctaw County, Mississippi, next to his beloved wife Mary Lee, on Saturday, May 11, at 2:00 p.m. There will be an opportunity for viewing prior to the committal service. A larger visitation and Memorial Service will be held the next day, Sunday, May 12, at the First United Methodist Church, Starkville, Mississippi. The visitation will be from 3:00 to 5:00 p. m. The Memorial Service will follow at 5:00 p.m.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Lee Blain Gordon, his parents, and his five Gordon siblings, Hylma Gordon, Estelle Gordon Hutchison, H. Owen Gordon, Sr., Mabel Gordon Atkinson, and Harold Gordon.

He is survived by his four children, Peggy Gordon White (Ernest) of Amory, Mississippi; Sandra Gordon Eastman (Bill) of Starkville, Mississippi; Prentiss M. Gordon, Jr. (Sandra), Starkville, Mississippi; and Stephen B. Gordon (Karen), Arlington, Virginia. Also surviving him are nine grandchildren: Leslie White Smaglick, Bruce Chadwick White, Shannon Eastman Skelton (Jud), William Gordon Eastman (Mandi), Brian Thomas Gordon (Charity), Lori Gordon Mosley (Chris), Stephanie Gordon Pflum (Adam), Jennifer Gordon Thompson (Van), and Curtis McCarton Gordon and his fiancée, Lauren Schumacher. In addition, he is survived by sixteen great-grandchildren: Cambria Thompson White, Ayden White, Max Smaglick, Sam Smaglick, Tyler Blain Sparks, Porter Skelton, Kathleen Skelton, Caroline Skelton, Mary Carr Eastman, Ashlan Eastman, Will Eastman, Elizabeth Gordon, Nate Gordon, Caroline Mosley, Sarah Mosley, and Ethan Pflum.

Dr. Gordon was educated at Weir (MS) High School, Wood Junior College, Mississippi State University, and Emory University. While at Mississippi State University he was a member of the academic honorary society Phi Kappa Phi. He also received the Doctor of Ministry degree from Emory University.
He was ordained as an Elder in Full Connection with the North Mississippi Conference in June, 1955, which initiated an active course of local church ministry that spanned more than forty years. In addition to student appointments in Sturgis (MS) and Monroe (GA), he served the Macon Circuit; Columbus Wesley; Louisville, First; Starkville, First; Superintendent, Cleveland District; and Tupelo, First, where he retired in 1994. He was elected to serve as a delegate to Jurisdictional and General Conference on three different occasions from both the former North Mississippi Annual Conference and the Mississippi Annual Conference. On two of those occasions he led the delegation and was the favorite son candidate for the Episcopacy.
He received numerous civic awards and was always in the forefront in impacting not only his congregations, but the community at large. One of his greatest civic loves was the Rotary Club. He was most recently a member of the Starkville Rotary Club, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow several times over, as he honored each of his four children with the award. He was President of the Starkville Rotary Club from 1975-76 and was once named Rotarian of the Year. He truly loved, appreciated, and embraced the Rotary mantra of “Service Above Self.”

Dr. Gordon was, in every respect, an outstanding person. He possessed a keen intellect, strong relational skills, and whenever he took a task upon himself, he was focused and strategically driven. He had the gift of reaching across racial, gender, faith, and social divides. After retirement, he was honored being named as the Pastor Emeritus of the First United Methodist Church, Starkville. He was faithful in visiting shut-ins, nursing homes, and hospitals, often taking communion to those who could not attend church. He was known for his letter and note writing, sending Christmas and birthday cards, and providing words of comfort and encouragement. His name was always mentioned with honor, respect, and appreciation wherever his family went. He embraced and mastered the art of loving God and God’s people.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his memory to the First United Methodist Church, Habitat for Humanity, Christian World Missions, or the charity of your choice.