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RIP Frank X Gordon Junior


Services are scheduled for retired Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank X Gordon Junior. Gordon died Monday in Phoenix just three days before his 91st Birthday. Gordon grew up in Kingman, maintained a law practice here and served as a Mohave County Superior Court Judge before the State Supreme Court from 1975 to 1992.


Visitation and funeral services in Phoenix are scheduled for January 13th. Graveside services in Kingman will be held January 17th at Mountain View Cemetery.


"Retired Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, the Hon. Frank X. Gordon Jr. passed away on January 6, 2020 at the Beatitudes Retirement Community in Phoenix where he lived with his wife Joan. Frank passed away 3 days before his 91st birthday. Frank was an only child, born to Frank X. Gordon and Lucille (Gburek) Gordon on January 9, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois. Both of his parents were the children of Polish immigrants. The family moved to Kingman, Arizona in the summer of 1929 when young Frank was only 6 months old. His father, an attorney, purchased a title company and also became an insurance agent and became one of the most respected lawyers not only in Mohave County but in the State of Arizona. Frank Jr. grew up in Kingman when the streets were either graded dirt or gravel. In 1939, he and a friend saw a large black touring car pull up in the street. Clark Gable got out and asked the boys where the Methodist Church was. The boys directed him to the church and witnessed the celebrated marriage of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Frank attended grammar school and high school in Kingman. He graduated in 1947 from Mohave County Union High School, the only high school at the time in Mohave County. Frank graduated from Stanford University in 1951 with a major in sociology and a minor in psychology. While at Stanford, Frank met the love of his life, Joan Gipe, on a blind double date in Fresno, California where Joan was attending Fresno State College. They were married in the Stanford Chapel on September 17, 1950, just before the start of Frank’s senior year in college. Frank obtained his law degree from the University of Arizona, graduating in 1954. The Gordon’s sons Frank X. Gordon III (Trey) and Scott Kenneth Gordon were born in Tucson while Frank was attending the University of Arizona Law School. The Gordons moved to Kingman after Frank graduated from law school. Frank practiced law there with his father from 1954 to 1962. Their daughter Candy was born in Kingman in 1956. In 1954, the firm of “Gordon & Gordon” was the only multi-person law firm in Mohave County. Frank was appointed to the Superior Court in Mohave County in May of 1962 by Governor Fannin to complete the term of Charles P. Elmer, who had resigned because of ill health. Frank had to run for election in September of that same year. Frank was elected and served as a Superior Court judge in Mohave County for 13 years, from 1962 to 1975. The Gordon’s son Scott died in Kingman in 1973 of a heart infection at the age of 19. In 1975, Governor Raul Castro appointed Frank to the Arizona Supreme Court. Frank and Joan moved to Phoenix. From 1975 to 1987, Frank was an Associate Justice and then Vice Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. Frank served as Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court from 1987 to 1992. His first project was to create the Commission on the Courts. He appointed a 150-member commission to make an in depth study of the courts in Arizona. The challenge to modernize the court system in Arizona was eagerly accepted and diligently pursued by all Commission members. Before Frank left the court, 80% of the Commission’s recommendations had been accomplished, either by court rule or legislative enactment. During Frank’s term as Chief Justice, The Arizona House of Representatives voted to impeach then Governor Evan Mecham. As Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, Frank presided over the six week trial of Governor Mecham before the Arizona Senate. Channel 8 of Arizona State University filmed the proceedings. Frank became a hero and star admired throughout the state for his calm, even hand and his fairness. The senators returned a verdict of guilty against Mecham on 2 of 3 counts, with only a few senators voting not guilty. After retiring from the Arizona Supreme Court, Frank joined the Phoenix firm of Roush, McCracken & Guerrero. In 1994, Frank was asked by the U.S. State Department to be part of a team of two lawyers to visit the country of Belarus, to meet with a committee of their Parliament, to evaluate their constitution and to make suggestions that might change their country from a totalitarian socialist state to a democracy. In 2006, Frank was asked to join a program called People to People Ambassadors of the American Bar Association. He and Joan spent 2 weeks in China. His team met with lawyers, judges, members of chambers of commerce and embassy officials discussing the “rule of law” in China and progress being made. In 2016, Frank’s autobiography From A Boy With A Horse To A Man With A Gavel was published. On the back cover of the book Frank said: “I have had a wonderful, remarkable and rewarding life. I have had the greatest gifts that God could have given me – good health, wonderful parents, the unconditional love of a wife whose beauty and intellect I have seen no equal in this world, children who have grown into adults who have solid marriages and who are respected in the community in which they live, grandchildren who have given me great pleasure and will in the future. What more can a man ask for?” Frank is survived by his wife Joan, his children Trey and Candy, 3 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and many friends. His character and honesty earned him the respect of his fellow judges and lawyers and the citizens of the State of Arizona.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to UMOM Homeless Shelter 3333 E. Van Buren St., Phx. Az. 85008; The Beatitudes Campus 1610 W. Glendale Ave. 85021; First United Methodist Church 5510 N. Central Ave. Phx. Az. 85013 or The Mohave Museum of History and Art 400 West Beale St. Kingman, Az. 86401. Graveside services to be held on Friday Jan. 17th at noon at Mountain View Cemetery in Kingman, Az."

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