William Loveland “Bill” Gordon

Date of Birth

April 18, 1930

Date of Death

April 29, 2020

City of Death

Santa Barbara

William Loveland “Bill” Gordon died on April 29, 2020, in Santa Barbara,11 days after his 90th birthday. Bill was born on Good Friday, April 18, 1930, in Cherokee Iowa. His parents were Walter Max Gordon, a city editor of the local newspaper and Harriet Loveland, also a journalist. Bill was welcomed to the world at 2:07 p.m. Central time. Ironically, less than 40 minutes later, at 8:45pm the BBC news bulletin came on in London as it did every night. The difference, on this night, was the announcer said, “There is no news today” and classical music was played for the next 15 minutes. Obviously, the BBC had not heard of Bill yet.

Bill lived in Cherokee with his parents and younger brother Tim until he was fourteen when the family moved to Salinas, California for a new job for Max at the Salinas Californian. The Gordons got settled in Salinas, welcomed two more children, Chris and Jane. Bill was a hurdler in high school and went to the State Championship. He graduated from Salinas High in 1948. Upon graduation, he took advantage of a program combining military service with college. Immediately before entering the Service he climbed Mt. Shasta via Avalanche Gulch. He received his degree in political science in 1953 from UC Berkeley. After spending additional time in the Military (including Korea), he entered law school at UC Berkeley – Boalt Hall. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1957.

While in law school, Bill met Betty Bennet and they married in 1956. Their daughter Jennifer was born the following year. The family moved to Santa Barbara in 1958 and in 1960, moved into their home on the Mesa, where Bill continued to live for the next 60 years. They also welcomed son Andy in 1960 and daughter Kelly in 1964 to the family. Betty passed away in 1990 after 33 years of marriage. Bill married Carol Severson Lux in 1994. He often remarked that he was so lucky to have had the love and support of two wonderful women.

After law school, Bill worked for the State of California for a short time before joining the Santa Barbara law firm of Cavalletto, Webster, Mullen & McCaughey. He often expressed gratitude for partner Tom Mullen, also an Army man, who recruited him from the Bay Area. He happily became a permanent Santa Barbara resident. Bill joined Rogers & Wilcox (later Wilcox & Gordon). Eventually, he and Phil Wilcox rejoined his former firm – now Mullen & Henzell.

In 1983, Bill was appointed as a Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge by then Governor George Deukmejian. He served on the bench for almost 20 years. As a retired judge, he heard cases on assignment throughout California.

Bill gave his time and talents to many local causes, including the Santa Barbara Bar Association and the United Way. He was a driving force bringing the Inns of Court concept to Santa Barbara. In 2000 the Santa Barbara Inns of Court was renamed the William L. Gordon Inns of Court in his honor. He supported Legal Aid efforts and spent many a Saturday on the bench hearing Mock Trials presented by local students. He was always welcoming of government classes that wanted to see how a court room worked. Bill judged the annual Lions Club Speech contest for many years. His basic wisdom and capable leadership benefited many organizations.

Bill’s membership in the University Club brought well-handled meeting arrangements and dining enjoyment over the years. Many in the legal community recall seeing him and Judge Ron Stevens walking up Santa Barbara Street to the Club and the revered “Judges’ Table” for lunch. He was also a good friend to the Santa Barbara Legal Secretaries Association.

Officiating at weddings was one of his favorite activities, which he always performed free of charge. A highlight was the opportunity to officiate at the wedding of his grandson Erik on the grounds of the New Orleans Museum of Art. Bill and Carol enjoyed being with friends as they took part in Los Fiesteros Dance Club over the years.

Being such a good fit for Army service, Bill naturally became involved in the Army Reserve, joining the 425th Civil Affairs Company in Santa Barbara. He retired as a Colonel in 1990 after many years of service, having become the commanding officer of the unit.

In his free time Bill was known for his ever-growing vegetable garden – often producing more produce than the family could eat. One year, swiss chard was distributed to all the neighbors. His tomatoes were legendary. One of his other passions was the family cabin at Lake of the Woods in Oregon, where he enjoyed fishing and relaxing. Thanks to his stewardship of the cabin, which included rebuilding it twice after major storm damage, this family treasure continues to welcome new generations of the family.

Bill is being remembered by his wife of 26 years, Carol Lux Gordon and his daughters, Jennifer Burnett (John) of Battlefield MO, and Kelly Flood (Jeff) of Thousand Oaks CA, His son Andy Gordon passed away two years ago. He is also survived by his eight grandchildren, Erik Burnett (Marin), Seattle WA, Randelin Burnett, Medford OR, Kevin Burnett (Ashley), Lantana TX, Brett Gordon, Lompoc, CA, Shelby Gordon, Lompoc, Ashley Flood, Thousand Oaks, Chris Flood, Thousand Oaks and Ryan Gordon, Lompoc and his two great grandsons, Dominic Burnett, Seattle and Kason Burnett, Lantana. He is also survived by his siblings, Tim Gordon (Donna); Chris Gordon (Jane), and Jane Wittmann (Will), in addition to numerous nieces and nephews. Also remembering Bill fondly are his step-children, Karen Maassen (Nevil) and Shari Abdoulah (Michael) and step-grandchildren, Miles and Chloe Maassen, and Ava, Gabe and Lea Abdoulah.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held later in the year. In memory of William L. Gordon, memorial donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, or Salvation Army. Support of local charities with donations of time or treasure is also encouraged in his memory.

The family wishes to express eternal gratitude to our Vista del Monte friends for their kindness and affection towards Bill in the last two months of his life. In this troubled Spring of 2020, they provided help with precious FaceTime calls and Bill’s 90th birthday family gathering, via Zoom. We honor the nurses and staff. They loved him.


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