Clara Onstad Gordon – Navy Spouse

From a contemporary press report:

Clara Onstad Gordon died on Tuesday April 3, 2001.

Mom was born Clara Pauline Onstad on Good Friday, April 13, 1923 in Parshall, Mountrail County, North Dakota. The  youngest of seven children, she grew up with three sisters and three brothers on the farm homesteaded by her father and mother, John and MarthaOnstad.

She was educated in a one-room country schoolhouse, winning the American Legion award for an essay on citizenship. She also took second place in a state public speaking contest. She went on to study at the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota, though her studies were interrupted  by World War II. After working at Oscar Mayer in Madison, Wisconsin during the war, she worked as an artist at Vogue-Wright Advertising in Chicago, Illinois. She also taught art in the Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin schools, where she met her future husband Dr. John Jegi Gordon. She also taught in Medford, Oregon and worked at United Airlines in San Francisco, before  marrying on June 17, 1950.

Her married life was the Navy life, raising our family whether Dad was home or at sea. Dad sailed on seven cruises over the years, and during the six to nine months that he was gone on each cruise, life remained pretty normal for us children, due to Mom’s strength and love. When it was time to move, Mom handled packing up the old house and settling in the new house; in the interim, she thoroughly enjoyed the travel, taking it as a chance to have her family together again and to see the country. Dad also was assigned to NASA for two tours and while working with the astronauts, Mom hosted two dinners for the Mercury and Gemini astronauts and their wives. She designed and built two homes in Seabrook, Texas and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which was featured in the newspaper. She enjoyed painting and design, cooking, classical music,  gardening, biographies, traveling, and conversation. She was  always sought-after guest at parties, because of her engaging personality, her warmth, and for the stories she told.

She survived her husband, Capt. John J. Gordon, MC, USN, who passed away on May 19, 1982; and she is survived by her brothers Vance Curtis Onstad, Parshall, North Dakota; Vern Palmer Onstad, Ladysmith, Wisconsin; and four loving children, Andrew Wiebye Gordon, Alexandria, Virginia; Sarah Elizabeth Gordon, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Carrie Louise Gordon, Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Peter Jegi Gordon, Alexandria, Virginia.

Memorial services will be at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 10, 2001 at Jefferson Funeral Chapel, 5755 Castlewellan Drive, Alexandria, Virginia. Burial  service will be 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 at Arlington National  Cemetery; friends and family will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Administration Building of Arlington National Cemetery.

Donations can be sent to the Lupus Foundation  of America, 1300 Picard Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850-4303, or The American Sleep Apnea Association, 1424 K Street, N.W., Suite 302,  Washington, DC 20005.

NOTE: Only we “Military Brats” can truly appreciate the efforts of the military spouses; they also serve.

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