James Christopher Gordon passed away on August 29, 2023. He was 78 years old and is survived by his wife, Jane (Okuma) and daughter, Mika; his sister Jane (Wittmann), husband Will and children, Gordon and Emily; his late brother Tim’s widow Donna (Mickleson) and daughter Megan (Gordon -Turner) and husband Travis; his late brother Bill’s widow, Carol and his children Jennifer, late nephew Andy, Kelly and their families.
“Chris” was born in Salinas, California on March 10,1945 to Max and Harriet Gordon of Salinas, CA. He attended Salinas schools where he was on the high school swim, water polo and debate teams and in school plays. He formed a folk trio and played guitar and sang. He graduated Chico State (1967) and UC Davis (1969) where he and fellow swim team members went on to routinely medal in their meets and set school records.
His love of surfing began around the early 60’s where he surfed up and down the California coast and the waters of Mexico. He was a gifted and beloved educator from Washington Union Elementary School in Salinas, followed by teaching ESL in Chinatown, San Francisco and as a lecturer to Stanford’s International Students.
Besides being a passionate surfer, he was an avid reader with an insatiable appetite for history and politics. His love of music, especially Latin Jazz, the Blues, reggae and rock cultivated his pursuit in playing the guitar, conga drums and the piano. He began as a graphic artist but found his true love and talent in painting, especially Day of the Dead surfing scenes and of his beloved ocean. Whether it was on a sandy beach or at a formal attire event, Chris was determined to wear one of his many coveted Hawaiian shirts often with his Scottish newsboy cap.
His love of adventure and travel took him around the world to explore Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Cuba, Costa Rica, Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Italy and Japan as well as hitchhiking across the United States in his wild and crazy days.
Throughout his life, Chris demonstrated kindness, loyalty, enthusiasm, and integrity. He cultivated deep friendships from all walks of life. His love of family and friends were what he valued above all. Most of all, his sense of humor touched everyone. That’s the one quality that all of his friends remember the most and cherish about him.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Archway of Carmel, 3262 Taylor Road, Carmel, CA 93923 or Monterey Peninsula Buddhist Temple (MPBT), 1155 Noche Buena St., Seaside, CA 93955. A Celebration of Life will be held on December 16, 2023 at MPBT.