Alan Gordon

Alan George Gordon

Monday July 1, 1929 - Wednesday November 27, 2019
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GORDON, Dr. Alan George
(July 1, 1929 – Nov 27, 2019)

Passed away peacefully on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at Extendicare Maple View at the age of 90 as a result of end stage Alzheimer’s. Husband of Linda (Savory) and the late Jeanne (MacLean). Predeceased by his parents William and Sarah Gordon, and sister Margaret. Will be missed by children Andrew (Shelley) of Haliburton, Robert (Katie) of Oakville, Valerie (Dan), spirit son John Laford, and long-time friends the Bateman family, Gord Burke and Dave Morris; grandchildren Robyn, Sam, Sophie, Ross, and Lillian. Will also be missed by many brothers and sisters-in-law, as well as many nieces, nephews, and Scottish family.

Alan graduated from Forest Hill Collegiate, Toronto, the University of New Brunswick in 1954 (B.Sc. in Forestry) and completed his Ph.D. in Forest Ecology at the University of London, England in 1958. He had a lifelong career with the Ministry of Natural Resources (Ontario Department of Lands and Forests) as a research scientist focusing on forest genetics, soil chemistry and ecosystem productivity. Alan was one of the first people to document the effects of acid rain on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and was the first to ‘discover’ and document red spruce in Ontario in 1950. Alan developed working plantations of spruce species in many areas of Ontario and around the world, which are still generating scientific information today.

From a very young age, Alan’s pursuit and interest in ornithology was infectious; he was a naturalist and an avid canoeist throughout his life and was a passionate advocate for environmental conservation. He was a proficient wood sculptor and photographer.

Dr. Gordon was a planter of trees and was locally known as the ‘tree doctor’. He inspired and mentored Junior Rangers and shared his knowledge of the forest and his powers of observation with many student field crews inspiring them to appreciate the natural world. His passion for forests and forestry lives on in all of the forests he created. The Alan Gordon Acadian Park, in Ottawa, and Gordon’s Grove, in Algonquin Park, are named after him.

Drawn to the spirit and beauty of Canada’s Indigenous art he helped establish a significant gallery (Tundra) in the 1970’s and developed many significant friendships with artists across Canada such as John Laford, Goyce Kakagamic and James Simon. He served on the Board of the Art Gallery of Algoma and Art Procurement Juries for Ontario Government buildings. He always advocated strongly for Indigenous culture and rights.

He loved all genres of music. In the 1960s, he was a primary organizer of the Algoma Folk Festival, bringing the likes of Gordon Lightfoot, Ian and Sylvia, and Alanis Obomsawin to Sault Ste. Marie. He was notorious for telling the widest and longest stories ever.

Alan was a long-term active member of St Giles and Westminster Presbyterian Churches.

The family wishes to express our sincere gratitude to the staff at Maple View as well as to special friend Linda Wigmore. In lieu of flowers, donations to Nature Conservancy of Canada would be greatly appreciated. To those he loved, you will be visited by a red-shouldered hawk in the next little while. Cremation has occurred; a celebration of life will be held in the spring.
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Nancy Strickland

Posted at 11:32am
Dear Linda, Andrew, Rob and Valerie , I was very sorry to hear of Al's passing. My parents , Midge and Jim Strickland, studied with Al at UNB and they became fast friends. He often stopped to visit us in Parry Sound on his way back to the Soo with his big beautiful white husky. He always arrived late and full of tales and adventures. I remember visiting the Smoke Lake cottage in the summers when I was small. Such a lovely spot, filled with lovely people and much music. Al was such an enthusiastic researcher. He certainly loved his spruce trees and that love was so contagious that a whole generation of young researchers was inspired by him. Thank you for sharing him with us. My parents died many years ago but I wanted to let you know what an impact Al had on our lives and that you are all in my thoughts at this reflective time of year, Nancy Strickland.

Peter M. Murray

Posted at 05:03pm
Sorry to hear of Al's passing. I have many interesting memories of Al, as I boarded and roomed with him during our first year at UNB in 1948. Al and I had many heated discussions about many subjects during our years of friendship. Our family sends our sympathy to the Gordon family. Peter, Nancy, Bruce, Hugh and Andrew Murray

Georgina Naccarato

Posted at 05:52pm
Dear Linda. My deepest condolences to you and your families on the loss of your dear Alan. It is obvious from the obituary that he was a brilliant and loving man, and he surely will be missed. I am sad that I did not get the opportunity to know him when he was well. Remember that true love lives forever, even beyond the grave, and although he has moved to a different dimension his love will be in your hearts forever. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Georgina

Marie and Folgo

Posted at 02:18pm
Our sincere condolences to Linda and all Alan's family and friends.

George Harvey

Posted at 09:02am
My thoughts and prayers go to Linda and children. My work with Al was a treat and a joy. I remember Al as a wonderful man with so many interests, his research, his support for the Sault Ste. Maire folk festival, and for native art. Our carpool with Al, including Don Wallace, Cal Sullivan, Lloyd Sippell, and Paul Syme back and forth to the lab each day was a highlight each day. He shared his stories, trials and tribulations, and we often got stalled at someone's driveway to hear the end of the story. One summer, Al and I travelled to the Yukon to complete some field work. My best memory is Al's climb up the golden spruce in the Yukon. George Harvey and family.

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