By Donald R. Winslow
ATHENS, GA (February 11, 2015) – Jim Gordon, the photojournalist and journalism educator who was the very public voice of the National Press Photographers Association for 25 years as the editor of NPPA's News Photographer magazine, is now seriously ill with cancer. He is currently resting at home in Bowling Green, OH, according to his son, Kevin.
Gordon, 82, was diagnosed with lung and liver cancer in December, and it has now spread to include bone cancer, his son told News Photographer magazine today. Since December the NPPA Life Member has been in and out of hospice and hospital care, just returning home a few days ago from another brief hospital stay.
Remembered by many for his famous red handlebar mustache that perched above a wide grin, Gordon retired as the magazine's editor in May 2003 after publishing more than 300 issues of the magazine, including several annual directories. Gordon was the magazine's sixth editor, and his publishing count surpassed that of NPPA's founder, Joe Costa, who published only 257 issues of the magazine over his 21 year editorship.
The former editor's son revealed today that the trademark curled mustache was accidently clipped off by a well-meaning hospital aide during a nursing home stay. "I had to do a double-take when I went into his room to make sure it was him," Kevin said today.
While Gordon was the magazine's editor he was also the head of the photojournalism sequence at Bowling Green State University. He retired from BGSU and that position in 1991 after 25 years in the job. Before that, he was director of BGSU's News and Photo Service, and he was also an advisor to the school's yearbook from 1959 to 1981. Today he is a retired emeritus professor in BGSU's Department of Journalism and Public Relations.
After college Gordon worked for The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, OH, and The Star in Columbus, and for seven summers he was a staff photographer at The Blade in Toledo.
He joined NPPA in January 1967, being a member now for 48 years. He was made an NPPA Life Member in November 1996. Gordon was recognized with the NPPA Kenneth P. McLaughlin Award in 1979, with the inaugural NPPA Jim Gordon Editor of the Year Award in 2002, and with NPPA President's Medals in 1978, 1982, 1991, 1999, and 2003. And he was presented with NPPA's highest honor, the Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award, in 1986.
Gordon included his BGSU students in the monthly production process of creating each issue of News Photographer magazine, and his wife Joan was the magazine's "eagle-eye" copy editor for most of his editorship. Joan Gordon died on September 13, 2013, from liver cancer. She was 78.
In 1971, Gordon ran for mayor of Bowling Green as an Independent with Democratic support, coming in second in a three-person race.
In the history of NPPA there have been a few married couples who worked together to further the mission of the organization. Jim and Joan Gordon were one such pair, and they were very visible in NPPA's history as torchbearers of the monthly magazine. Another married couple who dedicated their lives to NPPA were executive director emeritus Charles Cooper and his wife, Nell, who ran NPPA from their home for many years before NPPA purchased an office building in Durham. Charles Cooper, 92, died December 19, 2012, and Nell Cooper, 89, died this year, January 16, 2015.
The family suggests that letters and cards are most welcome, and they encourage friends and NPPA members to write to Gordon as he will appreciate hearing from everyone. Please send cards and letters to:
1446 Conneaut Ave.
Bowling Green, OH 43402-2145