Gordon died from natural causes May 6, 2007, at his home in Louisville, Ky. He was a noted scholar and esteemed professor whose brilliant career was cut short by mental illness.
Gordon's abilities were recognized early on when he was elected to the National Honor Society at Eastern High School in Louisville. At Princeton he majored in classics, including the study of medieval Latin and Sanskrit. He joined Prospect Club and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa with a first-group overall average.
At Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Gordon did six years of graduate work in classics and linguistics with special emphasis on classical, Indo-European, historical, and Baltic linguistics, receiving his Ph.D. with highest honors. He then taught Indo-European and Baltic linguistics at Northwestern University and served as a visiting professor of medieval Latin at the University of Chicago. From 1972 through 1976 he taught English and linguistics at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. In 1978 he left academia to become a reimbursement financial-management specialist with Humana Inc., retiring as a senior executive vice president.
Gordon never married. He is survived by his sister, Gayle Ford Whittenberg, to whom the class extends sincere condolences.