We Live in Hearts We Leave Behind ~ Thomas Campbell
Lifelong and well known Chester resident Eileen Gordon died Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at her home, following an extended illness. She was surrounded by close family members, including her precious dog, Popeye. She was 87 years of age.
Born October 23, 1925 in Red Bud, Eileen was the daughter of Pete and Grace Hasemeyer Pariset. She was a graduate of St. John Lutheran School in Chester and a 1944 graduate of Chester High School. She was a lifelong member of St. John Lutheran Church in Chester, where she was the first woman to serve on the church council.
Following high school Gordon worked at a variety of jobs, including the Randolph County Rationing Board, the Randolph County Clerk's office and the law office of John Gilster in Chester. In approximately 1955 she began her tenure at the Randolph County Herald Tribune where she cultivated a rich and rewarding career, working with editors and publishers Lucien File, John File, John Mulkin, Herb Gerdemann, Edward Akers and Joseph T. Akers. For many years Gordon was the Editor of the Herald Tribune, and she held that position until her retirement. Gordon believed strongly in the importance of the small town newspaper, and through the years, she became the "face" of the newspaper as she reported the local and regional news for the people of Randolph County. It was a regular and expected thing to see Gordon at County Board meetings, city council meetings and other important events, while representing the Randolph County Herald Tribune. For many years she penned the very popular weekly column, "Distaff Dissertations" where she expounded on social events, cultural issues and other subjects of interest to her readers. She had a remarkable way with the written word and informed and entertained her readers for many years.
During World II Gordon served on the Randolph County Selective Service Board. During the 1960s and 1970s she volunteered her services for the American Red Cross, serving as a liaison between soldiers and their families during times of emergency.
In addition to her church membership, Gordon was a member of the St. John Lutheran Choir, Chester Women's Club, Beta Nu Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority where she was Honorary Member, Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the Popeye Fan Club, the Chester Baskerville Society, the RSVP, and the DAR. She held lifetime memberships in the Chester American Legion Auxiliary and Chester's VFW Auxiliary. During her son's growing years, Gordon was a member of St. John's PTL and she also served as a Cub Scout leader.
For 30 years Gordon served on the Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, 14 years as Chairman of the Board, a position to which she was very dedicated, offering every available moment for the betterment of the hospital.
When the City of Chester purchased the Gordon "Bud" Cohen property, following Mr. Cohen's death, Mrs. Gordon, along with Bertha Mae Blechle and Edna Cress, began the daunting task of overseeing the repair and revitalization of the Cohen property. She served on this committee for many years and always took an avid interest in the property, and the many activities held there. Gordon and Blechle were also the originators of Chester's Christmas on the River celebration, working tirelessly year after year planning each annual event. Chester's 2012 Community Christmas Concert was dedicated to Gordon and Blechle, for their invaluable work.
Gordon received Chester's Citizen of the Year Award in 1980. She was named the Chester Woman's Club Woman of the Year in 1977, and received the Chester VFW Citizen of the Year Award. In 1980 she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Chester Jaycees. Gordon was a Popeye Parade Marshall in 1999. Sponsored by the late Illinois State Rep. Bruce Richmond, the Illinois House of Representatives presented Gordon with an award for 35 years of dedicated service to the people of Randolph County. For many years Gordon also served as a costume judge at Chester's annual community Halloween party, as she very much enjoyed interacting with the children.
Eileen Pariset married Jack Gordon on October 1, 1949 at Murphysboro, and he survives. In addition she is survived by one son, John Gordon of Chester, and by her faithful pet, Popeye. She is also survived by a granddaughter, Vicky (Chris) McDonald of Smithton and two great-grandsons, Clayton and Parker McDonald, also of Smithton; many cousins, nieces, nephews and loving friends.
Visitation will be from 5pm to 8pm Thursday, July 25, 2013 and after 7:30am Friday, July 26, 2013 at the Pechacek-McClure Funeral Home in Chester, IL.
A funeral for Eileen Gordon will be held at 11am Friday, July 26, 2013 at the Pechacek-McClure Funeral Home in Chester, IL with Rev. Peter Ill officiating.
Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery in Chester, IL.
Memorials can be made to St. John Lutheran Church, Hospice of Southern Illinois or to donorís choice.