Jack Gordon -- "Mr. Seattle"
Photo Credit: forde photographers, Seattle
We made Jack Dempsey a Pirate once. He came in to referee the Golden Gloves bouts here in Seattle. Dempsey was a good friend of Royal Brougham's, the sports writer. They had met when Dempsey was fighting in Shelby, Montana. So when Dempsey came in we dressed him all up in the back room and they didn't know who he was. They thought we were leading a Pirate into the ring. So finally he got into the ring and took off his bandana and all of his costume and the fights began. (Cutline courtesy of the Seafair Pirates.)
For 50 years, that's through eight Presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan); seven Governors (Wallgren, Langlie, Rosellini, Evans, Ray, Spellman, and Gardner); and eight Mayors (Devin, Pomeroy, Clinton, Braman, Miller, Uhlman, Royer, and Rice), there was only one person in Seattle to turn to when you had something exciting happen. That was Jack Gordon, also known as "Mr. Seattle." - One of Seafair's creators, inventor and coordinator of the Plaza of the States during Century 21, visits of John F. Kennedy, publicist for Seattle University's Chieftains, Greater Seattle, the Restaurant Association, Dwight Eisenhower, National Governors' Conferences for Governors Langlie in the '50s and Governor Evans in the '60s, Baseball in Seattle with the Rainiers, the Pilots and the Mariners, the Kingdome, the visit of Ethiopia's Emperor Haile Selassie, the Hydros on Lake Washington and the Gold Cup, returning Korean War Veterans through Welcome Lane, and Viet Nam War veterans, LBJ, the Aqua Theatre (and Follies), Ronald Reagan, the visit to Seattle of the Japanese Crown Prince, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, the Seattle Center, Expo '74; Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle Astronauts, Jimmy Carter, the visit of Queen Elizabeth, the President of Iceland, and on and on. From the mid 40s till the mid 90s, if it happened in Seattle, Jack Gordon was involved. This site is an attempt to chronicle the life and times of this fascinating man with some side steps off into the Seattle and the U.S. of his time.
"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
Ronald W. Reagan
Jack Gordon spent his life following Reagan's maxim and except for his byline, he never sought recognition for himself, just for the project or event that he was currently working on. However, he couldn't stop the press from writing about him. Read about Jack Gordon and some of his accomplishments in this section.
Presidents, Governors, Astronauts, Heads of State. When they came to Seattle, Jack Gordon served as chairman of their official visit. Pictures and stories abound in this section of JackGordon.org.
Jack's Naval service during 1942-1946 saw him serve in Pasco, Bremerton, and Swan Island (Portland, Ore.)
Jack started working in SU's Athletic Department in 1947. He handled sports publicity for the University for the next 10 years and announced the Chieftains' home basketball games into the late 60's. He was honored by SU as a Distinguished Alumni in 1969 and inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame for the 1958 NCAA Championship in 2008 and individually in 2011.
From 1950 through the mid 60's with a couple of side
trips through Seattle U sports, Century 21, and commissioner of Employment
Security, Jack was the guiding light behind Greater Seattle. Seafair,
Hydroplanes on Lake Washington, parades, the Seafair Pirates, the Aqua Theatre
This section also includes some activities that were incorporated into Seafair such as the Washington State Press Club's Ale & Quail Society who formed the original Seafair Pirates.
Appointed by Governor Rosellini in 1961 as "Special Advisor for Special Events" for the Dept. of Commerce, Jack created the "Plaza of the States" concept for the Seattle World's Fair, Century 21 in 1962. Initially planned to simply honor each state, the Plaza -- in the center of the Fair -- quickly became the location for most of the Fair's special events.
Formed in 1966 from a merger of the Washington State Restaurant Assn, the Class H Assn., and the lobbying arm of the Hotel-Motel Association, Jack was the Restaurant Asasociation of the State of Washington's exec from its beginning through to 1992. Visit this part of the site to see pictures of most of Washington's restaurateurs as well as meetings, conventions, and other outings from the last third of the 20th century. Jack served as the chief executive of the State Lodging Association during the 1980s.
Jack loved his country and spent his life helping her. Starting with naval service in WWII, the VFW, welcoming a million veterans home from Korea, volunteering with both the Democratic and Republican parties, serving as Washington's Commissioner of Employment Security in 1963-65, Public Defense official in the '60s and '70s, National Guard duty, membership in the Police Chiefs/Sheriffs Assn.
You are at JackGordon.org,
a salute to John F "Jack" Gordon, Mr. Seattle
Copyright © 2002-2015 John R. Gordon