March 17, 2023
Larry Gordon, 71, died on March 17 after a battle with Glioblastoma. Gordon grew up in Wingham and began his radio career in Huntsville, moving on to Kitchener and Stratford before settling in Sarnia in 1974. In 1978, he was appointed news director. Gordon, according to Blackburn Media President Ron Dann, was a consummate professional.
“He was a calm person in a storm and yet he was always very passionate about what he did,” Dann said. “I doubt I’ll ever have the opportunity or pleasure of working with someone like Larry Gordon again. Larry taught me the value of local news and how much it meant to the community, as well as the importance of being consistent and professional at all times.” Over his 40 year broadcasting career, Gordon was the recipient of several awards highlighting his dedication to local news and the community.
Gordon was awarded a community service medal by then-Sarnia Police Chief Phil Nelson upon his retirement in April 2013, and he was also named to the Mayor’s Honour List later that year. Gordon received a Fire Safety Award from the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council in June 2013 during a ceremony in Toronto honoring outstanding contributions to fire protection and prevention in Ontario.
The Point Edward resident was elected to village council in 2014 and served two terms. Gordon will be remembered fondly, according to Mayor Bev Hand. “We’re all very emotional and devastated,” Hand explained. “Even though we knew it was coming, it’s always a surprise when it occurs. I referred to Larry as my “elder statesman” when I saw him a few days ago. I could always count on Larry, he did a lot of research and had a very inquisitive mind. He kept up to date on all of the current events so he was always ready to talk about an issue or a topic. When we had council meetings and it got to the point where there was new business, I would always start with Larry. He would pull out his page and he’d have a whole list of different questions. We’d laugh about it because we knew he’d have a few questions. By the time I got to the next person, they would say ‘oh, Larry already asked my questions’. We miss him so much. The village meant so much to him, and the work meant so much to him.”
Gordon was a loyal fan of the Sarnia Sting and was a season ticket holder at Progressive Auto Sales Arena. According to his obituary, the family wishes to thank the wonderful, caring physicians, nurses, PSWs and volunteers at St. Joseph’s Hospice, who cared for Larry with dignity and compassion. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Larry’s memory to the Glioblastoma- Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada (braintumour.ca). Cremation has taken place. There will be no formal visitation or funeral service. A private family interment will be held. A Celebration of Life will be held on June 1, 2023 at the Seaway Kiwanis pavilion in Canatara Park from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The Journal’s Exceptional Person of the Week: Larry Gordon
Published in the Sarnia Observer on November 11, 2022
Written by Cathy Dobson
When Larry Gordon became a municipal councillor in Point Edward, he brought a keen interest in politics honed during nearly 40 years in local broadcasting.
He proved a tenacious village councillor, always well-read, fully-prepared and quick to ask the right questions.
That, and his ability to stay calm no matter what, made him an exceptional politician, say his fellow Point Edward council members, sorry to see Gordon forced to withdraw from community service for health reasons.
As Gordon’s final days on Point Edward council wrap up, he is being recognized for his years of dedication and the commitment he had to get the job done right.
“Larry was always great to work with,” said Mayor Bev Hand. “His journalism background led him to thoroughly investigate whatever it was we were working on.”
The two had a running joke that the mayor would add an extra half hour to any municipal meeting to allow time for Gordon to ask all his questions.
“Larry’s also a people person and I always appreciate that about him,” said Hand. “He’s very even tempered. He only has good things to say about other people.”
Gordon, 71, was a well-known radio personality and newsman for 39 years before retiring from Blackburn in 2013.
About a year later, the late Dick Kirkland who was Point Edward’s mayor at the time, urged him to run for council.
Gordon and his wife Penny had moved to the village in 1995 where they raised their three children.
“I was fortunate to win a spot on council in 2014,” said Gordon. “It is more rewarding than people realize. “I would encourage anyone with an interest in their community to consider running for council or volunteering for a committee.
“There’s a lot of work to be done. Don’t be shy.”
His radio experience covering various councils and elections made him familiar with the political world, but Gordon said observing municipal government and playing a role in it are very different things.
“When you are raising your hand and voting, there’s responsibility there and a sense that your decisions will impact your community.
“I treated every meeting as the most important one.”
Point Edward councillors rotate on and off various committees each term and most recently Gordon was on the village’s fire committee working on the purchase of a new pumper truck for the department.
“Our fire staff and volunteers are superb and work so hard,” he said. “They are so important to the village.”
Gordon also dedicated many hours as the village representative to the St. Clair Conservation Authority.
“He is very well respected by that board,” said fellow village councillor Greg Grimes. “I worked with Larry at CHOK when I got out of college and, fast forward 40 years, we found ourselves working together again on council. I was just thrilled,” said Grimes.
“He’s always been very humble, very modest, and won’t necessarily like being in the spotlight,” Grimes added. “But the recognition is very well deserved.”